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Dementia and Human Rights – Part 13


Part 13 – lets hope it’s not unlucky, we are now part the way through the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I was up to Article 29 so here’s the next bit:


Article 30 is the Right to Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.  This is divided into two main parts, which is access to cultural life and participation in it.  The State should ensure that people with disabilities can take have access to cultural materials in accessible formats, specifically that they can enjoy TV, films and theatre accessibly, but also that they can enjoy cultural services, such as museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services.  It includes that as far as is possible, they can access moments and sites of national and cultural importance.  As far as participation in cultural life the State should take measures to enable people with disabilities to use their creative talent, not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit and “enrichment of society”.  The State should also take appropriate steps to that intellectual property rights do not discriminate against people with disabilities and become a barrier to access.  There is also recognition of the culture of people with disabilities, including their linguistic identity ie sign language (amongst other things) is considered a cultural identity that should be acknowledged and supported.


This Article is also about sport, so the State should promote, at all levels, people with disabilities in mainstream sport.  It also should ensure that people with disabilities can develop and participate in disabled specific sport and recreational activities and to encourage the provision of instruction, training and resources on an equal basis with others.  And to demonstrate that we have the fabulous Paralympics!! The State should also ensure the people with disabilities have access to leisure and tourism venues, which is as simple a thing, as access to the local swimming pool.  It specifically mentions that children should have access to recreational and sporting facilities both in and out of the school system, which again, is (amongst other things), access to the swimming pool on an equal basis, whether privately or as part of a school activity.  The Article doesn’t specifically mention swimming pools; I’m just using it as an example!!


So how are all these right managed?  Article 31!! Statistics and data collection!  Governments thrive on statistics; it’s how they know what’s happening & what informs what they should be doing.  The collection of the statistics should be legally compliant and anonymous and accessible for people with disabilities and others.


Article 31 is possibly not the most exciting one, except for those people who love statistics, but they are an interesting foray into understanding the world that we live in.  If the statistics are available for other jurisdictions and by area, then comparisons is possible, which can inform where good practise is happening and that can hopefully be emulated by others.  It can also throw up some surprises that need investigating in order to understand them.


In the dementia work that I have been doing with the Prime Ministers Challenge, there is some work coming from the USA that indicates that there may be a link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and dementia.  In order to look further into this and find if there really is a link, there needs to be a collection of statistical data.  The veterans of WW2 were sent home without the same level of support that is provided to veterans of more recent conflicts, so hopefully any link between dementia and PTSD will be resolved with the better care of conflict veterans, but the gathering of statistics will tell in due course!!  If it transpires that there is a link, then work to support veterans can be done with the veteran organisations such as SSAFA and the British Legion etc.