OHCHR study on autistic peer support / by Erich Kofmel

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) prepares an annual thematic study on the rights of persons with disabilities for the spring session of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as occasional additional reports as requested by the HRC. Despite submissions by ourselves and national-level autistic self-advocacy organizations during the consultation phases for such studies and reports, staff at the OHCHR dealing with human rights and disability have not so far incorporated any suggestions we made, or at least not attributed them to and highlighted their importance specifically for autistic persons, with one notable exception.

The OHCHR "Thematic study on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community", submitted to the March 2015 session of the HRC, includes one reference that may be pertinent still to any autistic self-advocates seeking to influence their local or national governments:

"32. Submissions referred to a wide range of other community support services, often so-called centres for independent living. The support provided in such cases is geared towards information and advice, self and peer support, protection of rights and interests, shelters, housing services, training for independent living, supported decision-making and personal assistance. [...] Here, the concept of community should not be necessarily limited to a geographic and physical location: some persons with autism have found that support provided online may be more effective, in certain cases, than support received in person."

The footnote for this reads: "See the joint contribution by Autistic Minority International, Alliance Autiste (France) and Enthinderungsselbsthilfe von Autisten für Autisten (und Angehörige) (ESH) (Germany)." (http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Disability/LiveIndependently/AutisticMinorityInternationalAllianceAutiste_ESH.doc)

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