ratifynow.org

The Rights of Disabled People

Latest News

Disability Rights Fund Receives $1.3 Million from DFID

By MSW | February 28, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Disability Rights Fund Receives $1.3 Million from DFID

December 3, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, MA – On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) is happy to announce receipt of a grant of £868,000 ($1.3 million) from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). This grant will support expanded grantmaking in 2009 to disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) in the Global South.

“With the present economic downturn, this donation is an incredible message of support,” stated DRF’s Director Diana Samarasan. “It underscores the commitment of the British government to a rights-based approach to disability.”

Utilizing the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), DRF supports the human rights advocacy of DPOs in the Global South and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. Through its unique governance structure, the Fund is a partnership between donors and the worldwide disability community. A global advisory panel provides recommendations on grantmaking strategies; and panel representatives also serve on the Fund’s grantmaking decision body together with donors. Panel members come from five continents and reflect a broad cross-section of the disability community,

DFID representatives stated, “it is essential that efforts like the Disability Rights Fund continue their support of communities often unreached by more conventional development efforts. DRF represents a unique model of supporting community-led efforts to institute rights.”

DRF’s first grants decisions, announced in November 2008, resulted in a total of $800,000 in grants to 33 organizations in seven countries. Grantees include a Ugandan organization of lawyers with disabilities, an emergent Peruvian group of people with psycho-social disabilities, and a grassroots network in Bangladesh of women-led disabled persons’ organizations. For a full list of grantees and more information about DRF.

Other donors to DRF include: an anonymous founding donor, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Open Society Institute, and the American Jewish World Service.

Readers who have not already done so may wish to explore see the resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website for an extensive collection of resources related to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); fund raising sources; and toolkits that can help organizations learn how to raise funds more effectively.

How Was the CRPD Born? Share Your Story

By MSW | February 21, 2009

Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Limited time and resources make it impossible for UNIHP staff to conduct oral history interviews with all those who may have served the United Nations as staff members, consultants, researchers, diplomats or chairs of commissions. However, anyone who has participated in UN development activities over the years, and who has a particular story to contribute about the nexus of development ideas, international public policy, and multilateral institutions, is welcome to send us a short, written contribution.

We have set out below some of the questions, about which it would be most useful to receive your own ideas and experiences.

We ask that you send a brief note, 5 to 10 pages, by email, or by fax or mail to the project’s New York headquarters.

Please note that by sending your contribution to the project you agree to vest with the United Nations Intellectual History Project. This agreement will allow the project to quote directly from your note if it is used in project publications, although it will license you to copy, publish or otherwise use the note for your own purposes.

As the aim of the project is to better understand the UN’s contribution to global economic and social policy and to development discourse and practice, we examine the sources, evolution, and implementation of economic and social ideas generated or promoted by the UN. With this in mind, we ask that your note address the following questions as they relate to your own experience at the UN:

  1. Please briefly describe the nature of your affiliation with the UN, positions held, and dates.
  2. Could you identify one or two of the most original development ideas that you worked on, or were aware of, during your experience with the UN?
  3. Where did this idea originate? Did it come from
  4. Intellectual leadership of particular individuals, within or outside UN secretariats?
  5. Eminent commissions?
  6. Ad hoc global conferences?
  7. Expert groups?
  8. Academics?
  9. NGOs?
  10. How did this idea develop? What were the debates about it? Was it promoted, distorted, abandoned, or implemented? Some possible factors to consider that may have impacted on it are:
  11. Global or regional events
  12. Tensions within and among diplomatic coalitions, i.e. North-South relations within the UN during the Cold War and after; East and West; within “like-minded”; within the least developed.
  13. Institutional rivalries or coalitions, including tensions between the UN and the Bretton Woods institutions
  14. Quality of the international civil service, including its leadership
  15. In your view, did this idea make a difference?
  16. Did it change international public policy discourse?
  17. Did it provide a guide to national policy and action?
  18. Did it alterprospects for forming new coalitions of political or institutional forces?
  19. Did it become embedded in institutions?

