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The Right to Live and be Different
On 12/13 February 2000, 130 disabled people and parents, delegates from DPI organisations in twenty-seven countries in Europe, African, Australia and North America, met in Solihull, UK to discuss bioethics and human rights. This was the first occasion of its kind and it is with pride that we make the following declaration.
First and foremost we demand:
Nothing about us without us
Up until now most of us have been excluded from debates on bioethical issues. These debates have had prejudiced and negative views of our quality of life. They have denied our right to equality and have therefore denied our human rights.
We demand that we are included in all debates and policy-making regarding bioethical issues.
We must be the people who decide on our quality of life, based on our experiences.
We also call on our organisations to give support, encouragement and reassurance to those of us who are representing our views on bioethical regulatory bodies.
Particular support must be given to empower the voice of mental health survivors, people with learning difficulties, people who cannot advocate for themselves and disabled children, in the debate.
Richness in Diversity
We are full human beings. We believe that a society without disabled people would be a lesser society. Our unique individual and collective experiences are an important contribution to a rich, human society.
We demand an end to the bio-medical elimination of diversity, to gene selection based on market forces and to the setting of norms and standards by non-disabled people.
Biotechnological change must not be an excuse for control or manipulation of the human condition or bio-diversity.
We recognise that the only way to ensure universal support for and positive recognition of our particular qualities is through stating our right to diversity clearly, with good arguments, in open and democratic discussion. We must form alliances with scientists, the medical professions, ethicists, policy-makers, human rights advocates, the media and the general public.
All Human Beings are born free and equal in Dignity and Rights
Human rights are the responsibility of the state as well as the individual. Disabled people, our organisations, families and allies must work to ensure that international, regional and national legal instruments include the implementation of rights throughout all scientific advances and medical practices concerning the human genome, reproduction, assessments of quality of life, therapeutic measures and alleviation of ‘pain and suffering’.
Biotechnology presents particular risks for disabled people. The fundamental rights of disabled people, particularly the right to life, must be protected.
In particular we demand:
these life-threatening issues.
STRENGTH IN UNITY!
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