RI Global What’s On: June 2017 Newsletter, CoSP10, President Zhang At Belt And Road Conference


RI Global What’s On, June 2017
Inclusion in Implementation
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Participants of the tenth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, at the opening of the session. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

June 2017: CoSP 10 – Inclusion in Implementation 

RI Global pledges more help in CRPD implementation during CoSP10
The largest and most diverse international disability meeting in the world – the 10th annual Conference of States Parties (CoSP10) on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – took place at the United Nations in New York from 12-15 June, and Rehabilitation International had a full delegation in attendance The main theme of COSP10 was The Second Decade of the CRPD: Inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the implementation of the Convention, while attendees also tackled such themes as addressing the impact of multiple discrimination on PwDs and promoting PwDs participation for achieving the SDGs.RI Global co-hosted two-side events and spoke at several others. RI Global Secretary-General Venus Ilegan spoke at the UN DESA/DSPD forum,Harnessing the power of women and girls with disabilities for inclusive society and development, a standing-room only side-event focused on strategies to legitimize and capacitate women and girls with disabilities.

“Rehabilitation International has as its president a woman with disabilities. It has as its Secretary-General a woman with disabilities,” Ilagan said at the discussion. “But we have in our organization the lucky ones. And this is the very reason we are here today – to make sure women are included across the world.”

The second RI Global event, Assistive technology – a bridge to the society, held in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Welfare, laid out the ways in which assistive technology was often the first step among many to ensure people with disabilities benefitted from any development process. “People with disabilities are everywhere these days, thanks to assistive technologies, which offer a solution to most if not all of the challenges people with disabilities face in their lives,” said Chapal Khasnabis, a technical officer with the World Health Organization.

RI Global lastly formally participated in the Forum on Advancing Accessible and Inclusive Urban Development for all, during which Maria Diotallevi of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), described theDraft Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, which has been designed to prompt more national tourism administrations to include accessibility as a central tenet of all tourism infrastructure, products and services. Ilagan spoke about RI Global’s 23rd World Congress held in October 2016. “RI’s legacy project fundamentally changed Edinburgh’s approach to accessibility and inclusion; Visit Scotland has since used the RI platform to make all of its site accessible,” Ilagan said.

The Conference of States Parties is held each year to exchange experience and ideas for implementation of the Convention, adopted in December 2006 with the aim of promoting full equality and participation of persons with disabilities in society. For more about it, click here.

Zhang Haidi, President of Rehabilitation International (RI Global) speaking on disability rights and accessibility during the recent and much-watched Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. 
RI GLOBAL: Around the World
RI President Zhang Haidi addresses parallel session during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
14 May 2017 – Zhang Haidi, President of Rehabilitation International (RI Global) called for enhanced cooperation on disability rights and accessibility during the recent and much-watched Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.The Forum, held in Beijing from 14-15 May was the highest-level meeting of its kind since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013. At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, heads of state and government of 29 countries attended the forum which attracted 1,500 attendants, including representatives of more than 70 international organizations and 130 countries. Zhang was invited to the Forum representing both RI Global and the China Disabled Persons’ Federation.

Themed as “Promoting Inclusion, Sharing and Development for Persons with Disabilities”, Zhang called for more exchanges on disability among countries and regions along the Belt and Road, and stressed that RI Global would play a greater role in advancing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide. She brought up with four proposals: to establish a network consisting of universities and medical institutions to implement more rehabilitation projects; to spur the development and production of assistive devices and access to assistive technology; to provide more education and vocational training opportunities to persons with disabilities; and to continue to promote cultural exchange of persons with disabilities.

“Today, we need to encourage the spirit of love more than ever and provide more humanitarian care to persons with disabilities,” Zhang said. “It is my wish that everyone, no matter the children or the elderly, can live a healthy and happy life. I will spare no efforts to achieve this goal.”

RI GLOBAL: On the Agenda
High-Level Political Forum (HLPF): The theme of this year’s HLPF will beEradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world. The set of goals to be reviewed in depth include Goal 17, which strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
10-19 July, UN Headquarters, New York, NY3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf: Theconference will elaborate different themes on the occasion of plenary, section and board meetings: bilingual education, sign language in the families, deaf employees at employment market, communication without barriers, new IT revolution, and participation in the decision-making process.
8-10 November, Budapest, Hungary

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities(IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
3 December, UN Headquarters, New York, NY

“As disabled people have equal rights just as any others, they also have equal obligation to take part in the building of nation,” said Ram Prasad Dhungana, the president of the NRCD in Nepal. 

National Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled: Helping the Disabled Recover from Nepal’s Changing Landscape 
When the earthquake hit east of Kathmandu on 25 April and then an aftershock at noon on 12 the capital city suffered terrible casualties, but many relief agencies overlooked one section of the populace in the post-Earthquake aid and reconstruction: the disabled. The disaster rendered more than 10,000 people permanently disabled and 500 people with disabilities lost their lives. More lost their homes and their supporting family members. But one local agency snapped into action: the National Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled (NRCD) in Kathmandu. Under hazardous conditions, NRDC, led by its president, Ram Prasad Dhungana provided relief materials, temporary shelter, counseling services and rehabilitation for those not covered by traditional relief agencies.Two years later, the NRDC is still helping. Earlier this month, the local NGO donated equipment worth around Rs one million to people with physical disabilities and visual impairment. That including modern wheelchairs and tricycles, crutches and white canes. NRCD Nepal was formed 20 years ago to to promote and protect the rights of the PwDs and create conducive environment in which a disabled person can live a self-reliant and dignified life. Since opening in 1997, the NRDC has helped countless people with supplied and equipment and provided more than 2000 PwDs with self-employment grants to engage in such things as weaving, sewing, painting, and bee and goat keeping. “As disabled people have equal rights just as any others, they also have equal obligation,” Dhungana said. “It is their duty to take part in the building of nation.” Still, the world continues, in a place where “inclusion is much talked; little practiced,” he added. Until then, the NRDC is committed to keep translating policy into practice.


Beirut restaurant launches first Braille menu in Lebanon
Beirut-based restaurant Casper & Gambini’s has launched a Braille menu to aid diners who are blind or have low vision to make orders independently – the first of its kind for a restaurant in Lebanon. The menu was created with the support of the Lebanese Society of the Blind and Deaf (LSBD) – an organization working to promote social and economic inclusion for the disabled. The Braille Menu was first launched at Casper & Gambini’s Egypt location, in collaboration with the NGO, Helm. “We hope other restaurants follow and take it even further,” said Rina Moussa, a spokesperson for Casper & Gambini, a regional chain of bistros.All-terrain wheelchairs help PwDs in developing countries
While visiting Tanzania in 2005, MIT Assistant Professor Amos Winter discovered that dirt roads or undeveloped terrain kept many persons with disabilities close to home. Using the gears of a mountain bike, while adding a third wheel and a lever system – as well as all-terrain tires – he invented the Freedom Chair, which allows users to roll forward on unpaved roads and over obstacles. To conduct field tests, the team had users trial the wheelchair prototypes in East Africa, Guatemala and India. Read more about the GRIT Freedom Chair here.

Sennheiser making movies more accessible in Dubai
Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) and Sennheiser have teamed up with the National Media Council (NMC) to offer a personal assistive hearing and translation tool, CinemaConnect, to audiences at the Dubai International Film Festival which will run from 6-13 December 2017. CinemaConnect, which can be conveniently downloaded on both IOS and Android, offers hearing assistance, audio description and a portable display unit for closed captioning.  “This initiative is an ideal platform to highlight the National Media Council’s continuous efforts to enable those with hearing and vision disabilities to have access to the latest in international cinematic innovation,” said Mansour Al Mansouri, director general of National Media Council.

RESNA’s 2017 Conference will offer more than 50 workshop presentations on best practices in assistive technology over three days in New Orleans from 26-30 June.


RESNA’s 2017 Conference
AT Innovations Across the Lifespan, RESNA’s 2017 Conference, will offer more than 50 workshop presentations on best practices in assistive technology over three days in June. Workshop topics include:

  • Cognitive and Sensory Impairments
  • Computer Applications and Communications
  • Emerging Technology
  • International Appropriate Technology
  • Job & Environmental Accommodations, including Ergonomics
  • Public Policy and Advocacy
  • Seating and Mobility, including Complex Rehab Technology
  • Service Delivery and Outcomes

RESNA is the premier professional membership organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions.
26-30 June 2017, New Orleans, Louisiana

Zero Project call for submissions for 2018 conference
Once again, the Zero Project team would like to invite leading experts and organizations to nominate innovative practices and policies concerning accessibility for personas with disabilities for its the 2018. The “Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies 2018” will be selected by the Zero Project network of experts in a multistep process, and will be featured in the Zero Project Report 2018; its authors will also be invited to speak at the the Zero Project Conference in Vienna (Austria) in February 2018. Anyone can nominate any project, and self-nominations are also accepted. Deadline for submission is 30 June, on the website, or email office@zeroproject.org.

Nominations for the 2017 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize Extended
The Vaclav Havel Prize, which consists of a sum of €60000, a trophy and a diploma, rewards outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond. It is open to nominations from any individual, NGO or institution working to defend human rights. The deadline for nominations for the 2017 edition of the Prize is 30 June 2017. The Award Ceremony will take place in the Assembly Chamber on 9 October 2017. Prize regulations and the nomination forms can be found on the Assembly’s website or email hrprize.pace@coe.int.

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