LEARNING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS
Learning About Human Rights
Human Rights. YES! calls for a way of learning that places participants at the centre of the experience and gives them the authority over and “ownership” of their own learning. Part 4 contains active learning exercises to accompany the content of each section of the book. These exercises are designed to encourage learners to grapple with concepts, share experiences, and think analytically about issues and social change.
Each learning exercise in this book comes with the urgent insistence that it be modified as necessary to ensure full access for all participants. The aim of each exercise is to promote inclusion and participation, and to this end it is important for facilitator’s to always keep accessibility in mind. In every exercise, the facilitator should employ multiple modes of communicating information, such as supplementing oral presentation and group discussion with note taking on chart paper or a board in the front of the room, taking care to make the experience accessible to all.
Facilitators should make every effort to determine if reasonable accommodations are needed for participants with disabilities. Both when the training is announced and at its opening, facilitators should inform participants that reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request (for example, the announcement might read “Please let us know if you have any specific reasonable accommodation requests prior to the event”). Even when advance information is not available, facilitators can make some simple provisions, such as preparing exercise handouts in a variety of formats such as large print and remaining aware of participant needs as the workshop evolves (for example, observing if some participants need more time to complete tasks, longer or more frequent breaks, or assistance to participate in group work) and responding accordingly.
Whenever possible the facilitator should send out any handouts or readings via email before the event so that persons who use screen-reading technology or people who may prefer extra time to read can review them prior to attending. The facilitator should also read out loud the sections of the handout as the group discusses them. For example, if the group is talking about the first sentence of the handout, the facilitator should read that sentence out to everyone first.
The concept of reasonable accommodation, which is discussed throughout this manual, is part of the facilitator’s duty to provide for participants with disabilities. If, for example, an activity calls for role-play that may not be accessible to persons with different types of disabilities, then it is important for the facilitator to adapt the activity to accommodate each participant.
Learning activities for Part 1, Understanding the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities, introduce participants to the general concepts and language of human rights. Learning activities for Part 2, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, address the content of specific issues contained in these topical chapters. Following these exercises is a general discussion of facilitating human rights learning, covering topics like skilful facilitating, principles of interactive learning, accommodating participants with disabilities, and planning workshops.
One learning exercise, Universal Exercise: Making a Commitment, is common and essential to all chapters. This exercise is intended as the ideal conclusion for every chapter of Part 2, encouraging participants to translate what they have learned into concrete action. As noted above, the methodology of this manual makes the participants the focus of the experience and allows them to have a voice in the direction of their own learning.
Making a Commitment to Promote the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Objective: To make a commitment to take action for the human rights of persons with disabilities
Time: 15-60 minutes
Materials: Chart paper and markers or blackboard and chalk
Emphasize that human rights involve both rights and responsibilities. Ask participants to think about the specific right you just discussed and ask questions like these:
· After learning about this right of persons with disabilities, are you ready to think about taking concrete action?
· What aspect of this right do you recognize as lacking respect, protection, or fulfilment in your community? List these.
· What issues related to this right do you think could be addressed and improved in your community? List these.
Recognize that, although there is still much planning and information gathering to do, commitment to creating change is also very important.
· Ask each participant to think of one individual action, however small, that she or he is willing and able to take in the next month to promote the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure their full enjoyment of all human rights.
· Go around the group and ask each participant to name the action they feel able and willing to undertake.
Note to Facilitator: If there is insufficient time to complete Step 3, just a verbalized commitment to action is a strong conclusion.
If time permits, draft an action plan that promotes the human rights of persons with disabilities. Stress that action could include legal research and gathering information on local conditions, as well as direct approaches to local officials and institutions. You might suggest some of the following steps:
· Identify actors and institutions with responsibility to ensure the respect, protection, and fulfilment of this right.
· Consider what can be done to ensure that they meet their responsibilities.
· Identify allies and resources to help in this action.
Ask participants to share their plans.
To the Facilitator:
· Where several participants mention similar actions, invite them to form groups and plan together.
