Inclusion International’s President, Klaus Lachwitz, visited New Delhi, India 4 – 11 October, 2013, to take part in Parivaar’s first national conference of self-advocates and to present at the Asian Federation on Intellectual Disability (AFID). Inclusion International took the opportunity of these events to bring our members and partners from the Asia Pacific region together to engage in a regional discussion.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF SELF-ADVOCATES
Inclusion International was honoured to be part of the first National Conference of Self-Advocates that brought together over 130 self-advocates from throughout India. The groundbreaking event provided self-advocates an opportunity to talk about issues that are important for them. Coming out of the discussions, the self-advocates established the Self-Advocates Forum of India (SAFI). Elections for three positions (President, Secretary and Treasurer) were held. The newly elected President, a young woman from Bangalore told Inclusion International she wants to get in touch with self – advocates from other countries and communicate with them on facebook and twitter. Inclusion International applauds Parivaar for its efforts to support self-advocacy. This important start is only the beginning!
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION
On October 7, 2013, II convened an Asia-Pacific Regional Roundtable discussion. The meeting, generously hosted by Mrs Poonam Natarajan, Chairperson, National Trust at her offices, was chaired by Klaus Lachwitz with support from II Council Member Nagase Osamu. Representatives from Parivaar (India), Inclusion Japan (Japan), and the Guardian Federation of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (Nepal) participated in the discussions. The roundtable discussions were very informative and engaging. Discussions focused on decision-making, education, self-advocacy and II’s current membership review. The discussions on decision-making will make an excellent contribution to II’s global campaign, The Right to Decide. The discussion on membership was worthwhile and the reactions were positive.
From October 8 – 11, 2013 Klaus Lachwitz participated in the Asian Federation on Intellectual Disability Conference. At the opening plenary, Klaus spoke about Inclusion International’s main activities and aims, in particular with regard to the implementation of the CRPD, and II’s current global campaign on the right to decide and to exercise one’s legal capacity (CRPD Article 12). His remarks generated a lively discussion with participants. Not all participants shared the view that legal instruments such as full or limited guardianships which allow substitute decision-making by third parties are not in line with Art. 12 CRPD and should be replaced by new models of supported decision-making which do not incapacitate persons with intellectual disabilities. There were a lot of questions and statements from the floor by participants. The general conference program offered a variety of different themes and interesting country reports which revealed that in many of the 15 member counties of AFID nearly all children with intellectual disabilities are formally entitled to go to school, but that many of them can`t realize their right to receive school education due to prejudices, different barriers, lack of teachers and transport etc.
The 2013 AFID conference was organized by AFID`s president Mrs. Pramila Balasundaram, chairperson of SAMADHAN (Society for Aid of Mentally and developmentally Handicapped), New Delhi, India.