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Diversity and human rights

In this video, Dinesha Samararatne and Rosemary Kayess describe the importance of human rights and its relation to human diversity.

Last week, we saw that valuing human diversity goes hand-in-hand with movements towards greater social inclusion for people with disabilities and is essential to working towards a good life for everyone.

This week, we turn our attention to human rights frameworks, which express the dignity and equal worth of all humans and lay out a basic set of rights that all humans should have.

In the above video, Dr. Dinesha Samararatne and Rosemary Kayess explain how the recognition of human diversity is central to a human rights approach to disability. Dinesha says that for many of Sri Lanka’s diverse cultures, giving charity to people with disabilities is seen as a way of gaining merit. While a charity model has also been prominent in the Global North, Rosemary emphasises in this clip that people with disabilities in the Global North have often been medicalised and segregated from mainstream society, as we saw for example in Step 1.9: Making belonging.

A human rights approach, which is based on the valuing of human diversity, reframes these negative understandings of disability and provides an alternative model where all people have dignity and can flourish.

In the next step, Educators Jos and Karen provide an introduction to human rights, and describe in more detail what we will be investigating this week.

Talking points

In Australia it is quite common to hear people talking about having a “right” to something.
  • Is the concept of rights in general, and human rights in particular, common in your local context?
  • If the idea of having rights is often referred to in your local context, how do people usually use the term? One example of this might be when people use rights to justify or criticise behaviour (for example, “I have a right to express my opinion”).
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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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