Phyllis Fehr to Represent People with Dementia at the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Emilia Klassen

From March 20th through April 12th, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be running. The committee will be examining the implementation of the provisions of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in eight countries, including Canada. “The purpose of the Convention (CRPD) is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” We are so excited that Phyllis Fehr, person with dementia, will be advocating for people with dementia to be included in the CRPD.

To open, the Chair of the committee will summarize the progress made over the past year and speak to the relationships between the United Nations and outside organizations of people with disabilities. The committee will review the initial reports from each country and take into account the suggestions that have been made since. Notably, the progress made toward independent living and inclusive communities are being evaluated, and revisions to these reports will be made accordingly. You can read Canada’s initial report here.

The CRPD “reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and promotes respect for their inherent dignity,” and defines a ‘person with a disability’ as someone who has long-term “physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

By the end of the Convention, each country participating will have a report that will outline the actions that will be taken to move toward being more inclusive and respectful of people with disabilities over the next two years. On April 3rd and 4th, Canada’s report will be examined and revised. More information about the CRPD can be found here.

We are very proud to announce that Phyllis Fehr, Vice Chair of the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG) and Board Member of the Dementia Alliance International (DAI) is at the World Health Organization in Geneva attending the Convention. She spoke on March 20th, calling for “full access to the CRPD” for people living with dementia, stating that the DAI’s goal is “to ensure that people with cognitive impairments are treated like people with other disabilities.” For more information about Phyllis’ story and to read her full speech notes, click here.