Disability and technology, how to overcome processes of discrimination

Disability and technology, how to overcome processes of discrimination

C&C and Enabling Turin for the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

C&C and Enabling Turin for the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

C&C and Enabling Turin for the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Business

Oct 8, 2021

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A moment of reflection on the paths and roads yet to be taken, on the processes of discrimination (direct and indirect) still ongoing, on the right to self-determination of people with disabilities who should not be the object of interventions decided by others, but rather agents of change who, with their competent participation, produce innovation. 

This was the conference organized in Turin by ONLUS Abilitando, which saw the participation, among others, of Antonello Magaletti, Apple Distinguished Educator, and Apple Professional Learning Specialist.

The entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006 (ratified by our country in 2009), is the result of a process of reflection by the international scientific community, associations of persons with disabilities, international organizations such as the WHO, and more broadly by the United Nations, which lasted decades and culminated in the elaboration of the bio-psycho-social model, according to which disability is recognized as the consequence of the interaction of the individual with an environment that does not accommodate the differences and limitations of that individual or prevents their participation in society.

The Convention recalls how people with disabilities are those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments that, in interaction with barriers of various kinds, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

The Convention therefore recognizes disability as a human rights issue, protected and promoted since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (explicitly referenced in the preamble of the Convention).

The Convention, therefore, does not recognize 'new' rights: the rights of persons with disabilities are nothing but human rights understood in the context of disability, for the first time established in a comprehensive manner in an international instrument binding on States, which in turn must protect and promote such rights through awareness-raising actions and increasing awareness.

The great merit of the Convention is to place the person at the center and to emphasize how disability does not exhaust their identity and does not overlap with it. From this comes the particular emphasis on the will to eliminate any form of discrimination understood as 'any distinction, exclusion, or restriction based on disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field'.

For the Convention, social, legal, economic, political, and environmental conditions that act as barriers to the full exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities must be identified and overcome.

This means that States must not only provide services related to disability, but also take measures to change cultures, attitudes, and behaviors that stigmatize and marginalize people with disabilities, implement policies, laws, and programs that remove barriers and ensure the exercise of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights by people with disabilities, and sensitization and social support programs to change the way society operates and to eliminate barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in the life of the society.

The Convention lists, among its 50 articles, the rights to be ensured based on general principles that place on the same level, because intimately interconnected: the acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity itself, respect for intrinsic dignity and individual autonomy, the principle of non-discrimination, full and effective participation and inclusion within society, accessibility.

Precisely accessibility was one of the themes addressed in his speech by Prof. Antonello Magaletti, who emphasized the need to enable people with disabilities to benefit from technological tools that have integrated functions capable of adapting to every need. Emphatic were the data illustrated by Magaletti during the Abilitando conference, which show how even today, in the world of education, the gap between daily reality and the objectives to be pursued in terms of accessibility is still significant. Much work is therefore needed to have a truly inclusive school that makes students real protagonists through compensatory and dispensational tools.

Click here to view the full version of the conference.



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