· For detailed advocacy planning see Part 3, Advocacy! Taking Action for the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Learning Exercises For Part 1
Understanding the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities
INDEX OF PART 1 EXERCISES
Introductory Exercise 1: The Impact of Myths and Stereotypes about Persons with Disabilities
Introductory Exercise 2: The Interdependence of Rights
Introductory Exercise 3: Tree of Rights
Introductory Exercise 4: Design a National Census Survey for Your Country
Introductory Exercise 5: Language and Rights
Introductory Exercise 1:
The Impact of Myths and Stereotypes about Persons with Disabilities
Objective: To share lived experiences with discrimination based on myths and stereotypes and begin thinking about their impact on the human rights of persons with disabilities
Time: 45 minutes
Materials: Optional: Copies of “Common Myths and Stereotypes about Persons with Disabilities”
Explain that discrimination is often based on mistaken ideas and stereotypes that one group holds about another. This exercise will examine the impact of these myths and stereotypes on the lives of persons with disabilities.
Divide participants into small discussion groups and ask them to develop a list of myths and stereotypes about persons with disabilities. Ask each group to discuss these questions:
· What are some underlying reasons for these views (for example, fears, cultural and religious attitudes, ignorance)?
· How do these views affect the way persons with disabilities are regarded and/or treated by their families? By their communities? In public policy and law?
Ask a spokesperson from each group to summarize their conclusions. Discuss these or similar questions:
· What seem to be the principal underlying reasons for these myths and stereotypes?
· What seem to be the most serious effects of these myths and stereotypes on persons with disabilities? On society?
· Which of these views are most prevalent in your community?
· How do these views result in discrimination and prevent persons with disabilities from enjoying their human rights?
· How can these views be confronted?
· Why is it important to challenge such myths about persons with disabilities?
Variation: Conclude the exercise by distributing the handout “Myths and Stereotypes about Persons with Disabilities” from Part 1: Understanding the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Compare this list with that generated by participants and ask questions like these:
· Were your lists similar to this one?
· Were there ideas on this list you did not include? Did this list omit ideas you included on your lists?
· How do you explain any differences between your list and this one?
· Do you disagree with any of the statements on this list?
· Did this list make you aware of new points of view?
Introductory Exercise 2:
The Interdependence of Rights
Objective: To examine the fundamental human rights contained in the UDHR and raise awareness of how these rights relate to each other
Time: 45 minutes
Materials: Chart paper and markers or blackboard and chalk
Copies of Effects Cascade for each small group
Copies of the simplified version of the UDHR
Explain that this activity helps to illustrate how rights are indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated, as well as demonstrate the far-reaching effects when just one right is denied.
Demonstrate how the Effects Cascade works:
1. Write a human right from the UDHR in the centre of the big circle at the top of the cascade (for example, the right to education).
2. Ask, “If this right is denied, what are three possible effects?” Write any three effects mentioned in circles that extend with arrows from the central circle.
3. Then take each of the three mentioned effects (for example, the inability to get a good job) and ask, “What human rights would be denied by this effect (for example, the right to an adequate standard of living). Write each right in a circle that extends with arrows from the effect.
Alternative: Ask each group to write the number of the UDHR article for each right mentioned in the cascade (for example, “the inability to get a good job”: Article 25, Right to Adequate Living Standard; Article 23, Right to Desirable Work).
Divide participants into small groups of 2-4 and give each a copy of the Effects Cascade. Ask each group to write a human right in the centre of their chart. Encourage groups to choose a variety of different rights. Ask them to consider what effects result when a person with disabilities – or anyone – is denied this right.
Note to Facilitator: Participants may think of more than three effects, but encourage them to choose the three most far-reaching effects.
Ask a spokesperson from each group to present the group’s chart. Discuss the results.
· Are you surprised by some of the effects that can occur when one right is denied?
· What happens when more than one right is denied?
· What results are most negative for persons with disabilities?
· What does this activity suggest to you about the interdependence of rights (for example, the importance of enjoying all human rights)?
Introductory Exercise 3:
Tree of Rights
Objective: To identify how a range of human rights applies to persons with disabilities
Time: 45 minutes
Materials: Tree trunks sketched on large posters;
10 cut-outs each of branches/leaves/fruits on which to write;
UDHR (short version); and
CRPD Article 3, General principles; Article 4, General obligations
Emphasize that like all human beings, persons with disabilities are holders of human rights. Explain that in order to claim their human rights, persons with disabilities must understand what those rights are and what must be done to respect, protect, and fulfil them.
Divide participants into small groups. Provide each group with a large poster-size drawing of a tree trunk and paper cut-outs of branches (10), leaves (10), and fruit (10). Explain the exercise:
· Step 1: Participants select 10 principles from the UDHR, write one principle on each branch, and attach the branches to the trunk to create a tree.
