STANDING UP FOR FAMILIES- Thursday 23 February 2017– Geneva
For people with intellectual disabilities, families are the first and main source of support across the lifespan. Families need support to advance and promote the rights of their sons and daughters.
Inclusion International representatives were the primary speakers at the Human Rights Council Intersessional meeting on the seminar on the role of families in protecting and supporting the rights of persons with disabilities. Speakers included our President-elect, Sue Swenson, Secretary General, Fauzia Haji, Council member Mark Mapemba and Sovann Phon, a self-advocate from Cambodia. Maha Helali, President of Inclusion MENA also presented.
Sue, emphasized that families need information so they can support their sons and daughters in progressive ways. Fauzia highlighted that the challenges families experience are not due to disability but a result of the barriers and lack of support in our communities. Mark Mapemba encouraged member states to invest in family-based organizations and building self-advocacy and Sovann Phon reflected that his family sometimes finds it hard to understand him and they need help to support him.
Our presentations focused on what families have told us they need: Information – positive disability information, help navigating systems, planning for the future; Help with disability associated costs; short breaks for parents; support for parent who work (including employment protection); and, capacity building for parents and their organizations who provide information and build connections with other families.
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