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  • Chris McMillan

Disabled or not, everyone is equal in our society

South China Morning Post

31st March 2015

Disabled or not, everyone is equal in our society

Special dedication days remind us of need to push forward with anti-discrimination laws

The world observed World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. The message this year was "My Opportunities, My Choices", urging us to see those with the syndrome as people first, enjoying full and equal rights.

Next up is World Autism Awareness Day, on Thursday, and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on December 3.

These dedication days not only raise awareness of disability, but also remind us that it is but part of humanity. With or without disabilities, each individual is an equal member of society, worthy of inclusion and development.

It is all about appreciation of different abilities; provision of equal opportunities; accommodative support and adjustments.

Advancing equality requires different people to make an effort and push boundaries at all levels, small and big.

At home, some developments in the cause deserve serious attention:

First, in a judicial review earlier this month, Law Chi-yuen, a pupil of a special school for the intellectually disabled, challenged the secretary for education's rejection of an application from his school to access resources under the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) scheme on the grounds of discrimination and equal protection of the law.

This case recalls a judicial review in 2009 on behalf of Tong Wai-ting, 18, in which age restrictions imposed on special schools for intellectually disabled pupils were challenged. The application did not succeed, but it raised consciousness among parents and pupils.

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