Albanian Disability Rights Foundation to Monitor Disability National Strategy

By MSW | February 14, 2009

For Immediate Release

October 23rd, 2008

Albanian Disability Rights Foundation organized on October 23rd, 2008 at the Rogner EuropaPark Hotel, a National Conference to announce to the Public the Report on the Implementation by the Albanian Government of the National Action Plan of the National Strategy on People with Disability (NSPD). This is the second in the series of the monitoring reports for NSPD and it includes the progress made during 2005-2007 by focusing on the status of progress in 2007.

Participants in the Conference Deputy Prime Minister, Genc Pollo, Minister of Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Anastas Duro, USAID Mission Director, Roberta Mahoney, Executive Director of the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation, Blerta Cani, and other representatives from governmental and nongovernmental institutions who spoke in the Conference presented facts and findings that came out in the monitoring process.

The data for the monitoring report were mainly collected through six-region surveys with participants from Tirane, Shkoder, Durres, Vlore, Elbasan and Korce. The survey was conducted with participation of 113 government officials at the central, regional and local level, who provided official information on the status of progress on the measure assigned to their office, as well as representatives of four national disability nongovernmental organizations. 954 participant’s people with disabilities and family members from the same six regions were also asked to evaluate the situation in the country in regards to the five areas of the National Action Plan – Accessibility, Services(Health care and Social Services); Education, Employment and Vocational Training, Capacity Building and Legislation through a quantitative-qualitative survey.

The Report acknowledges the increased awareness of the Albanian Government, its engagement in taking more responsibilities for improvement of disability legal and policy framework in Albania.

Still, findings from the monitoring process revealed unrealized tasks in all the five areas of the action plan of the National Strategy on People with Disability. An analysis of all the findings revealed that there has been no progress at all in 41% of the total measures, only two measures have been completed on schedule, this means that the implementation has been delayed for 98% of the measures the National Action Plan.

As a consequence, half of people with disabilities and their families participating in the survey (51.8%) consider their financial situation to be poor; the communities where people with disabilities live continue to be inaccessible to them, 4,534 children with special needs between ages of 6-18 do not receive any form of education; People with disabilities and their family members gave opportunities for employment and vocational training a failing grade. The participants strongly believe that they are not considered as equal partners in the relevant decision making process at the local, regional and central level. They believe that majority of 102,945 officially recognized people with disabilities, are not treated as equal citizens, and they are discriminated against in many fields of life.

The NSPD was written to address the most basic needs of people with disabilities in Albania. The failure of the state agencies to realize the tasks according to the scheduled timelines indicates that work to promote awareness and accountability needs to be enhanced at all levels.

Constant monitoring of the national disability strategy by civil society tends to hold the Albanian government accountable, increase the responsibility and engagement of responsible governmental and non-governmental agencies to place disability in the agenda of the reforms, by challenging exclusion and promoting an all inclusive society.

Efforts of ADRF to monitor implementation of the National Strategy for People with Disability were enabled through financial support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the program of “Promoting the Human Rights for people with Disability in Albania.

Albanian Disability Rights Foundation is an Albanian non-governmental organization that has advocated for the human rights and people with disabilities since 1996. The ADRF empowers individuals with disabilities and their family member, provides technical and policy-level advice regarding human rights, and raises public awareness concerning disabilities.

Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

Funding Opportunity for CRPD Advocacy

By MSW | February 7, 2009

Are you a disability rights advocate working in a developing country? Is your organization trying to persuade your country’s government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Or, has your country already ratified the CRPD–and you are now working on making sure the CRPD is fully implemented, so that all people with disabilities in your country have their rights respected and protected? Do you need funding support?