· Step 2: On each branch attach one leaf that includes how that right applies to persons with disabilities (Note: Here it may be helpful for participants to refer to CRPD Articles 3 and 4, as the concepts in these CRPD articles underpin all rights as they relate to persons with disabilities.)
· Step 3: On each branch, attach one piece of fruit that describes an action that can be taken by governments to ensure that right.
Example: Branch: Right to Equality before the Law (UDHR Article 7)
Leaf: Right to make decisions about where one lives
Fruit: Laws to ensure that persons with disabilities are not automatically considered “legally incompetent” and are involved in legal decisions that affect them
Post each tree on the wall. Have each group read a few of their branches and the associated leaves and fruits from its tree.
· Which UDHR principles did more than one group choose?
· How were the leaves and fruits different among those groups for the same UDHR principle?
· What were some of the more difficult rights to address? Was it difficult to decide what to write on the leaves? Why?
Select one or two examples and look at the relevant text from the full CRPD (see Annex) to analyze what it offers in the context of that particular right.
The rights of persons with disabilities are not different from the rights of everyone else, but they do often manifest themselves differently for persons with disabilities.
· How does the CRPD help articulate the rights of persons with disabilities more specifically than the UDHR?
· How does it help guide governments in their responsibilities with respect to the human rights of persons with disabilities?
Introductory Exercise 4:
Design a National Census Survey for Your Country
Objective: To examine how definitions of disability have a practical impact on advocacy and other efforts
Time: 45 minutes
Materials: Paper and pens/pencils; Handout 4
Explain that the purpose of a national census is to count the number of persons in a country and to understand their distribution across different demographic categories. For instance, governments need to know the number of school-aged children in order to allocate the necessary resources to educate them.
Discuss the following questions, either in small groups or the large group:
· Why is it important to know how many persons with disabilities are in your country and where they are located? How does this relate to human rights?
· Is it important to identify what types of disabilities persons have (for example, mobility impairments, sensory disabilities, psychosocial disabilities)?
What definition of disability should be used to ensure the most accurate and inclusive consensus? Below are some examples of definitions or descriptions of disability used in various international and national contexts.
· What are the major differences between these definitions?
· Which ones seem to be the most useful? Inclusive? Accurate?
· Which ones seem the most limited? What do they leave out?
Definitions of Disability
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD):
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
An individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Definition from the 2002 Housing and Population Census conducted by the Government of Uganda:
A person with a disability is defined as one who is limited in the kind of or amount of activities that he or she can do, because of ongoing difficulty(ies) due to a long-term physical condition or health problem that has lasted six months or more. This includes all those difficulties that are expected to last more than six months.
There are many different contexts in which it is important to clarify the meaning of disability. As an advocate, you should be prepared to express your opinions about what disability means in various advocacy situations. Work with a partner to develop a definition that you yourself would use in talking to others about disability rights. Present your definition to the whole group. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each definition. If possible, allow time for revisions.
· Does your national census address the question of disability?
· If so, what definition of disability is used in your national census?
· Is this the same definition that is used in national legislation?
· How can you find out?
· What definition would you recommend to use in the census? In national legislation?
Introductory Exercise 5:
Language and Rights
Objective: To understand the role that language can play in supporting both positive and negative attitudes about the role of persons with disabilities in society
Time: 45 minutes
Materials: Chart paper and markers or blackboard and chalk
Explain that language may be used in different ways to support both negative and positive attitudes about disability. This language may be found in the words used for persons with disabilities, the words that describe their disability, or the words used to describe their role in the family or community. Attitudes may also be reflected in the words that persons avoid using.
Break into small groups. Ask each group to generate examples of language used in their society to describe persons with disabilities, their disability, or their role in family or community.
Ask each group to report their findings. List these terms on chart paper in a table as shown below. Discuss the following questions:
· How do the terms used to describe disability in your local language reflect people’s attitudes toward disability and persons with disabilities?
· How does this language reflect the negative models of disability (for example, the Medical Model, the Charity Model)? How does it support and maintain these negative models?
· How does this language reflect positive approaches?
· How does it support and maintain positive attitudes?
· How does such language affect persons with disabilities?
· What can be done to alter negative language?
· What are the advantages of the human rights approach to disability? How can it be promoted?
LANGUAGE DESCRIBING DISABILITY
A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY
THE ROLE OF THE PERSON WITH A DISABILITY