I am Alun Davies. I became chair of Bristol’s new Disability Equality Commission in September. This is my second contribution to the Mayor’s blog.
Before I give you an update on what I have been doing since September, I would like to talk about the United Nations International Day of Disabled People which takes place on 3rd December. For me, this day is a timely reminder of the millions of Disabled people through-out the world who are denied really basic civil and human rights, choice equality and services. There are still many countries in the world where basic needs are not met, and services taken for granted elsewhere in the world do not exist for everyone. In many of these places Disabled people are often at the bottom of the pile if they are even considered at all.
It is of course understandable that we focus on making things better in Bristol and this country as that is where we live. Personally though, I think we must never miss the opportunity to remember we are part of a much bigger global community. I will be asking the Commission when we are working to mark each December 3rd with a call on every country that has not yet ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Disabled people to do so, and for all countries including this one to fully implement all aspects of the convention.
My focus since my last blog has been recruiting Disabled people to be commissioners. After an extensive publicity campaign, we have received over 20 applications. We will be interviewing over the next few weeks. I hope to announce the names of the commissioners by the end of January, and for the commission to meet for the first time in mid-February.
I have also chaired the first meeting of a task and finish group the Mayor asked me to set up. This group will be developing an action plan to implement the recommendations from the Building Rights report. The report, written by Sir Stephen Bubb, investigated the experiences of several people with autism and people with learning difficulties in the city. It revealed many challenges and concerns that the Mayor and all people engaged in working with and supporting people with Autism and people with learning difficulties in the city are determined to tackle. The group will report by March next year.
If anyone would like to contact me directly, please email the Commission’s general inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org