Friday, 6 December 2013

Incitement of Discrimination - Aspire and World Human Rights Day

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

There has been huge uproar, and Aspire believes quite rightly so, over some of the language that has been used in the media and even by leading politicians in the debate on disability benefits.

The media has been seen to showcase extreme cases of benefit fraud in their print and online articles. The words "scrounger" and "work-shy" have been casually used in the benefit reform debate.

Scope produced a report last year which found that:

· 73% of disabled people experienced the assumption that they don’t work
· 83% said coverage about benefits scroungers can negatively affect attitudes
· 87% said benefit scroungers themselves have a negative effect on attitudes

Disability hate crime is at its highest rate since records began. There has been great progress over the last 60 years but there is great concern about more recent trends.

What we need and what we are calling for is a more truthful representation of disabled people in society. Sadly, this does not make provoking headlines which is often what the tabloids are after.

However the Paralympic games in 2012 did show that as a society we could be positive about disabled people. However there is a line of argument that says that this positive view only applied to disabled athletes. Where the Olympic and Paralympic legacy has failed is harnessing and taking that positive mood to reflect on all disabled people in society. Society needs to come together to speak louder against such injustices and promote a more positive and accurate reflection of disabled people’s contribution to society.

We need more disabled people at universities, mainstream schools and workplaces. The opportunities need to be there for disabled people to access mainstream services so that people can recognise the truth.

A lot of work is needed and a significant culture change in how disabled people are viewed and treated is needed to realise this Human Right.

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