SCLD has invited a range of stakeholders and partners to share their thoughts on our recent state-of-the-nation report on the human rights of people with learning disabilities, The State of Our Rights. To bring our series to a close, we are hearing from two members of SCLD’s Human Rights Lived Experience Board, Leeanne Clark and Sandy Stark. Over the last few months, the Lived Experience Board has been busy investigating the Human Rights (Scotland) Bill for the Scottish Government’s Consultation, as well as writing their own response. Here are their thoughts on what needs to change…
Why is the Human Rights Bill for Scotland so important for people with learning disabilities?
Sandy- I think the new Human Rights Bill for Scotland is really important because people with learning disabilities are still being discriminated against and this needs to change. People with learning disabilities might not know exactly what their human rights are so often they don’t realise they’re being discriminated against.
Leeanne- People with Learning Disabilities need to know about their human rights so we can understand what the Scottish Government should be doing for us. Everyone who has a learning disability needs different things and the new Human Rights Bill for Scotland should make sure we all get what we need.
People with learning disabilities need to know about their human rights so we can understand what the Scottish government should be doing for us. (Leeanne)
Why is it important to respond to the consultation?
Leeanne– It’s important that people with learning disabilities respond to the Consultation because not everyone listens to our needs or has experience of having a learning disability. We are here to tell you the full story and the experiences we have been through, and people need to listen to us, no questions asked.
Sandy– Human rights are for everyone equally, so it is really important to have as many people respond as possible, and to give everyone an equal opportunity to respond and to have a voice.
It might be someone’s first time thinking about their human rights, and they might not even realise how important the Consultation is. So, it’s also really important that the Scottish Government make the information as accessible as possible and take out the jargon.
It might be someone’s first time thinking about their human rights, and they might not even realise how important the Consultation is. So, it’s also really important that […] the information [is] as accessible as possible… (Sandy)
The Lived Experience Board has learned a lot about how the Scottish Government make policy and law decisions. Why is it important to share this knowledge with other people?
Sandy– It’s important to share this knowledge so everyone can understand how decisions are made and everyone can have a voice and an opinion in the process. Everyone’s opinions make a difference and it’s about treating everyone fairly.
Decision-making processes are a bit easier to understand these days because, sometimes there is Easy Read information. I think the Scottish Government have realised that the jargon that has been used for years doesn’t work for everyone. But it’s not until someone different comes to the table that people realise that there are people with other needs.
Leeanne– It is not always easy to understand because the information might be hard to understand and it is not always accessible to those who need it. So, I think it is important for the Lived Experienced Board to share the information we have learnt with other organizations, charities and more. This would help the world be a better place to live in.
[I]t’s not until someone different comes to the table that people realise that there are people with other needs. (Sandy)
What does the Lived Experience Board hope to achieve by writing a consultation response to the Scottish Government?
Leeanne– I think the members of the Lived Experienced Board are hoping that people read and listen to our own lived experiences of life with a learning disability.
Sandy– We know that the recommendations and opinions we give in the consultation response are valuable, so we hope that the Scottish Government consider making these commitments and changes in the new Human Rights Bill for Scotland.
Why is being part of the Lived Experience Board important to you?
Sandy– Being part of the Lived Experience Board has really meant a lot to me. It has made me more mature and aware of the human rights around me. I’m more aware of how to talk about human rights with other people too, and I understand if I’m being discriminated against or if something isn’t right. Being on the Board has given me the confidence to stand up for myself and to work to stamp out discrimination for people with learning disabilities.
Leeanne– I think being a member of the Lived Experience Board is important because it is vastly important to get everyone who has a learning disability’s voice heard.
Leeanne Clark and Sandy Stark
SCLD Lived Experience Board