Every man and every woman with disabilities, in every country in the world, has the right to a dignified life.
This is not only to satisfy certain needs, but more so to make sure we fulfil their desire for acceptance and autonomy.
Integration must become an attitude and a culture, and at the same time, lawmakers and government leaders must give their continuing support to this cause.
Today we are here to examine, to discuss and to check the status of the issues concerning disability, from a cultural, institutional, legislative and operational point of view, starting from the principle of protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
The framework is the one of citizenship rights, which are constitutionally recognized, and their ability to protect and to be enforced, as identified in their characteristic of universal individual rights.
Another context is the one of personal improvement, where the State recognizes and supports initiatives aimed at the common good, at solidarity and at shared responsibility in the interest of social policies for community care: forms of assistance and support provided both “in” the community and “by” the community.
It’s essential to focus on the heart of the defense system of the person’s dignity and her right to be part of her community, in contact with her family and social networks.
The person at the center means that not only she is the target of system performance and response, but she also cooperates, participates and chooses the process of inclusion, even if the severity of the clinical or behavioral impairment is substantial.
It becomes a priority to design and implement a welfare system that seeks to assert, request and demand:
The urgency of an effective recognition of the rights of every man and every woman with a disability to a life of dignity and that is worth living;
The urgency of promoting a culture of acceptance and recognition of the existential desire of autonomy of all persons with disabilities, not only of the satisfaction of their needs;
The urgency to recognize the time differentials that characterize the life span of all persons with disabilities;
The urgency to promote scientific research that can deliver all forms of prevention of damaging events;
The urgency of promoting the protection of health, especially in those forms where treatments can not guarantee success, where you can not get rid of the disability, but we instead need to unleash the potential that any disability can never erase;
The urgency of ensuring the right to study, work, of housing, and the removal of barriers;
The urgency to promote research and experimentation, to support and upgrade capabilities, remembering that rehabilitation is not only giving back a person’s impaired abilities: it is also a barrier to decay, the activation of compensatory functions, an evocation of alternative capabilities.
Inclusion remains the key to tearing down barriers: inclusion of children in school and in sports, inclusio in the job market and in society. Participation, understanding and overcoming of prejudice and mistrust. With everyone’s work will get very far indeed.
Our failure to recognize this strong need for full inclusion can cause three types of deficits: economic, since not taking advantage of the available resources results in a costly loss; social, because not incorporating any category creates exclusion; democratic, because it denies participation and therefore full citizenship.
Tearing down the barriers that prevent full participation of all citizens in the democratic life of the country is, in fact, a great sign of civilization.
The reason for my presence in Positano is to achieve the goal of improving Brunella’s psycho-social conditions, through the promotion of personal autonomy, of socialization and of civil responsability.
Tomorrow I will swim for her, and for all the girls and the children in our country who can’t experience the environment they need for a happy growth, one that is balanced and full of experiences and emotions. I will swim as an example that I hope will reach straight to the heart of those who govern and decide the conditions of life of us citizens: you can start tearing down physical barriers of this wonderful place, so that everyone can fully enjoy life, and you can then continue implementing policies of real and profitable inclusion, finding the strength that we all need within the community.