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Need to create awareness about rights of disabled people: NHRC

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today said it recognises the need to create awareness about the rights of disabled people throughout the country as the issue had remained ''individualised rather than being generalised''.

''We believe that no tangible change is possible unless public administrators, legal practitioners and service providers at all levels are aware of their obligation under international and domestic laws towards persons with disabilities,'' NHRC chairperson Justice A S Anand said after the release of a handbook on 'Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Government of India'.

Justice Anand said disability has been regarded as a welfare issue and a matter of special rights and entitlements.

''The dominating feature in the history of disabled people has always been their isolation and exclusion.... a disabled person has been the object and not the subject of action,'' he added.

''The concept of normalisation and integration have received setback because of the exclusionary policies....There is a need to shift the focus from 'welfare' to 'rights' of the disabled people in every society,'' Justice Anand said.

He said the spiraling litigation on disability issues is an example of indifference and ignorance on the part of state authorities of their obligations under various legislations.

The NHRC Chairperson said during the last decade one of the notable developments in India was the enactment of the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992 followed by the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.

''The Act was published in 1996 and aims to recognise the rights of the disabled people at par with other citizens of India in respect of education, vocational training and employment,'' he added.

The handbook has been brought out in Braille as well for the visually impaired.

The Commission also released a compilation of International Instruments on Human Rights in Hindi. The compilation has been brought out in two volumes. The first volume-- divided into two parts-- deals with Universal Instruments while the second talks gives details about Regional Instruments.

UNI NR RN2056

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