This was the title of an event organised by CBM (Christian Blind Mission) Germany on the 10th of October 2007 in Berlin bringing together parliamentarians of the German Bundestag, Parliamentary State Secretaries, representatives from different ministries and many more allies of CBM from various political levels. About 55 participants gathered to exchange their views on this provocative question and to learn more about CBM. All participants agreed that the interests of persons with disabilities need to be included in all human rights questions and poverty alleviation efforts.
One of the biggest achievements of this event was to involve parliamentarians working on different issues, ranging from health to foreign affairs. Thanks to this diversity, it was possible to raise awareness of the importance of disability as a cross-cutting issue. The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the ongoing debate about its ratification provide a good opportunity to draw politicians’ attention to persons with disabilities as a human rights issue. In this context, the key message sent by Karin Kortmann and Franz Thönnes (Parliamentary State Secretaries) was without ambiguity: the UN Convention constitutes a enormous chance to improve the integration and inclusion of persons with disabilities, not only in the developing world, but also in Germany. “The better we perform on integrating persons with disabilities in Germany, the stronger we can strive for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the international arena”, said Franz Thönnes. CBM furthermore lobbies for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all sectors and concepts of development cooperation, including the Millennium Development Goals.
At the Berlin event some of the major activities of the CBM’s 100 years celebrations in 2008 were announced, and politicians were invited to get actively involved in planned actions which will take place in their respective constituencies.
Germany has signed the Convention and the Optional Protocol, but did not yet ratify. The official German translation of the Convention text should be available in the next few weeks. The ministry in charge has started to work on a bill, which needs to be passed before ratification. The latest parliamentary question on the issue can be downloaded here (only in German): http://www.markus-kurth.de/show/756346.html