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Random thoughts on ‘World Human Rights Day’

Human rights are inherent rights of ‘each and every one of us’ for justice, dignity and peace that will enable ‘equal opportunity’.

Today the emphasis is on economic growth, achieving higher GDP annual rates, poverty alleviation and optimising the productivity of everyone. Two prerequisites here are: (i). To arrest the waste of human potential - by harnessing the competence and contributions of all citizens, and (ii). To minimise unwanted dependency - through increased productive opportunities in daily life equally for everyone. These are nothing but core issues of Human Rights!

Their right for food still remains unresolved

Let’s focus on a crucial Fundamental Right, denial of which leads to the simultaneous denial of several other rights. Today everyone yearns for a culture of peace. It can never be achieved if we do not learn to think of others with empathy and take care of each other. Let everyone of us resolve to make certain that nobody is disadvantaged or marginalised in day-to-day life by man, as a result of any physical or sensory (or intellectual) impairment of them.

It is not a right that can be negotiated, bartered or diluted by anyone under any circumstances. It forms the foundation of freedom, justice, dignity and peace.

Accessibility to public buildings, its facilities and services - a fundamental right - is already mandatory by law (Ref: Gazette notification of October 17, 2006 under the reference 1,467 / 15). As such it is also an illegal act and an inhumane act for its violation. In the first comprehensive human rights treaty of this 21st century, the U.N. Convention of 2008, ‘Physical Access’ is one of its eight key principles without which several other human rights become ‘toothless tigers’. In this 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights, architects, engineers, constructors, businessmen, other professionals as well as every citizen must realise that it is their moral duty and an act of justice, not an act of charity, to take the diversity of human ability into serious consideration, opposes to its violation and thereby contribute to establish a Society that does not marginalise, restrict or discriminate against People with ‘Limited Mobility’!

‘Constructing Accessible Facilities is costly’, is a total misconception. It is not an added financial burden. With new buildings, it adds less than 3% to construction costs. In fact rupees invested wisely, will touch hearts and benefit lives of a million of people here.

Attempted implementation of ‘Internationally Accepted Regulations’ by professionals on this fundamental right runs high risks of failure, unless backed by a good understanding of its intricacies and practical experience. As such it is a wise move and an investment to seek expert guidance from those with ‘Insight and Proven Competence’ on this subject!!

Active support from the print and electronic media both, on a regular basis, is paramount towards such meaningful establishment of a society that ‘Includes and Empowers Everyone but marginalise or discriminates No one’. It does have an increasing wider human appeal, if you do project the right things rightly.

The Writer is A voluntary disability activist and a consultant on Accessibility - is the Chief Executive of ‘Idiriya’, a not-for-profit humanitarian service organisation that meaningfully promotes ‘enabling the disabled’ concept in our society.


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