RI Global September Newsletter: Countdown to Edinburgh

9 September 2016
September Newsletter: Countdown to Edinburgh
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September 2106 Newsletter 2016: Countdown to the World Congress!

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is situated at the heart of Scotland’s elegant and historic capital city. As one of the world’s outstanding conference venues, it will add to the energised and inclusive atmosphere at RI World Congress 2016.

250 Spots Left for Action-Packed World Congress

HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal to attend, as well as leaders from all over the UK and the world

Nearly 32 years ago, the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) was not even on the agenda of the United Nations, the U.S. had not come close to creating an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Paralympian track stars lacked their aerodynamic limbs. But as Rehabilitation International (RI Global) gathered for its 15th World Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, President Harry S. Fang expressed hope for large-scale change in the coming decades. He had reason. RI Global had published its Charter for the 80s in seven languages to great acclaim; the UN had used it as a blueprint for its World Program of Action for the Decade of Disabled Persons; and countless countries had looked to that framework as the basis for their national programs.
Since then, RI Global has convened eight World Congresses and helped push for the ADA, which just celebrated 25 years, and the CRPD, which just finished 10 years on the UN books. Following the wishes of Fang, which he articulated before the assembly in Lisbon, RI Global has also spent the past few years developing a “more effective structure for the harmonization of international cooperation in our field.” Although, as Fang – one of the most active RI Global presidents – put it, “each organization that is working for international cooperation… has its own reasons for doing so, has its own priorities and has its own method of work,” RI Global has, for 94 years, tried to coordinate those rhymes and reasons and brought the movement forward.
From 21-27 October, RI Global, its partners, affiliates and friends will once again meet in Edinburgh, Scotland for a promising Congress on topics ranging from Return to Work to independent living to international travel for PwDs. With more than 750 influential disability experts already registered from 58 countries, this 23rd Rehabilitation International World Congress is shaping up to be one of the most important events of 2016. In addition to the panelists and discussion, attendees will hear from such leaders as Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, UK and Princess Anne, Princess Royal who will serve as the Royal Patron of the 23rd RI World Congress.
The facilitators of the 23rd RI World Congress have released the schedule of venues for meetings and the plenary session taking place in Edinburgh and added links to the website for a full view of all the activities. There are eight weeks to go and 250 spots left.

Click here for the full conference programme.

Lots has changed in RI Global’s third generation of existence, as reflected in the Presidential greetings from the Governor of Hong Kong and the Czechsolvak Socialist Republic in the back of the 1984 World Congress program, but even Ronald Reagan, then president of the United States, noted that “the progress we have made is a tribute to the courage and determination of our disabled people.” If you truly believe in creating a more inclusive world for all, come to Edinburgh.

RI GLOBAL AT THE UN/Across the World

RI Global’s Paralympic Update

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games kicked last tonight at Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium, best known for hosting football and last month’s Olympic Opening Ceremony. More than 4,000 athletes, representing over 160 teams, paraded along two stages at the Maracana during the Ceremony, but Ibrahim Al Hussein, a Syrian refugee who will compete as part of the Independent Paralympic Athletes (IPA) Team at the Games led the parade. Highlights of the Ceremony, whose theme wass “Every Body Has A Heart” – reflecting on the human condition, feelings, difficulties, solidarity and love – included the lighting of the Paralympic cauldron with a flame travelled across all five regions of Brazil over seven days, with 500 torchbearers taking part; and the live creation of a work of art by Muniz, which used 500 plates to form a gigantic mosaic.
Some of the stars to watch span the globe and sport; they include Iraq War vets turned triathletes to teenage sprinters battling cerebral palsy:
  • Daniel Dias (Brazil), Swimming: They call him Brazil’s Michael Phelps. At the 2008 Games in Beijing he won nine medals – more than any other athlete – and at London 2012 he added six more Paralympic golds and set four world records. Dias was born with malformed upper and lower limbs, and began swimming at the age of 16.
  • Melissa Stockwell (United States), Triathlon: The former US Army first lieutenant is among the favorites in the PT2 class as the Triathon debuts in Rio. She made her Paralympic debut in 2008 as a swimmer and carried the flag at the Beijing closing ceremony. Stockwell lost her left leg in an IED attack in Iraq.
  • Fernando Aranha (Brazil), Triathlon: Aranha has taken a rather unusual route to Rio. The Brazilian competed in cross-country skiing at the Winter Paralympics two years ago in Sochi as a tune up for the triathlon. To win triathlon honors, athletes of both genders must swim 750 meters, cycle for 20 kilometers and run a 5K, wheelchairs optional.
  • Alex Zanardi (Italy), Cycling: Although he turns 50 this year, Zanardi is out to defend his road race and time trial titles in hand cycling’s H4 class in Rio. Zanardi had a need for speed early on, as one of the most popular racing drivers before a crash in Germany cost him his legs below the knee. Doctors treating him said he should never have survived.
  • Zahra Nemati (Iran), Archery: Her recurve gold in London made her Iran’s first female Paralympic or Olympic champion and the 31-year-old is the reigning women’s recurve champion in the W1/W2 class for athletes competing in a wheelchair. Nemati, who suffered spinal injuries in a car crash is a UN ambassador for women in sport.
  • Jayson Smyth (Ireland), Athletics: Anything Usain Bolt can do, Jason Smyth can do. The Irishman is the fastest Paralympian on earth and, just like the Jamaican, he is going for a remarkable sprint clean-sweep in Rio. The 29-year-old, who is legally blind holds the world record of 10.43 seconds over 100m and aims to add the 100 and 200-meter titles to those he won in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
For more on how to watch, follow and stream, click here.

