RI Global What’s On: May 2017 Newsletter, Meetings And Migration (New President Hosts EC)

RI Global What’s On, May 2017
Meetings and Migration (New President Hosts Committee)
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The RI Global Delegation at the first Executive Committee meeting held in April in Beijing. RI Global’s new president, Zhang Haidi, marked her first official meeting as leader of the nearly 100-year-old organization. 

May 2017: Meetings and Migration, RI Global President Zhang Haidi Hosts EC in Beijing 

RI Global holds its first official meeting under new president
RI President Zhang Haidi and the China Federation of Disabled Persons (CDPF) hosted the 2017 Executive Committee meeting from 22-23 April in Beijing – the first Committee gathering under the presidency of Madam Zhang.

Members of Beijing’s diplomatic community, representatives of international organizations, officials of CDPF and allies from both the government and civil society, attended the opening program of the EC, during which, CDPF President Yu Long, pledged the support of the government of China, through CDPF, for the work of RI Global. In her remarks, Zhang urged members of the EC to closely work together in order to realize the shared goal of strengthening and expanding RI’s membership and work to build better lives for people with disabilities, especially women and children.

RI Regional Vice President for Europe, Roy O’Shaughnessy who spoke on behalf of the EC, said RI Global was undergoing a “renaissance” under Zhang’s presidency. He praised the government of China and CDPF for their commitment to support the Zhang’s leadership which will enable RI Global to play a more active and meaningful role in the field of rehabilitation and disability.

In addition to the meeting, the EC was given a tour of various facilities that provide services to people with disabilities around Beijing. They also traveled to Zhang’s native Qingdao, in Shandong Province in Southeastern China, where they toured rehabilitation facilities and the site of the new Rehabilitation University – the first institution devoted to disability rehabilitation in the world – By Venus Ilagan, RI Global Secretary General.

An aid worker helps pull a disabled Syrian refugee, who lost his leg to diabetes, through the no man’s land between Macedonia and Serbia. Credit: UN News Centre. 
UN prioritizes refugees and migrants with disabilities in new global action plan
As UN-led intergovernmental talks on the new global framework on refugees and migrants are set to launch consultation, a group of United Nations human rights experts have urged that dedicated human and financial resources are made available for persons with disabilities. The framework, entitled Global Compact for Migration will set out a range of principles and commitments among governments to “address the shortcomings of a migration and refugee system built on policies that lack consideration for persons with disabilities,” said Theresia Degener, the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Dedicated human and financial resources, she stressed, should be included in the new framework to identify persons with disabilities in reception and detention centres and to provide adequate standards of living and healthcare, including psycho-social support.

That said, the UN is “deeply concerned about the precarious situation of persons with disabilities in the current migration crisis,” according to Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She added that many countries lack formal procedures to identify migrants and refugees with disabilities and, consequently, fail to provide them with protection and essential services, such as shelter and medical care that are accessible. On 6 April, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the modalities for negotiations for the next 12 months in the run-up to the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration. The second workshop will be held on 18-19 July in Geneva and will offer Member States and civil society the opportunity to explore protection of and assistance for migrants in vulnerable situations from a policy, cooperation and practical perspective.

Disability Rights expert, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, will visit Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from  3-8 May with a focus on children in Pyongyang & South Hwanghae Province. 
UN Disabilities to visit Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, will visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in early May to learn about the situation of persons with disabilities in the country – the first ever by an UN Human Rights Council representation. “My upcoming visit to DPRK represents a key opportunity to learn firsthand about national realities, laws, policies and programmes concerning people with disabilities, as well as the challenges and opportunities the Government faces in implementing the Convention”, Devandas-Aguilar said in a statement. Devandas-Aguilar visits at the invitation of the Government, and will meet with Government representatives, UN officials, international humanitarian organizations, the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled and other affiliated organizations, as well as people with disabilities themselves.

During her six-day mission, Ms. Devandas-Aguilar will visit Pyongyang and the South Hwanghae Province.  On 8 May 2017, Devandas Aguilar will hold a press conference at the Hotel Koryo in Pyongyang to share with the media her preliminary observations on the visit. The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council, including her findings and recommendations, in March 2018.

