Advocating for Inclusivity: A Perspective on Human Rights Month

As Human Rights Month unfolds, it serves as a poignant reminder of the unyielding importance of upholding the rights of every individual within our society. For persons with disabilities, this commemoration holds special significance, offering an opportune moment to reflect on the strides made, the challenges faced, and the path forward in our collective journey toward inclusivity and equality.

In my role as an Ambassador for Persons with Disabilities, I am acutely aware of the responsibility to lead by example, continually educating and advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. While Human Rights Month serves as a dedicated period for such reflection and advocacy, it is imperative to recognise that the principles of human rights should be upheld every day, in every sphere of society.

Despite the universal concept of human rights, personal experiences often highlight the persistent challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. From inadequate access to physical spaces, to barriers in engaging as equal contributors to society, the journey toward true inclusivity remains riddled with obstacles that demand our collective attention and action. Universal access and inclusion stand as pivotal pillars in addressing key human rights issues faced by persons with disabilities. Yet, the stark reality of limited access to essential services, education, and healthcare continues to impact the quality of life for many within our communities. It is incumbent upon us to dismantle these barriers and pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive society.

Over the years, there has been notable progress in shifting societal perceptions of disability. However, the translation of intentions into tangible actions remains a pressing challenge. Implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies are essential to ensure that the vision of universal access and inclusion becomes a lived reality for all.

As we navigate Human Rights Month, my message to policymakers, organisations, and the public echoes the sentiment of Nelson Mandela: โ€œFundamental human rights must be upheld consistently, not just during dedicated periods of observance. By treating all individuals with dignity, respect, and equality, we take significant strides toward safeguarding their human rightsโ€.

In my various roles and engagements, I am committed to raising awareness and advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. Through initiatives and campaigns, we aim to foster a culture of mutual respect and dignity, enabling meaningful participation and inclusion throughout the year.

Looking ahead, my aspirations are rooted in a vision of universal access and inclusion for all. With dedication and passion, we can collectively shape a future where equality and inclusivity are not just ideals but lived realities for every member of society.
In promoting inclusion, the Western Cape Association of and for Persons with Disabilities (WCAPD) plays a crucial role. Committed to advocacy and lobbying, WCAPD actively influences legislation and policies to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, ensuring that their voices are heard and that their needs are addressed at all levels of society.

Let us recommit ourselves to the pursuit of equality and inclusion. Together, let us champion the rights of persons with disabilities, not just for a month, but every day, in every interaction, and in every decision we make.

Thys Blom

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