Upcoming UNITED NATIONS and Other Conferences

UN Refugee Summit to convene at UN Headquarters in New York

Although the international normative framework has broadly recognized the importance of addressing the needs of persons with disabilities in human rights and development, it has historically overlooked the disabled people in the context of migration, including refugees with disabilities. On 19 September the UN General Assembly will convene a High-level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants. Prior to the high-level meeting, on 16 September, DESA, the Government of Japan, the Women’s Refugee Commission and other stakeholders have organized an event for actors in the humanitarian field to share experiences, strategies and lessons learned from pursuing integrated responses to women and girls with disabilities in displacement.

Countdown to HABITAT III

HABITAT III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will be held in Quito, Ecuador from 17 to 20 October 2016. At the Conference, Governments are expected to adopt the New Urban Agenda that will guide the sustainable and inclusive development of the world’s cities for next 20 years. The informal Global Network on Accessible and Disability Inclusive Urban Development, a multi-stakeholder network of policy-makers in Government and disability rights advocates continue their concerted efforts to include disability in all Habitat III processes, including in the draft text of the New Urban Agenda. The Agenda is currently under negotiation and will be further negotiated by Member States at an informal intergovernmental meeting in New York from 7 to 9 September, before being presented at Habitat III for adoption.
          DESA – High-level forum on disability-inclusion and accessible urban development: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MIDUVI) in collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, (GAATES), Rehabilitation International, Disabled People’s International, Essl Foundation and The Nippon Foundation will convene a high-level forum on disability-inclusion and accessible urban development in Quito on 16 October, a day prior to the opening of HABITAT III. Participants at the Forum will include Governments, UN agencies and urban policy-makers and practitioners. The Forum will work to ensure that the New Urban Agenda will be fully inclusive of and accessible to all, particularly to persons with disabilities. It will also facilitate an exchange of practical and technical expertise, as well as call for commitments for action to further advance the creation of inclusive cities for all.
         DESA – Publication on Good practices of accessible urban development:For HABITAT III and the imminent launch of the New Urban Agenda, DESA in collaboration with the Essl Foundation (Zero Project), have prepared a new publication entitled: Good practices of accessible urban development. The publication provides case studies of innovative practices and policies in urban services, as well as strategies and innovations for promoting accessible urban development.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 December: RI Global Secretariat, New York
Taking place every year on 3 December, the International Day or Disabled Persons (IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The theme for IDPD 2016 is Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. The IDPD will also feature:
UN Enable Photo Exhibition
In light of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention, this year the photo exhibit, The CRPD and you, will highlight the positive ways in which the Convention has impacted the lives of people around the world. Deadline for submitting photographs: 31 October.
UN Enable Film Festival
The Festival presents short disability-related films selected on the basis of their content and message that can help raise awareness of disability issues to promote the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society. Deadline for submitting films: 20 November.
Share an IDPD event on the UN Enable website
Let the UN know about IDPD 2016 events in international communities for the UN Enable website. (enable@un.org; max. 50 words)
Plan International has a new report on protecting children with disabilities. 