The grantmaking foundation, Open Society Institute, has now established the Disability Rights Initiative that supports the efforts of disability rights advocates working on ratification and implementation of the CRPD around the world. The initiative gives priority to efforts promoting the rights of people with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities. However, OSI is willing to support a range of programs and projects that advance the CRPD.

This is an on-going funding opportunity.

Advocates working on issues related to implementing the CRPD in developing countries will also want to keep checking the Disability Rights Fund web site for announcements of future, additional funding opportunities there. The application deadline for their first round of grants passed in August 2008, but they will be offering more funding grants to more countries in the future. Also check the resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website for links to more possible funding sources in general.

Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

Comparing International Disability Laws: Bibliographic Web Resource

By MSW | January 31, 2009

Until recent years, disability rights advocates, human rights lawyers, and other people who share an interest in comparing national and international laws related to people with disabilities faced challenges in finding the information they needed. But the task of looking up exactly what laws, constitutions, and international treaties say about people with disabilities around the world has become a little easier in the past few years.  This will be a help for people working to help countries implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Countries that ratify the CRPD must make their laws consistent with the human rights protections it provides to people with disabilities.

One more resource has been launched: The Syracuse University College of Law Disability Law and Policy Program, in conjunction with the H. Douglas Barclay Law Library, has developed a comprehensive bibliographic web resource on International and Comparative Disability Law.

People interested in issues related to disability, laws, and policies in general can find more relevant resources at the new collection of resource links at the Disability Rights Fund web site.

Also see an article at the We Can Do blog on the topic of researching laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and legal case summaries related to people with disabilities around the world: RESOURCES: Finding Disability-Related Laws and Policies.

A slightly modified version of this article has also been posted at the We Can Do blog.

Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

Disabled People in China Continue to Face Discrimination

By MSW | January 24, 2009

China has made progress in confronting discrimination toward people with disabilities–but significant problems remain, Human Rights Watch recently told the media. Human Rights Watch is a major international organization that monitors the status of human rights around the world.

Sophie Richardson, a representative of Human Rights Watch, praised China for creating laws that protect people with disabilities and for ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). But the Human Rights Watch website reports her as saying, “So far these protections have meant little to persons with disabilities and their advocates in China who struggle to promote their rights and, in particular, to fairly compete for employment.”

Also according to the Human Rights Watch website, their organization has called upon the Chinese government to ratify the Optional Protocol that accompanies the CRPD. The Optional Protocol can help strengthen the CRPD by giving citizens the option of pursuing justice at the international level if they are unable to address human rights abuses domestically. The Human Rights Watch also has called on China to remove restrictions that make it harder for grassroots organizations to help people with disabilities.

Read the full story on what Human Rights Watch says about the human rights situation for people with disabilities in China.

Learn more about the CRPD by reading the RatifyNow FAQ; or learn more about the Optional Protocol.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

A slightly modified version of this article also has been posted at the We Can Do blog.

Disability Rights Fund Makes Grants to 33 Organizations

By MSW | January 21, 2009

PRESS RELEASE

Disability Rights Fund Makes Grants to 33 Organizations in 7 Countries

November 3, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, MA – The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) – a groundbreaking collaborative to support the human rights of people with disabilities around the world– today announced funding decisions from its first request for proposals. A total of $800,000 will be gifted to 33 organizations in seven countries. The grants will support work to raise awareness about the rights of people with disabilities, build coalitions and networks, and develop advocacy and monitoring activities, in connection with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

DRF grantees share the goal of advancing the rights of people with disabilities at the country-level. Recipients include:

  • A Ugandan organization of lawyers with disabilities.
  • An emergent Peruvian group of people with psycho-social disabilities.
  • A grassroots network in Bangladesh of women-led disabled persons’ organizations.

The full grantee list is posted on the DRF website, and is available upon request.

