Gabor Gombos Honoured

3 December 2009, Budapest, Hungary. MDAC congratulates its Senior Advocacy Officer, Gabor Gombos, who was today awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in recognition of his work in the field of human rights of persons with disabilities.

A former theoretical physicist and survivor of psychiatry, Gabor has become a world-renowned advocate for the rights of persons with psycho-social (mental health) disabilities. At MDAC, Gabor takes part in international and domestic level advocacy, and has been one of the key actors in developing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and ensuring its implementation in Hungary.

The award was given today on 3 December which is the international day of persons with disabilities. The theme of the day this year is making the Millennium Development Goals inclusive, highlighting the bidirectional correlation between poverty and disability, and tackling the global justice issue of poverty. Emphasizing that poverty eradication will succeed only if people with disabilities are allowed to be and enabled to be active participants of the efforts, Gabor today said

Persons with disabilities have been excluded from effective and equal participation across the globe. Legal incapacitation, deprivation of the right to vote, and segregation into custodial institutions are some of the ways how societies exclude the world’s largest minority. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls for a rethinking of social contracts which have failed to include people with disabilities. A meaningful implementation of the Convention will transform communities towards truer and more inclusive democracies where people with disabilities will contribute to the well-being of societies, through their being and doing, on an equal basis with others.

Gabor concluded with a call for action: “When physical, environmental, attitudinal barriers and legal disqualifications are removed; and support, reasonable accommodation and capacity-building are provided, people with and without disabilities can join their efforts to tackle local and global challenges, to make this planet a more just place for all.”

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