March 27, 2008

Urge Ratification Now, for Our Protection!!!

Around the world, across cultures and through time, epilepsy has been present among the people. This has not prevented a variety of interpretations among folks on how to treat or relate to epileptics. For this reason, it is important that we speak out in favor of ratification of the United Nations Disabled Peoples' Bill of Rights.

The significance of this document for disabled who happen to live in pro-human rights nations is that it works to support any existing domestic laws. In the end, it acts as an aid, in support of the fundamental rights of all disabled:

Civil Rights in the CRPD

The right to legal capacity (to make one’s own decisions)
The right to liberty
The right to live in the community
The right to respect for physical & mental integrity
The right to freedom from torture, violent exploitation and abuse
The right to healthcare and to free and informed consent in health services
The right to education
The right to vote and to participate in public & cultural life
The right to work, and to an adequate standard of living
The right to privacy
The right to habilitation & rehabilitation
The right to receive information in accessible formats
The right to marry and to divorce, and to share equally in child custody
The right to procreate, & the right to obtain contraception
The right to sign contracts, and own and inherit property
The right to accessible public transit and public accommodations

Most of us can see, simply by reading the titles of each of these statements, that there are instances when we have discovered that other folks do not necessarily agree that we are eligible to these rights, due to our disablements.

In the United States, until very recently, laws prohibiting marriage with epileptics were on the books. But so were permissive statutes that allowed sterilization of persons with E...

In 2004, disputes erupted over proposed changes to the language of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to a reporter, Andrew Mollison,

The decisions made it harder for people with disabilities to prove that they have disabilities, bolstered the defenses that can be used by those accused of discrimination, and limited the damages and legal costs that can be collected by those whose complaints are upheld.

That helps explain why only 35 percent of adults with disabilities have full-time or part-time jobs, the council said.

Charlotte Chenoweth, a registered nurse who analyzed medical records in Tampa, Fla., had a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Until she and her physician found the right combination of medications for reliable control of her seizures without side effects, she could not drive to work.

But Chenoweth lost her attempt to force her employer to let her work at home or to adjust her hours to coincide with the rides she could get to work. The judge ruled that Supreme Court decisions meant that since her epilepsy had been mitigated by the time her case came up, she was no longer protected by the ADA.

In fact, according to the council, Supreme Court decisions would have allowed her employer to fire her for having epilepsy, as long as the epilepsy was under control.

It is fascinating the ways epileptics have been treated by society. We have been objectified, our status as human beings has been reduced, and our value as citizens has been compromised. For this reason, ratification of the
United Nations Disabled Peoples' Bill of Rights is essential. If offers to lend support and to demonstrate the intent of nations to act in favor of the human rights of the disabled.

I am in favor of ratification. I would hope each of my readers would be as well, and that you will find a means of raising your voices in support of it, as well.

Throughout my blog, I have posted on diverse elements of the life of persons with E. Everything from guilt to trust, to the contemplation of surgery and suicide. I have posted on superstition, alternatives to AED treatments for E. and my own personal reflections about having E.

The final image below represents what comes to mind for many folks when they think about E. We are much more than this, but like our fellow disabled, we must stand for ourselves in order to erase this kind of image from the minds of others.

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