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AXSLIB-L  June 1998

AXSLIB-L June 1998

Subject:

Internation Labor Organization and Voc Rehab

From:

Prof Norm Coombs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Library Access -- http://www.rit.edu/~easi

Date:

Wed, 10 Jun 1998 15:41:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (216 lines)

This is a long document, but I believe it is of interest to many readers of
these lists.
Norman Coombs Chaire of EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)

GLADNET has been provided with the joint statement of Rehabilitation
International and Inclusion International on the occasion of the 86th
Session of the ILO's International Labour Conference.  This statement has
also been placed on the GLADNET web site.



JOINT STATEMENT

Rehabilitation International and Inclusion International

86th Session of the International Labour Conference, 2-18 June, 1998,
                                  Geneva

It is a privilege to present this Statement to you, the Delegates from the
174 ILO Member State
Governments, Employers, and Trade Unions. We now thank the Officers of the
Governing Body of the International Labour Office for the invitation to do
so.

We are pleased to present today on behalf of Rehabilitation International
(RI) and Inclusion
International (II), and also on behalf of other disability NGO colleagues
working at the
international level who have consultative status with United Nations
ECOSOC. Over 500 million disabled people live, work, and aspire to work in
all countries throughout the world.

Our names are Susan Parker and Brendan Sutton. Susan is RI's Secretary
General; Brendan is the Coordinator of Inclusion International's Employment
Project. Both II and RI are international NGO's having Consultative Status
with ECOSOC, WHO, UNICEF, and UNESCO, and consultation/cooperation with the
ILO. Both organisations maintain official relations with
inter-governmental regional organisations world-wide. RI operates from
bases in New York,
Brussels, and Hong Kong through 200 Member Organisations (who number 25
government
ministries - including labour and social affairs - the remainder being
national level NG0s). The
number of persons estimated to receive services are upwards of 75 million.
II operates from its base in Brussels with 173 Member Organisations who
themselves contain 20,000 local
associations who speak for 50 million people with mental handicaps and
their families in 109
countries.

II is a grass roots human rights organisation of families, self-advocates
and community citizens dedicated to developing and protecting the rights of
persons with mental handicaps (intellectual disability) to living lives in
the mainstream of societies. RI's constituents are organisations of and for
people with all types of disabilities who provide services of various types
to disabled people of all ages and their families. The national level
organisations and government ministries join together in a global
federation to promote and implement activities that minimise the negative
effects of impairments through rehabilitation and equalisation of
opportunities.

Importance of the ILO's General Survey on Convention 159

This Statement's theme reinforces the importance of the promotion and
implementation by ILO
Member States of Convention 159 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment -
Disabled
Persons), 59 States having so far ratified this 1983 convention. That, and
its companion,
Recommendation 168, are progressive in emphasising that organisations
representing disabled persons shall be consulted.

Accordingly, we welcome very much the ILO's decision to look at the
national level effectiveness of this instrument after fifteen (15) years of
implementation. We recognise the importance of the ILO's tripartite
structure to stimulate the training and employment of disabled persons
within all countries. Indeed, the ILO's national membership contains the
keys to effectively promote training and employment of disabled persons
through the use of rehabilitation tailored to the needs of the disabled
person and the workplace's demand for specific skills.

We well recognise that you, the ILO Delegates from this tripartite
structure containing
governments, employers, and trade unions, chose to allocate increasingly
scare resources to
the carrying out of this General Survey whose results have now provided
valuable descriptions about disabled people's participation in vocational
rehabilitation, the role of the NG0s at the national level, and even some
trends about utilisation of service by disabled people. We extend our
thanks to the Governing Body who chose to do its part to bring increased
attention to disability at the all important level - the one of countries'
themselves.

Convention 159 and its accompanying Recommendation 168 remain vital
cornerstones in the
battle fought by disabled people and their families for basic human rights
and equal
opportunities. We affirm the principle of this Convention, namely, the
recognition for affirmative action to ensure that all categories of
disabled people have access to appropriate vocational rehabilitation
measures and inclusive employment opportunities.

We regret that relevant disability NG0s were not widely consulted in the
exercise leading to the Report we discuss today, an opportunity lost. We
recognise that such an omission is against the spirit and the content of
the Convention which states in Article 5, "that representative
organisations of and for disabled people shall be consulted".

Hundreds of thousands of disabled people and their families in Africa and
Asia live in remote
areas, waiting for an opportunity to make ends meet. The link between
unemployment and
poverty for people with disabilities has been clearly established. The
Survey Report is short on responses to their plea for equal opportunities
(see paragraph 250 of the Report). Had disability NG0s been consulted, we
guarantee that a wealth of information would have been made available to
you. The Report does not consider the discrimination that disabled people
face in countries where they work in sheltered employment situations, with
no employment contracts, and are not given the opportunity of joining
labour unions if they wish to do so.

ILO Core Standards

Convention No. 111, a core labour standard, deals with discrimination in
respect to employment and occupation. Specifically, it defines
discrimination aimed at persons on the basis of "race, colour, sex,
religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which
has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or
treatment in employment or occupation".   Convention 111 does NOT include
people with disabilities.

We do recognise that Convention 111, 1, (a) came into effect in 1960.
Paragraph Number 244
in the General Survey Report links Convention 111, article 1, (a) and
Convention 159.

Convention No. 159 concerns "Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of
Disabled Persons".  Article 4 of Convention 159 states that the "..policy
shall be based on the principle of equal opportunity between disabled
workers and workers generally. Equality of opportunity and treatment for
disabled men and women workers shall be respected. Special positive
measures aimed at effective equality of opportunity and treatment between
disabled workers and others workers shall not be regarded as discriminating
against other workers".

We trust that the Delegates to this 86th International Labour Conference
will take great pride in
the fact that two of the ILO's key conventions marry the principles of
equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and training of
disabled people. As such, the ILO stands to
significantly advance the exercising of disabled people's human rights
through the inclusion of disability as one of the grounds for discrimination.

We strongly recommend, on behalf of all International disability NG0s, that
disability be added to the categories against which discrimination must not
occur in Convention 111. This is a
fundamental human rights priority for people with disabilities around the
world.

The ILO, NG0s, and Civil Society

We see inclusive training and employment as a key path to full realisation
of human rights. For many disabled people, inclusive training and
employment remains an aspiration, not yet a
reality. Recognising that the majority of people with mental handicaps
(intellectual disabilities) in the world are not in contact with any
training or employment programme and are invisible to
society, it is recommended that such problems be addressed jointly by the
ILO, Inclusion
International, Rehabilitation International, the other NG0s, and Civil
Society.

Participation in work and the exercise of one's right to work and associate
are fundamental. The ILO's role and ability to prohibit discrimination due
to disability represents a cornerstone in the application of human rights
rules to the betterment of Civil Society. As NGO's engaged in the advocacy
for full expression of human rights, we are confident that the
International Labour Conference will exercise its utmost effort to initiate
the process leading to the inclusion of disabled people to the categories
against which discrimination in training and employment must not occur. We
stand ready to assist where ever possible.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Parker                                         Brendan Sutton

Secretary                                               General Coordinator
- Inclusion International

Rehabilitation International                    Inclusive Employment Project







5 June, 1998





Carl Raskin
Executive Director
Global Applied Disability Research and
Information Network
GLADNET
[log in to unmask]
tel:  613 825 6193
fax:  613 825 2953

visit GLADNET's web site at:

http://www.gladnet.org

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