Human Rights and People with Special Needs

The IFLA Section for Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN) welcomes this new FAIFE blog on the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. For many years now, our section has been considering library services for people with special needs a human rights issue. Our work and publications reflect that approach by frequently referring to the UDHR as well as to subsequent human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the UN Sustainable Goals.

Many people who are disabled and/or live in vulnerable conditions face discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis. Their human rights are often threatened and/or violated, including the right to access public services and institutions, such as libraries, on an equal basis with others. Considering this fact, LSN recently published Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness demand that libraries respect the human rights of everyone to information, education and cultural participation.

Consequently, libraries should take any measures to ensure that they do not discriminate and that barriers to access to their services are lowered or removed. Following a human rights-based approach also includes that libraries respect people experiencing homelessness as experts on their own behalf, and work together with them to create appropriate services and effective programs for them.

The LSN Section is convinced that a human rights-based approach to library services can help strengthen the rights of all library users, including people with special needs, and improve their lives in concrete ways. Furthermore, such an approach can strengthen the public perception of libraries as important partners in the process of implementing universal human rights at home.

IFLA and LSN strongly support the UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals   which are explicitly grounded in international human rights law.   Libraries  have and will continue to  demonstrate that they are helping to make the core mission of the UN 2030 Agenda — “Leave No One Behind” — a reality.

IFLA Section for Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN)

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