Conference focuses on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities

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Conference focuses on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities

Published on June 02 2011

With Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in March, it joins other countries in embracing one of the most powerful treaties to affect the rights of persons living with intellectual disabilities in our history.

On Wednesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 22, the 3Rs (Rights, Respect, Responsibility) Community-University Research Alliance will host a sold-out international conference at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ont., to celebrate this landmark achievement.

“This milestone has been a long time coming,” says conference co-ordinator Dorothy Griffiths, Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Brock University. “The adoption of the UN Convention ushers in a new era of equality and human rights for persons living with an intellectual disability.”

“History shows us that the rights of these individuals have been violated across all aspects of their lives — health, education, justice, sexuality, and the right to live in a community,” says Griffiths. “This conference will celebrate this historic moment, but it will also chart a course for the research, planning and work that still needs to be done to make this dream a reality.”

The two-day conference aims to develop a “Rights Agenda” policy and practices document by looking at what Canada and other nations are doing to support the rights of people who have an intellectual disability. The conference has attracted international educators, health professionals, justice officials, policy analysts, researchers and advocates who share a common goal of expanding rights awareness.

Speakers include: Stephen Lewis, Professor in Global Health, McMaster University; Michael Bach, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Association for Community Living; Timothy Endicott, Dean, Faculty of Law, Oxford University; and many more.

Brock University and Community Living Welland-Pelham are hosting the conference.

The event is co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for Community Living, Community Living Ontario, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, National Association for Dual Diagnosis (Ontario Chapter), Ontario OASIS, the Department of Justice Canada (Partnership & Innovation), the Southern Network of Specialized Care, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Counsel of Canada, the Law Foundation of Ontario, People First of Canada, People First of Ontario, Bethesda and the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities.

BACKGROUND: 3Rs Community-University Research Alliance

In the 1990s Community Living Welland-Pelham and Brock University formed a partnership to examine ways to prevent and protect people with intellectual disabilities from abuse.

In 2004, Brock and Community Living received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Community University Research Alliance (CURA) grant. This grant focused on researching and developing an educational program on rights for persons who have an intellectual disability, called the 3Rs, Rights, Respect and Responsibility Project.

A Culture of Rights