We live in interesting times. The hard work of our forefathers that led to the formation of a great organisation called the Disabled People’s International (DPI), also culminated in one of the greatest human rights tool, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, as someone aptly said, CRPD is as good as its implementation. And even though countries are competing with each other in a race to ratify the Convention, its implementation thus far is abysmally poor.
‘Nothing about us without us’, the bedrock of the disability rights movement, is still the guiding force behind all our actions. Even though this philosophy is talked about so much, there’s still a long way to go before everyone actually practices it. If we want true emancipation of people with disabilities, we will have to move beyond the rhetoric and the tokenism.
To make CRPD a reality, we will have to invest in people with disabilities, build their capacities to be active and contributing members in the strategies for the implementation of CRPD, groom younger leadership to take over the mantle, ensure political participation of people with disabilities, ensure that we truly believe and practice cross – disability in our work, carry together all people with disabilities from all parts of the world and work towards building strong and long lasting alliances with other human rights movements.
We have our work cut out for us. The challenges we face are many. Some from within and some external. But, we need to have the ‘Courage of Conviction’ to believe in the direction that we are moving in. We must question the status quo and enable the winds of change to sweep in.
As I take the responsibility that has been entrusted on my shoulders, I know I am inheriting a few difficulties but, no doubt a great legacy. I have faith in the power of the people and I have faith in the belief behind DPI. I rest easy on the tremendous enthusiasm and energy that I feel from my fellow brothers and sisters with disabilities.
The road ahead is tough but with your support, it sure looks like the journey of a lifetime.
Javed Abidi, DPI Chairperson