Operationalizing Human Rights and Human Security Through a Dynamic Model of Health

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Mary Anne Burke


health equity, human rights, social inclusion


The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities challenges nations and the global community to address the long-standing, systemic discrimination and disenfranchisement experienced by disabled people throughout the world. This can be accomplished by understanding and paying attention to the dynamics linking human security and social inclusion. A healthy and secure society is one in which the needs of individuals are met and their contributions are encouraged and recognized. It upholds the value of diversity and recognizes that the extent to which every person realizes his or her unique potential, and the capacity of society to accommodate and honor that person's contribution, is the ultimate measure of health, both for the individual and for society. This paper draws on the Dynamic Model of Health  (Burke, Bach, Colman, McKie, & Ward Stewart, 2000) that roots health in the values of self-determination, equality, and democratization and in community processes that support social solidarity and inclusion as a framework for analyzing the existing situation of disabled peoples and the way forward. It presents work currently being undertaken in a project aimed at developing an "inclusive" Kyrgyzstan, drawing on work that operationalized the Dynamic Model of Health and the BIAS FREE Framework (Eichler & Burke, 2005; Burke & Eichler, 2006) in the context of disabled children. The paper calls into question the existing health and development model that perpetuates benefits for a few and leaves disabled peoples off the agenda. It argues that the logic of domination underlying all forms of discrimination and oppression is the same in all instances, although the types of discrimination are specific to a particular hierarchy –whether it is built on disability, gender, race, or other factors – and historical or cultural context. Understanding how to "get it right" for disabled peoples will point the way to improving human security more broadly. 
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