Guidance on the International Symbol of Accessibility Released
The Access Board has released guidance on the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) to address recent questions that have arisen on the use of alternative symbols. Some cities and states have adopted a different symbol that was created to be more dynamic and suggestive of movement. The Board’s guidance explains how use of a symbol other than the ISA impacts compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ISA, created by Rehabilitation International and maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), has served as a world-wide accessibility icon for almost 50 years. “Consistency in the use of universal symbols is important, especially for persons with limited vision or cognitive disabilities,” states Marsha Mazz, Director of the Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services. Under the ABA Standards, use of a symbol other than the ISA requires issuance of a modification or waiver by the appropriate standard-setting agency.

High-level experts and representatives of government agencies, local authorities and the private sector attend the DESA high-level forum last year. 

RI GLOBAL: On the Agenda

DESA: Expert meeting on disability-inclusive development
The Expert Meeting on Monitoring and Evaluation for Disability-inclusive Development, organized by DESA and hosted by the International Labor Organization (ILO), will take stock of progress made in monitoring and evaluation for disability-inclusive development, in particular in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Discussions will contribute to preparation of the 2018 United Nations flagship report on disability and development that has been requested by the UN General Assembly (A/RES/69/142). The meeting will include experts, researchers and practitioners from the UN system, academic institutions, Member States, NGOs – particularly disabled persons’ organizations, and development partners with experience and expertise in the areas of monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the international development goals, including expertise in policy-analysis, monitoring and evaluation relevant for disability-inclusive development.
10 to 11 May 2017 at ILO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

UNISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
The final agenda of the Global Platform (GP) is now available on the GP website. The 2017 Global Platform will be a paper-smart conference, and therefore, participants are strongly discouraged from bringing print materials. Instead, UNISDR encourages all interested parties to create/update a profile and upload documents via the UNISDR PreventionWeb website. A high number of Preparatory Events will take place in the days prior to the Global Platform (20-22 May). To see a list of all these events, please click here. The Opening Ceremony will take place in the presence of the President of Mexico, Heads of State/Government and high-level authorities.
24 May, Mexico City, Mexico.

Multi Hazard Early Warning Conference
The Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference is taking place on 22-23 May 2017 at the same venue as the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. The Conference is hosted by Mexico and organized by WMO, UNISDR, UNESCO, UNESCO/IOC and the World Bank/GFDRR. Due to limited space, registration is by invitation only. ontact the organizers through the Conference email address: mhew2017@wmo.int.
Side Events: There will be 45 Side Events taking place during the GP covering a broad range of topics related to disaster risk reduction, the Sendai Framework and its implementation. The full list of Side Events is now available. Participants need to process visa applications as soon as possible. Detailed information on formalities to enter Mexico.
22-26 May, Cancun, Mexico

10th Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
Article 40 of the Convention stipulates that “The States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties (COSP).” This year’s theme is “The Second Decade of the CRPD: Inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the implementation of the Convention.” NGO registration and new NGO accreditation, as well as application for side-events and exhibits are now available on the UN Enable website.
Become a COSP Youth Delegate: One form of youth participation at the UN is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country’s official delegation to the UN General Assembly. The roles of a youth representative varies from country to country, but mostly includes providing input to their delegation and participating in a delegation’s general work through attending meetings and informal negotiations. Contact your Government’s Foreign Office or Permanent Mission to the UN to enquire about becoming a youth delegate at COSP10.
13-15 June, UN Headquarters, New York, NY

High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)
The theme of this year’s HLPF will be Eradicating 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, NY

3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf
The conference 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

What captures the essence of the 35 years of Beit Issue Shapiro is the “endless love, passion and belief that our staff have in children and adults with disabilities,” according to ED Jean Judes

Beit Issie Shapiro: Changing the lives of people with disabilities
If Jean Judes had to summarize the 35 years of social change at Beit Issie Shapiro – a disability development organization based in Israel – she would concentrate on the things the families Beit Issie Shapiro say about the organization that helps them. “That we are their family and their home for life – even if their kids are no longer at Beit Issie Shapiro,” she said. “I would say that what captures the essence of the 35 years is the endless love, passion and belief that our staff have in children and adults with disabilities.”

