The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

01 July 2010

How to Address Practices & Policies which Discriminate PWDs

By: Atty. Leila De Lima

Many of us, who campaign for the rights of persons with disabilities, do so because the love that we feel for a family member, compels us to act. We are moved to go beyond our comfort zones, reach out to complete strangers, read and research, organize and become active.

We cannot help but do something. We cannot be satisfied unless we know for sure, that we are doing everything in our power, for a loved one. We cannot rest easy otherwise. They deserve no less than that.

It becomes especially important for us to organize and act in a collective manner, because our society and the world at large are still a long way off from the ideal. Full and meaningful respect for the human rights of persons with disabilities, is not yet the reality on the ground.

In fact, the world can be quite a difficult and even hurtful place, where instead of finding support, we come across ignorance, apathy, and at times, even cruelty. And these problems are larger than any individual person or family, which is why organizations which allow us to act together, such as Autism Society Philippines, are so important.

At the individual level, we can appeal to people’s better natures. Let us remind them of the basic truths-that we are each others’ keepers. That whoever saves a person, saves all mankind. And that as fellow human beings, we are all equal, we all possess an inherent dignity, and we all have human rights, which must be respected and protected.

We can also appeal to the enlightened self-interest of individuals. Let us remind them that ours are shared communities and a shared society. When we protect the rights of one group of people, such as persons with disabilities, the human rights of all other persons are strengthened as well. On the other hand, when the rights of one group of people are undermined or weakened, this threatens the rights of everyone else.

Finally, we can remind individuals, and the leaders and members of institutions, that there is in fact an obligation, found in national and international law, to respect the rights of persons with disabilities. When all else fails, when appeals to better natures and self-interest appear to have no effect, then knowledge of human rights law becomes that much more important.

Atty. Leila de Lima during her talk at ASP's Autism Beyond Borders Conference

The Promised Land

Israel is my son, my pride and my joy. I do not need to tell you of the emotions that well up inside of me, when he smiles, when he expresses his affection, and when he seems to be content. I do not need to describe to you how much he matters. I do not need to tell you of the lengths to which I would go, to keep him safe, to make him happy, and to allow him a full, rich and meaningful life.

Time flies by so fast however. Months become years, which become decades, and I know that, no matter how hard I wish for it, I will not always be around for Israel. That is why this work, and the work done by you, and Autism Society Philippines, mean so much.

We work to strengthen the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities, so that our society will become more humane, more just, more inclusive, and so many other necessary things. We are all working very hard, so that our society will become a better place, for my Israel, and for your friends and your loved ones.

*Source: Excerpt from ABB Conference

ASP celebrates with the whole nation the NDPR week from July 17 to 23. Click here to read on the line-up of activities. Be informed. Be pro-active. Be an Angel for Autism. Tell others. Share Hope and Build Dreams. Log on to ASP Community Website or email us at or call 7-903-5496.


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