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Become a human rights advocate!
Be the change you want to see in this world.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Basketball star Yao Ming in center of large crowd

Claim your human rights. 

Become an advocate:

  • Raise awareness!
  • Become a global advocate for the human rights of people with disabilities!
    Help bring positive change to societies so that people with disabilities can enjoy their human rights.
  • People with disabilities are their own greatest advocates, but they will need to act together and with many champions and allies to change society.
  • You have an important role to play as a person with a disability, an organization for people with disabilities, a family member of a person with a disability, ally, educator, service provider, business, trade union, non-governmental organization, or government agency.
  • You can become a self-advocate or advocate for others with disabilities in your community, country, or internationally. Learn more about human rights advocacy in We Have Human Rights and Human Rights Yes!

Here are some steps you can take to become an advocate for yourself and your community:

Educate Yourself and Raise Awareness in Your Community:

  • Learn about your human rights from We Have Human Rights.
  • Teach your family and friends about the human rights of people with disabilities.
  • Educate your community about their rights. Speak at community centers, schools, and universities. Educate leaders, parents, teachers and employers.
  • Stimulate positive attitude changes toward people with disabilities in your community. Educate your community about the capabilities of people with disabilities. Work to get rid of stereotypes about people with disabilities. Use the media to educate the public. Urge radio, T.V. and news outlets to run stories on advocacy for persons with disabilities. Use the internet.

Organize:

  • Create or join an organization of people with disabilities and undertake human rights advocacy together.
  • Decide what positive changes you want to make. What human rights do people with disabilities in your community not yet enjoy? Decide what changes you want to see in your life and that of your community.
  • Create a coalition. Form alliances with other organizations and influential people to amplify your efforts and coordinate your advocacy.
  • Useful allies are people and organizations who share a common objective with you. These include other organizations of people with disabilities, both nationally and internationally, independent living centers, human rights groups, local United Nations offices, non-governmental organizations working on similar issues, and other civil society organizations. You may already be a member of an organization that can be helpful. Influential people with personal experience of disability or a desire to help others may assist you. Teach your allies about the rights of people with disabilities and the goals you share.
  • Form an umbrella group of disability organizations which can represent your collective and common interests to your government. 

Bring about the change you wish to see:

  • Advocate for Your Human Rights and Implementation.
  • Get help from other organizations and people. Explain to your allies, non- governmental organizations, and academics how they can assist you by providing knowledge, contacts, or resources.
  • Demonstrate how people with disabilities can contribute to their community by volunteering or providing peer support. Achieve what others say you can not.
  • Ensure government officials consult with people with disabilities and support the development, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies that support disability rights. Develop National Action Plans with your government that are inclusive of people with disabilities. Lobby for resources for people with disabilities. Have officials pledge support for the human rights of people with disabilities publicly. Make disability an election issue. Vote!
  • Urge law and policymakers to promote, protect, and fulfill the human rights of people with disabilities. Advocate for the repeal of discriminatory laws. Participate in law, policy, and regulation development.
  • Support inclusive development. Ensure participation of people with disabilities in development planning, implementation, and monitoring. Make sure PRSPs are inclusive.
  • Support inclusive humanitarian relief. Make certain that people with disabilities participate in emergency preparedness planning. Ensure that people with disabilities are included in relief work and reconstruction efforts. 
  • Assist implementation of disability-related policy. Aid groups such as architects, educators and employers to comply with new laws and policies.
  • Educate service providers about the human rights of people with disabilities, tell them your needs, and find ways to work together. Service providers include doctors, teachers, and banks.
  • Ensure enforcement of laws affecting people with disabilities. Bring cases to establish legal precedents that uphold human rights standards.
  • Participate in monitoring. Report human rights abuses to your National Human Rights Institution or other independent body.
  • Be the change you want to see. Having people with disabilities working for the advancement of human rights in all sectors and fields is vital.
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