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
‘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
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.