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CyberDodo and persons with disabilities (2-20)

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Do persons with disabilities have rights ?

There are many different types of disabilities. A disability may be visible or not visible and it may be permanent or temporary.

The disorders or deficiencies that bring about a disability can affect different parts of the body or brain. A disability can also strike anyone at any time.

Certain persons are born with disabilities while for others, their disability is the result of an accident or illness. A disability can also be caused by aging. It is generally accepted that as the average age of a population increases, the number of persons living with one form of a disability or other increases.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), around 10% of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with some form of a disability. The geographical distribution is very skewed, with around 400 million persons with disabilities (80%) living in poor countries and thereby have only inadequate care and facilities at their disposal.

10% of the world's population suffers from a disability

All over the world, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to their full and equal participation in society. Now, if we broaden our view a bit, the number of persons affected by a disability surpasses one billion when taking into account the impact on immediate families. The 10% mentioned is not just a statistic given that disabilities are strongly linked to poverty and frequently limit access to education and treatment, not to mention problems related to exclusion and/or discrimation.

It has proven very difficult to agree upon a definition of disability. A definition or classification represents essentialist thinking that gives rise to terms that may seem pejorative and are very often experienced as limiting.

Moreover, how could a classification manage to capture the daily reality of a person living with a disability?

Yet there does exist a series of definitions that are applicable to the reality and daily experience of such persons. Our view on disability should be put into perspective- a person with a disability is a full-fledged human being with all the rights naturally accruing to him or her, just like anyone else.

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