The mission of Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS) is to provide cutting-edge services to improve quality of life for people with disabilities, and to effect social change by breaking down the barriers preventing people with disabilities from full societal integration, assuring them the rights and opportunities for maximum growth and development. Recently, Beit Issie Shapiro was named Israel’s most effective non-profit by efficiency monitor Midot and:

  • Remains the global leader of research into Snoezelen (multi-sensory) therapy to treat people with developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s, cancer and post-traumatic stress syndrome, having established over 400 Snoezelen therapy centers in Israel.
  • Operates the largest hydrotherapy training center in the world, and have helped to establish 120 hydrotherapy centers in Israel.
  • Runs Israel’s first accessible and inclusive playground, Park Chaverim, and is helping 30 local authorities and a few countries to establish similar parks.

Beit Issie Shapiro also works with both Jews and Arabs with disabilities to achieve a common goal – facing the challenge of having a disability – in a uniting manner. “Nothing about us without us! This slogan of the disabilities movement means that nothing happens for people with disabilities without the express involvement of people with disabilities,” Judes said.


New Stanford course takes on designing for PwDs
Students in a new undergraduate course at Stanford University spurs students to consider how to engage and address the needs of a diverse community of people with physical disabilities,The new course, called Dare to Care: Compassionate Design, is not just for the engineering-minded – freshmen and sophomores from all majors can apply for one of the 16 slots. The idea for the curriculum came from John Moalli, a lecturer in chemical engineering. Last fall, he assigned his class to modify a wheelchair, and the project was a hit. “Students said it was overwhelmingly their favorite project,” Moalli said. “I think they liked the notion that they were helping somebody – they really saw a purpose.”

China’s first gallery for PwDs opens in Beijing
China’s first gallery for persons with disabilities opened in Beijing last month, offering a revolutionary new outlet to showcase their work, from calligraphic work to paintings and beyond. The gallery was established by the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and China Braille Library and will be used for fine art exhibition and training for persons with disabilities. More than 150 paintings have been on display since Sunday in the gallery’s debut exhibition. Entry is free to the public throughout the year. The library marks the government’s effort to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities’ emotional and cultural needs while improve their living standards, said CDPF chair Zhang Haidi. The move will offer a stimulus for disability groups to show their talent and make their life more colorful and dignified, she said.

Defiant Lives – The Documentary Release Details
Documenting the rise and fight of the disability rights movement both in Australia and in the UK and USA Defiant Lives looks at how activists around the world helped to free their people from incarceration in institutions and came to a new understanding of disability. Filled with rare archival imagery, the film also reframes disability as a problem of society rather than a problem existing within individuals and teases out a nuanced little known story about how disabled people have literally changed the world we live in. Produced by filmmaker Sarah Barton, Defiant Lives is the product of the Australian television series No Limits. Currently, Fertile Films is looking for communities to host the groundbreaking film. To have it come to your area, fill in this simple form for demand, spread the word and if enough tickets are sold to cover costs, the screening is a go! For more information or the see the trailer, check out the film website.

The Afghan Disability Rights conference is held in partnership with the US-Afghan Women’s Council and the USICD at  Georgetown University in Washington, DC from 23-24 May. 


Statements for Disaster Risk Reduction Conference
The United Nations is currently accepting requests to make official three-minute statements at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place in Cancun, Mexico from 22-26 May. The online registration system allows for one official statement per delegation, and will allocate slots on a first come, first served basis until all slots are filled. All delegations have the ability to make changes, such as updating the attached statement, or changing the speaker. For further information related to Official Statements, please contact Ms. Ana Cristina Thorlund at gp-statements@un.org. The online registration process will close on 19 May.

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.

Afghan Disability Rights Conference
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will host the Afghan Disability Rights Conference: From Policy to Programming with the aim of highlighting disability issues and progress in the disability sector. It will focus specifically on practical approaches for making inclusive education, inclusive public healthcare, and vocational training and employment opportunities realities for Afghan citizens living with disabilities.” The conference is being held in partnership with the US-Afghan Women’s Council and the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD).
23-24 May 2017 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

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

M-Enabling Summit 2017
A joint initiative of the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and E.J. Krause & Associates (EJK), the M-Enabling Summit 2017 promotes accessible technologies and environments for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
1 June, Washington, D.C., USA

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