Trinity students to march for disability rights

The march is calling for full disability rights for people in Ireland and for an increase in services for people with disabilities.

Photo Credit: Joe McCallion/ Trinity News

Trinity Students will march this Saturday, December 9 for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . The march is calling for full disability rights for people in Ireland and for an increase in services for people with disabilities. The colour of the march is Purple and students are encouraged to bring their own flags.

The CRPD was adopted on December 13, 2006 and the European Union (EU) encouraged all member states to sign it and ratify it; Ireland signed the convention in March 2007. The convention, intended “as a human rights instrument”, has been ratified by all EU countries except Ireland.

The convention itself  “adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The convention also clarifies “how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.”

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Officer for Students with Disabilities, Laura Beston is encouraging students to march on Saturday. Beston along with TCDSU organised two photocalls around campus to create awareness for CRPD and why it should be ratified.

Speaking to Trinity News, Beston said: “Students should be marching this Saturday because we have taken to the streets time and time again to protest against injustice in our country so why should disability rights be any different? For some reason we’re taught to be ashamed of our disabilities, we’re taught that we don’t qualify as a person with a disability unless it’s glaringly obvious. As a country we need to insist that our government actually acknowledge the rights of people with disabilities regardless of our own personal situation because you never know when the ratification of the CRPD could actually help you in the future.” 

TCDSU ran a Disability Day on Monday to “raise awareness of the different disabilities that affect college students as there are many hidden disabilities that students don’t know about so it’s important for us to inform ourselves about what our fellow classmates our experiencing.”

The event included an accessible breakfast, repeal and disability discussion, a talk on diversity in leadership. Trinity Literary Society and TCD Sign Language Society also ran a  Sign Language Awareness event in order to investigate the world of poetry in both hearing and non hearing forms.

Sarah Meehan

Sarah is a 2nd year German and Economics student.