“As the disability rights movement gains new impetus through the UN Convention we are delighted to play our part by placing new funding in the hands of DPOs to enable them to advance rights at country level,” stated DRF Co-Chair, William Rowland. DRF Director, Diana Samarasan, added “It is an auspicious day to put money in the hands of organizations run by people with disabilities. The first Conference of States Parties to the Convention is being held at the UN; the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being elected. The work of translating the Convention from paper to practice is before us.”

Grantees were selected after a rigorous review process which included review by DRF’s Steering Committee, a committee composed of donor representatives and people with disabilities from the Global South.

DRF’s donors include: an anonymous founding donor, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Open Society Institute, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the American Jewish World Service.

A grantee list can be requested from DRF by writing to mail. Or you can consult the Grantee web page at the Disability Rights Fund website.

Readers may also wish to consult the Disability Rights Fund website to learn about upcoming funding opportunities from their organization for projects to promote the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Readers may also wish to consult their extensive resource listings to find resources that can help them learn how to raise funds, find funding sources, and use the CRPD to promote the human rights of people with disabilities in their country.

Raising Funds from Foundations New to Disability

By MSW | January 17, 2009

If you work with a Disabled People’s Organization (DPO), chances are, your organization never has enough cash. And foundations that specialize in supporting DPOs are hard to find.  That can make it a challenge to find funding support for projects related to implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Often, the answer is to look for funding from foundations that do not necessarily advertise themselves as having a disability focus. But if the funder has limited prior experience with supporting projects run by DPOs, or otherwise targeted at the disability community, then your worry becomes, How do you convince them that your project is exactly the kind of project they’re seeking to support? How do you overcome any misconceptions they might have about the true needs of people with disabilities or their relevance to the kinds of projects they normally support?

Fundseekers wrestling with these kinds of questions can turn to a 2-page handout from the Disability Funders Network entitled “Bridging the Knowledge Gap: Working with Foundations to Attract Disability Funding” (PDF format, 110 Kb) for some of their answers.

This guide is targeted at DPOs in the United States, but many of the broad principles are applicable anywhere. For example, some foundations support projects targeted at “diverse” or “vulnerable” communities. This means it can be helpful to make the case for why disability fits in perfectly with their desire to be supportive of diversity. Also, foundations usually value demographic statistics about the community that a project is meant to support. (For example, how many people with disabilities are there in the area where you want to do your project?)

And also be sure to read Disability Funder’s “Recommendations for Grantseekers“; some of the advice is similar, but with added nuances.

Having trouble finding the statistics you need to write a stronger grant proposal? Browse some articles listed under “Tips and Leads for how to find more Academic Research, Papers, and Statistics.”  Some of the linked articles  may help point you to sources for various kinds of data, research, and other documented information.

Looking for more resources related to fund raising? Try the Resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website.  Of course you also should monitor the main page of the Disability Rights Funds website for future funding opportunities there.

Also find more resources like this one at the Disability Funders Network website.

Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

A slightly modified version of this article has also been posted at the We Can Do blog and is re-posted with permission of author.

African Decade of Persons with Disabilities Extended to 2019

By MSW | January 14, 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT:

AFRICAN DECADE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 2019

  1. CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD NEWS!

We are ecstatic!

This is to announce that the African Union (AU) Continental Decade of Persons with Disabilities has been extended to December 2019.

The Windhoek Declaration on Social Development adopted by Ministers in Charge of Social Development on 31 October 2008, adopted Resolution 6, which reads as follows:

‘6. ADOPT the extension of the Continental Decade of Persons with Disabilities for the period 2010-2019; CALL for the evaluation of the existing Decade and its Plan of Action (1999-2009) and the speedy conclusion of the evaluation and restructuring of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI)’

In addition to the resolution extending the Decade, the Windhoek Declaration also adopted resolution 5(x) which reads as follows:

‘5. Further commit ourselves to implement the priority strategies under the key thematic social issues spelt out in the Social Policy Framework for Africa, through the following:

(x) Empowering and providing persons with disabilities with equal opportunities, safeguarding their rights and enlisting their participation and mainstreaming them in all development programmes’

The new Social Development Policy adopted by the Ministers in Windhoek Namibia has detailed coverage of disability work. We encourage organisations to get a copy of this policy and apply its contents in your programming processes.

