Thursday 23 February 2017– Geneva
Presentations by Inclusion International representatives at the Human Rights Council intersessional seminar on the role of families in protecting and supporting the rights of persons with disabilities were well received by member states. Sue Swenson, II’s President-elect spoke of her personal role in fight for her son to be seen as a person by others. She highlighted that families need information so they can support their sons and daughters in progressive ways. II’s Secretary General, Fauzia Haji, highlighted that the challenges families experience are not due to disability but a result of the barriers and lack of support in our communities. She called on member states to invest in inclusive communities. Mark Mapemba, II’s regional self-advocate representative for Africa, encouraged member states to invest in family-based organizations and building self-advocacy. Self-advocate from Cambodia, Sovann Phon reflected that his family sometimes finds it hard to understand him and they need help to support him.
II’s discussion paper on supporting families identified that families need:
- Information – positive disability information, help navigating systems, planning for the future etc
- Help with disability associated costs – via cash transfers/Tax relief/benefit programs etc
- Short breaks for parents
- Supports for working parents – including employment protections
- Capacity building of parents and their organizations – critical for getting information and providing opportunities to connect with other families