GDRF Calls For Public Apology From Editor Of The New People Following Offensive Language

The Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation says it is “severely disheartened” by the offensive language used in an article published by the New People earlier this week. The GDRF says it has reported the matter to the Special Needs and Disability Coordination and Liaison Office at NO6.

A statement from the Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation follows below: 

The Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation is severely disheartened by the offensive language used in a recent article published by the NewsPaper the New People earlier this week.

While “mental retardation” was originally introduced as a medical term in 1961 for people with intellectual disabilities, in the decades since, the R-word has become an insult used all too commonly in everyday language (specialolympics.org). Those using this word should have more regard for the pain that it can cause to persons with disabilities and their families and the fact that the use of words like this continues to push persons with intellectual disabilities to the sidelines. 

The GDRF is fully aware that Gibraltar is for the most part wholly outdated in its legislation regarding Disabilities and that this might still create the illusion that the use of these terms will still be accepted in our Society, but the GDRF will lobby for the eradication of such language from our community. This is yet another example of why we must as a society progress into the 21st Century when it comes to Disability Rights, and do so quickly, with a closer implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons by Disabilities, intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Dignity and respect are imperative in relation to this statement. Such a Convention would hopefully eradicate the use of such derogatory and outdated terms, starting with the editors of this particular Newspaper, who should have opted for a more dignified and appropriate use of language. 

The GDRF has reported the matter to the newly formed Special Needs and Disability Coordination and Liaison Office at NO6 Convent Place and will await a reply. The GDRF also calls for the amendment of this article and a public apology from the editor of the New People to the Community of Gibraltar for the use of this word which has been received as an insult by persons with disabilities and their families.