We would like to thank all organisations (notably Pan African Federation Of the Disabled (PAFOD), African Union of the Blind (AFUB), and others), Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) Staff and leaders, Panel of Experts/Parliamentarians, Pan African Parliament, African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI), the African Union Social Affairs Commission, our Development Partners (Disabled Persons Organizations Denmark [DPOD], Sida, UK Department for International Development [DFID], and Southern Africa Trust), Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and those that supported our down-line networks and DPOs for their support during the first Decade and the campaign towards extension.

We look forward to hard work during the next ten years. We now have the benefit of learning from the mistakes that we made and the experience of managing an initiative of this nature.

  1. MORE INFORMATION ON THE FIRST DECADE

The African Union declared the first decade of the new millennium (1999-2009) as the African Decade for Persons with Disabilities. In 2001 the African Union’s Labour and Social Affairs Commission along with its African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) and the ILO held a meeting in Addis Ababa. In this meeting they designed a Continental Plan of Action (CPOA) to guide the member states of the African Union on how to implement the African Decade. The adoption of the African Decade of Disabled Persons (ADDP) placed responsibility on African States to implement Decade Programme activities.

With this declaration, the African Union adopted a Continental Plan of Action (CPOA) with twelve objectives that African States were to implement over the period.

The twelve objectives cover a wide range of themes that are of critical importance to improvement in the lives of persons with disabilities in Africa. These themes include ideas and strategies to:

  1. Formulate and implement national policies, programmes and legislation to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities.
  2. Promote the participation of persons with disabilities in the process of economic and social development
  3. Promote the self-representation of people with disabilities in all public decision-making structures.
  4. To enhance support services for disabled persons.
  5. Promote special measures for children, youth, women and elderly persons with disabilities.
  6. Ensure and improve access to rehabilitation, education, training, employment, sports, the cultural and physical environment.
  7. To promote and protect disability rights as human rights
  8. To support the development of and strengthen Disabled Persons’ Organizations
  9. Mobilize resources

These objectives where meant to be implemented by Africa States, with the cooperation of civil society organisations.

Prepared By:

Kudakwashe A.K. Dube, CEO

SADPD

This announcement is being circulated by The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD). Is worth exploring for anyone with an interest in human rights or social and economic development for people with disabilities in Africa.  This announcement was modified to spell out most of the acronyms.   Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol. Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

Mainstream Grantmaking and the Disability Rights Treaty

By MSW | January 10, 2009

Do people with disabilities need or deserve special attention from mainstream human rights organizations or grantmakers who don’t plan to specialize in their concerns? Is there a role for people with disabilities in mainstream human rights projects? How and why should people with disabilities be included in human rights campaigns that focus on other population groups such as women, ethnic minorities, or the poor? How can including people with disabilities help everyone in achieving human rights goals for all population groups? What role can grassroots organizations, and the funders that support them, play in this process?  In short: why should mainstream funders share an interest in funding projects related to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Organizations and grantmakers can both consult a pair of brochures that explain how and why non-governmental organizations and funders can and should take disability into account when planning or funding mainstream international human rights programs. They are entitled “Human Rights and Disability: Embracing a paradigm shift: A Funder Opportunity” and “Human Rights and Disability: Embracing a paradigm shift: An NGO Opportunity.” Each brochure is two pages long, and is available in both PDF format and Word format. They can be downloaded for free at:

These brochures are targeted at mainstream funders and organizations. Grassroots disability advocates could also use them in their outreach efforts to persuade organizations and funders of the need to be more inclusive of their concerns in mainstream human rights programs. Learn more about the CRPD and also about the accompanying Optional Protocol. Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.   A slightly modified version of this article has also been posted at the We Can Do blog with permission of author.