Disability Studies

Recognizing disability as a matter of human rights and banning disability oriented discrimination started with the UN's Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons in 1975. The declaration, by emphasizing that disabled persons have the equal rights as nondisabled persons, apart from banning direct discrimination, brought regulations related to the treatment of disabled persons, nursing and rehabilitation services and anticipated positive discriminative precautions in order for them to be treated equally in areas such as education, occupation, and trial.

Developments related to the protection of the rights of disabled persons became concrete with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2008. With the said agreement, disability was accepted as a human rights issue by governments. At the beginning of the agreement it says:

e) Recognizing that disability is an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,

In the last 50 years, there has been a rapid intellectual development about the meaning and the nature of the disability. The major axis of this perspective changed from biological/medical modal that sees disability as treatable to social modal which believes that disability is caused by social obstacles on the way to participation and later to human rights approach.

Eventually, the concept of disability is not fixed and can change depending on the dominant environment of social life. Advancement on accessibility regulations and the change in the perspectives of societies requires re-definition of disability.

In this context, RWIstanbul supports disability studies on both academic and implementation levels:

• Persons with disabilities is one of the 5 thematic groups of the Human Rights Cities project. Within this framework, RWIstanbul prepared “Disability Awareness and Local Authorities Report” which includes suggestions for the near future, approaches and the current situation in Turkey. Within the scope of the project, the improvement of urban services related to persons with disabilities via enhancing the collaboration between universities and municipalities is aimed.

• Within the framework of the collaboration with Boğaziçi University, academic research related to Disability Studies is supported by RWIstanbul.

* Disability Awareness and Local Authorities Report-download