Marking UN Disability Day, ERG/AOP criticises ‘social stagnation’ in Equality


‘Every 3rd of December, the United Nations reminds the world how far down the list of their concerns the rights of disabled persons are. And every year the response from governments is to see an opportunity for telling us ‘how much’ they’ve done.

‘It’s true that the clock has not stood still. Rarely, however, has it moved forward as the result of the conscientious energy of any politician or party. Long years of struggle by civil society and much personal sacrifice lie behind the eventual wins and progress made on behalf of different sectors. Never backward to come forward, however, it’ll be some politician somewhere who will come to tout their putative frontline role, masking their many years of silent non-commitment.

‘Nonetheless, the fact that parliaments, political parties, and politicians form a part of the very fibre of what we dare to call democracy cannot be overlooked. Their role is significant overall. Yet the arrogance and self-promotion of false prophets that too frequently comes with it tells a less appealing story that ordinary citizens see through.

‘All these years later, Gibraltar continues to fight for justice when it comes to persons with disabilities. ERG/AOP’s Disability Coordinator today makes a clear and moving case in the Opinion pages of this paper against the stagnation we’re facing in Gibraltar on this issue. Though he’s too polite to touch that nerve, that we can make such relatively swift progress on some issues of social discrimination whilst leaving others behind damns us all. Human rights must be indivisible.

‘ERG in particular, having successfully pioneered a whole swathe of advances for the LGBT+ community over decades, cannot stand by and simply walk away from the scandal of poverty or disability discrimination, among others. Solidarity is not negotiable. And our concern for human and civil rights requires a non-sectarian commitment that cuts across limited interests. All sectors can equally rely on that.

‘On this day when we mark at least a small component of that solidarity through the United Nations, ERG/AOP once more commits itself publicly to the continued and rigorously independent support of citizens in Gibraltar on issues of justice. Without grace or favour to any grouping, ERG/AOP reiterates its founding call for all social groups and NGOs in our community to work together and strengthen equality, human and civil rights,’ Felix Alvarez, ERG/AOP Chair stated.