Disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness and various types of chronic disease. Disability is a global problem. Across the world, more than one billion people—or 15 per cent of the world’s population—live with disabilities. They face significant barriers to realising their human rights, including discrimination in education, employment, housing and transport; denial of the right to vote; and being stripped of the right to make decisions about their own lives, including their reproductive choices. Individuals with physical, sensory, intellectual and mental disabilities often face increased violence, yet they remain invisible in their communities. Governments fail to protect their rights, and make access to redress difficult. Under the presumption of mental disability, countless individuals around the world languish in psychiatric institutions for years, some without adequate access to mental health services, personal hygiene, or even water. Conditions in such institutions are rife with mistreatment, including verbal abuse and beatings, forced treatment, lack of medication, and use of restraints and confinement as punishment.
Lack of access to civil, political and economic rights for people with disabilities—including the right to a fair hearing, to vote, marry, seek employment, and access health services—is commonplace worldwide. As various country-specific researches have shown over recent years, deprivation of legal capacity—or the right to make decisions about one’s own life—profoundly impacts people with disabilities. Indeed in many countries, national laws treat persons with disabilities as unequal citizens, sometimes allowing them fewer rights than children. Women with disabilities experience multiple discrimination—as a result of their disability and gender—and face a heightened risk of physical and sexual violence. Many factors contribute to this risk, including limitations in physical mobility, communication barriers, isolation, and common myths that persons with disabilities are weak or asexual.
Physical or mental disability is a silent crisis that not only affects the disabled persons and their families but also the social and economic development of the whole society. The society has a moral responsibility to see and also to provide these differently- abled people’s equal opportunities in order that the concerned persons enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedom. In order to draw attention towards the plight of the disabled and to recognise that disability as the first and foremost a human right issue, United Nations had declared 1981 as the International Year of the Disabled Persons. Government of India has also enacted “The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights And Full Participation) Act, 1995” to overcome this issue. The book Violation Of Disability Rights tries to raise these issues and also tries to give various recommendations for overcoming the issue. This book is very well researched and has tried to encapsulate every possible angle in verifying the challenges faced by the disabled persons. In a nutshell, this book is very useful for society in general and academicians, human rights institutions, researchers and NGOs working in this field, in particular.
By Nilabh Krishna