I arrived in Bogotá last week and have gotten a speedy introduction to Survivor Corps. The office in Bogotá is less than a year old, with one staff member, Paola Barragán, and, actually, no physical office. For nearly a year, Paola has been getting to know other Colombian organizations concerned with disability rights and has begun planning projects that will begin over the next few months.
Since I’ve arrived, we’ve been working on a campaign to convince the Colombian government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention is an international agreement that asserts the following rights for people with disabilities:
• Right to life, liberty, and security of the person
• Equality before the law
• Freedom from torture, exploitation, violence, and abuse
• Respect for physical and mental integrity
• Freedom of movement and nationality
• Right to live independently and be included in the community
• Freedom of expression and opinion
• Respect for privacy, home, and family
• Right to education, health, work, and an adequate standard of living
• Right to participate in political and cultural life
The convention went into force on May 3, 2008 after five years of negotiations that involved governments and civil society organizations, as well as the direct participation of people with disabilities. But the convention doesn’t actually bind in any country until that country’s government ratifies it. Today, twenty governments have done so, and roughly thirty Colombian organizations and government agencies are working to win ratification here during 2009.
On Monday, Survivor Corps organized a meeting of these groups to start creating a unified plan of action. The rough idea at this point is to organize public forums, lobby legislators, and create an internal weekly e-mail digest to track the activities of each group.
Posted By Caroline (Colombia)
Posted Jun 12th, 2008