Accessible Product Guide for Home Improvement

Steven Winter Associates, Inc., a sustainability and accessibility consulting firm, has launched the Accessible Product Guide, an innovative online tool to help architects, builders, developers, and homeowners find products that enhance the accessibility and usability of spaces. The guide contains products for commercial, residential, and retail projects, and features a wide range of categories, including door hardware, drinking fountains, faucets, pools, ramps, lavatories, and more. The guide currently features eleven vendors, including Access-Able Designs, Inc., American Standard, Bobrick, Elkay, TOTO, and Trending Accessibility. The interactive platform is free to the public; and allows users to sign up, track interests, review products, and inquire about products directly from vendor sites. For more information, visithttp://www.swinter.com

Bloomberg Becomes WHO Global Ambassador

In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) named Michael R. Bloomberg, former three-term Mayor of the City of New York and international philanthropist, as Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). In his new role, Bloomberg will work with national and local political leaders around the globe to highlight the burden of NCDs and injuries. He will also help mobilize national and city level political leaders, donors and the private sector to prevent and treat the NCD epidemic and combat injuries. NCDs and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year – almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide. Each year, 16 million people die from NCDs before the age of 70.

New publications on violence/discrimination against children, women with disabilities

Plan International has released new research on violence against children with disabilities and their access to protection. The study, Protect us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection – conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – documents the extremely high levels of school-based violence against children with disabilities and identifies important barriers within the child protection system that stop children with disabilities from reporting violence. It was.
          Human Rights Watch (HRW) also issued a new report that examines the lives of children with disabilities in Serbia who are placed in State institutions. HRW has found that health professionals often advise parents to place their child with a disability in an institution, stating reasons such as poverty, stigma, discrimination, and the lack of access to health care and support services in the community.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has found that States too often fail to uphold their obligations with regard to women and girls with disabilities, treating them or allowing them to be treated as helpless objects of pity, instead of empowering them to enjoy their fundamental human rights and freedoms. To address this, the Committee has issued a General Comment for the 166 States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on how they can promote the empowerment of women with disabilities, as expressly set out in Article 6. Read more about the General Comment.

China plans to establish university for disability rehabilitation

The government of China has announced that it will establish a dedicated university to train specialists in disability rehabilitation in the next five years, according to a state official. Establishing a university for disability rehabilitation had already been included in the country’s 13th Five-year Plan, but Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) expressed hope that building could “begin as soon as possible with the support from society and government departments.”
Rehabilitation currently provided in the country is far from enough to satisfy the demands of persons with disabilities, said Zhang, the incoming president of Rehabilitation International. Among the 26 million-plus people who hold national disability certificates, less than 30 percent received rehabilitation therapy in 2015, Zhang said, adding rehabilitation centers still have spotty service. “The main problem lies in the lack of specialists in disability rehabilitation,” she noted, adding only about 70 schools offer education in rehabilitative medicine across the country, with at most 8,000 people trained each year. China is home to 85 million persons with disabilities, with more than 70 percent living in the countryside. China has pledged to improve and standardize public services in disability prevention, rehabilitation, education, as well as cultural and sports activities to boost efficiency and quality of services, according to a plan for disability-related development released by the State Council on August 17.

‘Through My Lens’ movement helps people with disabilities create films

Advanced technologies in many areas have helped people with disabilities live more productive lives. Two men want to teach them how to use some of those same innovations to now document those lives. Reid Davenport, a documentarian, and Dan Lee, a disability activist, recently launched “Through my Lens” to bring awareness to the general public about disabilities by encouraging filmmakers with disabilities and non-disabled filmmakers to create films from the perspective of disabled men and women. In order to produce a pilot show of films created, the duo, which has gained prominent media attention from NPR, BBC and the Washington Post, recently started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000. Contributions go towards travel costs, equipment for students and production help to shoot a pilot at a school or university during the winter/spring semester of 2017. To learn more about Through my Lens, visit: https://goo.gl/C2C2Kt
Shaw Trust might be most known for its charity shoppes, but it has a hand in most of the equality initiatives in the UK. The Trust is RI Global’s partner in the 2016 World Congress. 


