Brief History of the Confederation of the Persons with Disabilities
Struggle during the establishment process
The establishment period, which started in 2007 and continued until the second ordinary general meeting in 2011, witnessed significant actions and activities with the enthusiasm of entering a new organizing process and the determination to distribute the drug effect caused by sprinkling dead soil on the persons with disabilities.
Marching from the Mausoleum to the Prime Ministry Office; two years in a row visiting the Parliament with a large number of activists; meetings with President, Prime Minister, Chairperson of the Parliament and ministers; achievements; breaking the monopoly of the Confederation of the Handicaped that has been provided by the former law 2908 (Associations Law); struggling to take its rightful place in the face of the political institution, the misleading of positive discrimination against the new Constitutional amendments submitted to the referendum on September 12, 2010, and the campaign against the state guardianship to be established on the judiciary, which is the main guarantee of the rights of the persons with disabilities, increased morale in the disability society.
In the period after the 2nd Ordinary General Assembly, which continued from 2011 to early 2014, there was a recession caused by the lawsuits filed by the Provincial Directorate of Associations regarding the legitimacy of our Confederation, but after the winning of these lawsuits, the process of recovery and standing up was resumed. Main activities of this term were; advocacy to develop legislation for the persons with disabilities; forcing the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission to adopt the disability movement’s demands regarding the new Constitution; contributing the preperation of the Accessibility Monitoring and Supervision Regulation; providing two representatives from both disability confederations to the Accessible Monitoring and Supervision Commissions.
The Confederation of the Persons with Disabilities has carried out various activities especially on the basis of advocacy, organization and education, since its establishment. The Confederation, which carries out projects with an equal and accessible life philosophy for the persons with disabilities, continues its activities by cooperating with many institutions and organizations in the field of human rights of the persons with disabilities.
The first comprehensive project, “Combating Discrimination Against Disabilities: Advocacy and Monitoring Project” was implemented in the period of 2011-2014. The period which continued until the end of 2017, has witnessed an increase in the number and quality of projects, activities and actions. This project was successfully completed. After that, a project was carried out, funded by National Agency (Ulusal Ajans), titled “Share Education and Culture”. A European Union project titled “Let’s Overcome the Barriers by Talking” was one of the significant actions within this period.
In this period, the Confederation of the Persons with Disabilities, whose capacity to carry out projects has strengthened, has attempted to transform this accumulation into further studies in line with the needs and priorities of the disability movement.
The “Rights-Based Struggle and Disability Organization: Past to Tomorrow Workshop” organized in Istanbul on 14-15 May 2016 was a period point in this sense. By analysing the results of this workshop, a project was developed: “Active Citizenship Our Right: Towards Turkey Disabled Persons Assembly” project was born with financial support from the European Union.
“Combating Discrimination Against Disabled People: Advocacy and Monitoring Project”
was supported by the Central Finance and Contracts Unit within the framework of the Social Integration of the persons with disabilities, started in August 2013 and was completed on August 14, 2014. As a result of the project, a Reference Policy Document was prepared, guiding the institutions and organizations operating in the field of disabled people, and two thousand copies were printed and distributed.
“Share Education and Culture Fuse Citizens Project” which aims for solidarity and culture exchange between Ankara and Diyarbakır, was supported by Ankara Development Agency and Karacadağ Development Agency. Communication skills training was provided to 60 people with disabilities and their families in both cities, and it was aimed to strengthen the dialogue between the cultures.
“Let’s Overcome the Barriers Project”. The Confederation of the Persons with Disabilities started this project within the Social Integration and Employability Grant Program of Disadvantaged Groups with the support from the Ministry of Labor, on 20 October 2016. 140 persons with disabilities from Elazığ, Batman, Mersin, Bursa, İstanbul, Kayseri and Amasya were trained, during 27 days, as Call Center Operators. The participants had gender and civil society trainings as well.
“Active Citizenship is Our Right: Towards Turkey Assembly of Persons with Disabilities Project” funded by the European Union, started on December 2017. Local Disability Councils were established in 54 provinces with the participation of local disability organizations, relevant public bodies, local governments and unversities. This project will be completed in June 2021. Please see details on www.turkiyeengellimeclisi.org.tr by June 2020.
Selected meetings organized by the Confederation
Between 17-19 October 2014, with the support of the Turkish Promotion Fund, “1. International Employment of Disabled Social Security Problems and Solution Suggestions Congress” was held. 33 papers were presented to this congress both in and out of the country. The papers were printed as ink prints, audio copies and Braille. You can find detailed information about this publication on Publications section on this website.
Before the general elections on June 7, a workshop titled “Right to Participation in Political Life and Persons with Disabilities” was organized in order to raise awareness about the representation of persons with disabilities in politics. The workshop, which was held on February 13, 2015, with political parties, disability confederations, federations and associations, universities and the Supreme Election Council, was completed with a 14-point final statement.
“Information and Communication Technologies in terms of Social Welfare of the Persons with Disabilities” congress was held in Ankara between 9-11 October 2014. Ministry of Family and Social Policies, General Directorate of Disabled and Elderly Services, Ministry of National Education’s Special Education General Directorate; Gazi, Hacettepe, Ankara and Anatolia Universities, Turkey Informatics Foundation, Informatics Association of Turkey, the European Disability Forum and G3ict participated. The expenses of the congress were covered by the Prime Ministry Promotion Fund. In the congress, 56 presentations were made in 15 sessions. International information and experiences were shared on how information and communication technologies can be used to enable persons with disabilities to access services in health, education, employment and social life.
On May 10, 2015, the Confederation prepared a declaration including the demands and solution suggestions of the persons with disabilities. It organized a meeting with the
Disability Rights Forum, Turkey Disabled Association and the Association of Muscular Diseases.
On 24 March 2009, “Women with Disabilities and Health Symposium” was organized in cooperation with Hacettepe University, Başkent University, Ankara Chamber of Medicine and Turkish Nurses Association.
On December 5, 2015, “Local Administrations and Disabilities Workshop” was organized in collaboration with Yenimahalle Municipality and Local Administrations Research Assistance and Education Association in Ankara.
The Confederation was accepted as an observer member to the European Disability Forum, which is the umbrella organization of European Countries’ disability organizations. Following the membership, the Confederation joined European Disabled Forum meetings held in cities such as Athens, Dublin and Vilnius, and expanded know-how.
The Confederation has been in a relation with the European Disability Forum since 2012. This relationship makes possible to share information and exchange know-how by attending international meetings. Submitting a shadow report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a monitoring activity as well as an effective advocacy and lobbying in order to notice the government’s deficiency at policy making for the persons with disabilities. We achieved to include our demands and needs in the UN reports. With this activity, the Confederation has managed to become an international subject.
The characteristic of the period between the general assembly of the Confederation on January 28, 2017, can be regarded as “seeping into the disability rights movement and being overjoyed at international level” in brief.
Close relations were established with over 700 disability associations in provinces to involve them to the Local Disability Councils in 54 cities. This practices accelerated the organization of the persons with disabilities and made the local disability agenda more visible as well as increased the sympathy for our Confederation.
Due to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities’ obligations, Turkey State submitted its official Country Report to the Committee. Civil society organizations have the right to prepare Shadow Reports to UN Disability Rights Committee as well. The Confederation of the Persons with Disabilities gathered 19 NGOs at a workshop and prepared a Shadow Report with the participation of that NGOs. It submitted its report to the Committee. Our movement has gained an international character with this lobbying at the UN.