I’m a deafblind guy with an interest in the law and a passion for human rights. I’ve been deafblind from birth (for the curious, congenital cataracts and lack of hearing), but it’s my belief that disabilities are merely a challenge to overcome, not an insurmountable obstacle about which nothing can possibly be done. I have a variety of hobbies, such as reading (I enjoy science fiction and fantasy particularly), occasional programming, and roleplaying (collaborative storytelling). Other interests I have include technology in general, science, writing, accessibility, and advocacy.
I hear you ask, “What do you mean by ‘human rights’?” That’s an excellent question, and it’s one I want to explore on my blog. Briefly, however, human rights are a set of rights to which every human being is inherently endowed. These rights are ones that must not be abridged or abrogated by law; the law should flow around the barriers presented by, rather than attempt to subvert, human rights. I think that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union inadequately protects human rights, in that it permits the law to abrogate these rights so long as a process is defined.
“So what do you mean by advocacy, then? What makes that meaningful?” For me, advocacy is not just promoting the welfare of others, it is also ensuring that every human being is represented, particularly those who can’t represent themselves. It’s about ensuring that each person is respected and has their rights and desires respected. Most importantly, it is the recognition that people make mistakes and that people who do make mistakes have the opportunity to learn from them. Everyone has a right to function in society, and everyone has a right to whatever support is necessary to render them able to exercise that right—whether the limitations are from disability or from having harmed another human being.
“Is that where accessibility comes in?” Absolutely, and accessibility is inherently an ongoing process. Society was created to provide assistance to people, whether that assistance is promoting the exchange of goods and services or ensuring that infrastructure is provided so that the sick may become well again. It is a moral imperative that every individual who is capable of assisting another person be willing to do so.