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Human rights update, January 2016

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Our human rights and disability rights advisor, and DAI member Professor Peter Mittler has agreed to write a monthly update on the progress (or not) that is happening in relations to the recognition of people with dementia under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons  with Disabilities. Thank you Peter, of your expertise and generosity to our members, and to all people with a diagnosis of dementia.

Dementia Alliance International (DAI) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) are working closely together towards recognition of people with dementia as people living with disabilities, under the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Although people with dementia are included in scope of disability in Article 1 of the Convention, we have not claimed this right so far.

ADI’s Chair, Mr Glenn Rees AM spoke in Singapore last year, and his speech, Dementia Friendly Communities: Global Initiatives And Future Directions at the 25TH Anniversary Celebration of Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Singapore last year, outlined clearly how the dementia friendly communities work needs to move forward, discussing two key objectives. The first was the objective of reducing stigma and understanding of dementia by greater awareness and meaningful engagement for persons with dementia of all ages…that is the lived experience approach.

The second point he made was about the practical expression of this movement, including human rights. He said; For the first time, policy makers and consumers are focusing on supporting and protecting the rights of a person with dementia in a similar way to what has been achieved in the disability field- for example in the charter of rights of people with dementia and their carers in Scotland and recent work to ensure that dementia is included in the Convention  on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

ADI have commissioned a human rights working party, with Alzheimer’s Scotland having been asked to take the lead, and including our Human Rights Advisor, Professor Peter Mittler. We hope this work progresses quickly, as it has become urgent that our human rights and disability rights are recognised, and acted upon.

There will be a human rights session at the ADI conference in Budapest and on his way to Budapest Professor Mittler is representing us to make a submission on Independent Living from a dementia perspective at a UN General Day of Discussion in Geneva on April 19th.

The following is Peter’s update and suggestions for action we can take now on the Convention.

UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES:  SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION

The 161 countries that have ratified the CRPD are required to submit regular reports to the UN CRPD Committee. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) have the right to submit ‘parallel reports’ which are taken into consideration in the Committee’s Concluding Observations and Recommendations.

Organisations of and for people with dementia can already make use of this right. A few are preparing to do so.

DAI strongly recommends that all national and regional Alzheimer Societies use this opportunity to protect and promote the basic human rights of more than 47 million people with dementia globally.

The following countries will be studied by the CRPD Committee in 2016

April 2016: Bolivia, Chile, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Thailand, Uganda.

August 2016: Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Italy, Moldova, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay

Countries still to be examined:

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela.

All relevant reports are on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights:    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspxOpen sessions can be watched on UN webcasts

An accessible Users Guide to the Convention is on http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/publication/united-nations-convention-rights-people-disabilities-equality-and-human-rights-commission-guidance.

Further information from Dementia Alliance International.

Reminder: The next DAI A Meeting of The Minds Webinar, Living with dementia: new perspectives, is with Dr Al Power, whom many of you have already registered for. Please register now if you haven’t already, as we already have a large number of registered attendees. You can register here…