Maselina Iuta

16th December 2022

Human Rights Education Event Commemorates International Day of Persons With Disabilities

  • Human rights education

The world needs human rights education because we are not all born with the same access to rights.

Maselina luta

Maselina Iuta, Project Officer from the Deaf Association in Samoa, shared this insight during the seventh and final edition of the conversations series, Human Rights Education for, with and by youth: A conversation with young people around the world. On the theme "Promoting the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Through Human Rights Education," the event was organized by SGI, Amnesty International and OHCHR on 2 December 2022 to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It was held in English with live captioning and sign-language interpretation.

After showing a video of her work, Iuta, a proud young human rights educator and advocate for people with disabilities, shared her personal experience of growing up deaf, which inspired her to work with deaf young people in Samoa. “The experience I had [as a child] gave me the courage to stand up,” Iuta shared. “I do not want the future generation of people with disabilities to face the same that I experienced when I grew up.”

She shared the challenges she has seen while working with the Deaf Association in Samoa, as women and people with disabilities still face on average three times as much discrimination and stigma in all aspects of life, including within their families. For Iuta herself, learning about her rights as a person with disabilities drastically changed her life, and she wanted to share that knowledge with other people to empower them to stand up and advocate for their rights. “We have our disabilities, but we have feelings too, like anyone else,” she said. “Sometimes people involve us, but they do not listen to us.”

To conclude the event, Poka Kasipale then shared a dance performance with the support of Brown Girl Woke via video. Kasipale himself is hard of hearing and uses his performances as a way to demonstrate the exclusion and isolation that many members of the Deaf community in Samoa often experience. For example, they are sometimes excluded from conversations or social activities by members of the hearing community—even in their own families— who don’t want to do the “extra work” to include them. Sabina Carli of the Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the UN in Geneva also offered remarks to close the event.