DITSHWANELO press statement on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On 3 December 2015, DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights joined the world in commemorating the International Day of People with Disabilities. This year’s theme is Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of all Abilities.

People living with disabilities worldwide, face many barriers to inclusion in society. There is constrained access to participate in society on a basis equal to other persons, in terms of, for example, access to and use of transportation, employment, education, and in social and political engagement.

On 2 December 2015, the Midweek Sun newspaper published an article with a heading “Help for Mentally Retarded Available”. The term “retarded” is a medical word used to describe someone who is mentally slow.Mental ‘retardation’ is considered to be an insulting and inappropriate term, which fails to respect the dignity of the person.

DITSHWANELO recognises that the way we refer to other people, affects how we think of them. In our daily language, we need to be conscious of how we describe one another. We should value every person as a fellow human being, first and foremost, including people with disabilities.

The human rights framework indicates appropriate language, such as “people with disabilities,” “people who are blind,” and “people living with mental illnesses”.

This will enable respectful inclusion in society and facilitate a people-centred approach to their empowerment. Both written and spoken communication should reflect the commitment to respect the dignity of all people.




Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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