Shaw Trust keeps growing to meet needs of disabled

When Matt Dodds first came to the Shaw Trust St. Albans Centre his head was down; he wanted to work but had low confidence and “wouldn’t say boo to a goose,” as he said. His learning difficulties, including dyslexia, ADHD and short-term memory loss, had taken over his life and he couldn’t find job suited to him. Shaw Trust took him in and found him a suitable role in the community, then helped Dodds reach his biggest goal: representing Great Britain at the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles. He came back with a gold medal.
“Matt Dodds is a true example of why Shaw Trust exists,” said Shaw Trust Chief Executive, Roy O’Shaughnessy. “We empowered Matt to fulfil his potential, find a job he loves and even represent his country at the Special Olympics. He is now a happier, healthier young man with a bright future.”
Each year, Shaw Trust, one of the UK’s most celebrated and recognized charities, works with 50,000 marginalised people to overcome barriers. In addition to its omnipresent network of charity retail shops, Shaw Trust – Rehabilitation International’s partner in the UK and co-sponsor of the RI World Congress from 21-27 October – oversees skills training and apprenticeship initiatives through its STAR college, re-entry for offenders though its partnership with the UK Ministry of Justice, mental health and wellbeing programs, and community-led-social enterprise projects. The Trust puts and profits generated from its programs toward further social investment.
Shaw Trust formed in 1982 in the village of Shaw in Wiltshire to support local disabled people to find employment. Since then, it has innovated across a number of fronts and despite Brexit, future plans include: establishing more multi-disciplinary hubs to offer clients a one-stop shop for their health, welfare and employment needs; enhancing the chain of charity retail shops to serve as examples of Shaw Trust in the communities they serve; and extending the network of Shaw Education Trust’s schools.
In solidarity with the UN Year of Accessible Tourism, the Soarway Foundation is sponsoring the first the Wounded Heroes Trek, a customized program for physically disabled individuals that focuses on trekking and sightseeing in Nepal


Wounded Heroes Trek to Nepal is to encourage “Tourism for All” 

In solidarity with the UN Year of Accessible Tourism, the Soarway Foundation, in partnership with the International Development Institute, is sponsoring the first the Wounded Heroes Trek, a customized program for physically disabled individuals including athletes and/or wounded warriors that focuses on trekking and sightseeing in Nepal with the help of experienced trekkers and guides. This trek will not only be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the participants, but it will also help us to shift attitudes in Nepal where currently a half million Nepalis with disabilities face a profoundly difficult future. A breakthrough in accessible tourism, the Trek also aims to open a new sub tourism sector in Nepal and around the world, as well as generate social awareness and build corporate social responsibilities in the hotel, restaurant, transportation, airport and other travel industries. To sponsor or find out more about the Trek, which takes place in mid-September, visit the Soarway Foundation.

Calling accessible Conference technology providers for Zero Conference

The annual Zero Project Conference, an international gathering and a platform of exchange for new ideas concerning the lives of people with disabilities, is looking for conference technology providers the opportunity to showcase their products and services such as: captioning, text to speech, speech to text-technologies, sign language interpretation orientation and information systems, language translation, remote participation, easy language translation, booking, connecting and networking, presentation and sharing platforms. Interested parties should provide brief information about their accessible conference technology products and services to w.kainz@zeroproject.org by 18 September 2016.

Nominations for 2016 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards

Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards recognize leaders who have helped improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities in all areas of community life, including employment. The international Awards, first bestowed in 2013, also recognize exemplary leaders within the disability community and their extraordinary societal contributions, while remembering the spirit and legacy of The Viscardi Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., a disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents. This year’s Awards Selection Committee is co-chaired by Robert Dole, former U.S. Senator, and Sherwood D. Goldberg, Esq. (Col. Ret) Senior Advisor for Asian Affairs Center for Naval Analysis. Complete list of the 2016 Selection Committee. Submit nominations online by September 30, 2016 at 5 pm EST.

Call for nominations for the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 

The call for nominations for the 2016/17 edition of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is now open. The aim of the Prize is to reward the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that promote the enhancement of the lives of persons with disabilities through the effective, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions.  Nominations can be endorsed and proposed by Ministries in charge of relations with UNESCO, National Commissions for UNESCO and Non-governmental organizations having official relations with UNESCO. The total amount available for the Prize biennially is USD40,000, distributed equally between the individual and organizational winners. Deadline is 15 September 2016.

EASPD 20th anniversary conference

From 19 to 21 October 2016, the European Association of Service (EASPD) providers for Persons with Disabilities celebrates its 20th anniversary in Brussels, Belgium. Under the slogan “Join the Trip! 20 Years on the Road”, EASPD providers will continue discussions on the importance of constantly evolving and adapting to pave the way to inclusion, as well as honor the 10 years since the adoption of the United Nations CRPD. The EASPD represents more than 12,000 support services for Persons with Disabilities across Europe. For any information on the conference, please visit the conference page or contact anniversary@easpd.eu.
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