Disability Rights and Advocacy

In 1995 Hillary Clinton declared at the UN Fourth World Congress on Women, in Beijing, that “Human Rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are Human Rights.”

Michelle with Parliamentary Secretary Kahlon

Who will stand before such an august body and declare “Human Rights are disability rights, and disability rights are Human Rights”?


In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada said

It is an unfortunate truth that the history of disabled persons in Canada is largely one of exclusion and marginalization. Persons with disabilities have too often been excluded from the labour force, denied access to opportunities for social interaction and advancement, subjected to invidious stereotyping and relegated to institutions…


This historical disadvantage has to a great extent been shaped and perpetuated by the notion that disability is an abnormality or flaw…[People with disabilities]… have been subjected to paternalistic attitudes of pity and charity, and their entrance into the social mainstream has been conditional upon their emulation of able-bodied norms…

Over 20 years later, how much has really changed?

It is not through lack of trying by excellent disability activists that change is slow. I’m proud to join them and try to make whatever change I can.