USICD NewsNovember 2012

The Latest on U.S. CRPD Ratification!

A woman with midlength light brown hair wearing a white shirt and black pants stands sideways looking a t the camera





The lame duck session has arrived and as you read this sentence, senators are returning back to their offices to get to work and so are we!


Thank you to all of the organizations and individuals that have worked tirelessly over the recess to keep the disability voice LOUD and STRONG in support of the CRPD. We are entering the lame duck session with more supporting votes than ever in the Senate - let's get even more! This is the final phase of the CRPD and it is a prime opportunity to show the resilience and strength of the disability community!


What can you do to help get a YES vote on the CRPD in 2012? Three SIMPLE things!

  1. CONTACT your U.S. Senators (both of them) and tell them that you support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    • Sample Message 1:"I am a person with a disability (or advocate) and I want to see the senator vote in support of the CRPD this year!"
    • Sample Message 2:"This treaty is very important to the U.S. disability community! Following U.S. ratification of the treaty, U.S. leadership will help raise accessibility around the world, directly helping Americans with disabilities who live, work, or travel abroad."
  2. TWEET both of your U.S. Senators to show support
      • Sample Tweet: "@(SenatorTwitterID) Support the #CRPD #UNCRPD in 2012! This is a #disability issue and we say vote YES!"
    • See above Marlee Matlin's Tweet and make sure you RETWEET!
  3. JOIN your organization to a list of supporters

More information on the CRPD: USICD's CRPD UPDATES PAGE


For our international friends: Please send us messages of why the U.S. ratification of the CRPD is important to YOU! Email

GDRL Inspires Innovation!


The work of 60 partner organizations that received an eGranary Digital Library through the USAID-funded GDRL project nears the end of an exciting year--and there is more to come.  Here are a few examples of exciting ways disability groups are using their eGranary:

  • Zimbabwe: The National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) has a weekly radio program on disability dubbed "Seka urema wafa" that reaches 2.1 million people and they intend to have people who have used the GDRL at their location to come speak on their show. NASCOH also tells us that they have used the GDRL to find articles that help them write proposals on mainstreaming civic and voter education for people with disabilities. They used accessible voting checklists from the GDRL as a guide for advocating improved accessibility of polling stations in Zimbabwe. 
  • A woman wearing glasses and a head covering that reaches down her back sits at a computer with her hand on the mouse. Bangladesh: Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) in reports that the Bangladeshi government is planning to introduce a Disability Rights Act, which would be the first rights based law covering people with disabilities in the country. The office of the Prime Minister in Bangladesh asked their executive director, Vashkar Bhattercharjee, to draft the Information Communication Technology (ICT) section of the law. Many resources in the GDRL were used for the draft including the text of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Handbook for Parliamentarians on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and others.
  • Zambia: The Zambia Deaf Youth and Women (ZDYW) association reports that they have been granted funding from the Abilis Foundation that will enable them to establish a new business center with 10 computers in early 2013. ZDYW emphasized that having the GDRL was a crucial reason why they received this funding since Abilis reported it was important to enable more users to access the GDRL. 
USICD's International Visitors

October brought many incredible disability advocates from around the world to Washington, DC. USICD was pleased to receive these leaders and connect with them about their wonderful work to improve the global situation of people with disabilities.


Two women and three men in business attire, one of the women in a wheelchair, smile at the camera USICD President Marca Bristo and Executive Director David Morrissey welcomed Professor Gerard Quinn of the University of Galway, Ireland on October 25th for a special member event, "Toward a New US-EU Dialogue on Disability: The CRPD as a Transatlantic Bridge." Professor Quinn is a renowned international expert on the disabilities and was joined by legal scholars and advocates Janet Lord and USICD Board Member Eric Rosenthal to discuss the future for this Transatlantic conduit. Special thanks to Open Society Foundations for hosting the event.


An Intian man with white hair and David Morrissey stand shaking hands and smiling at the camera On October 10th, David Morrissey welcomed Mr. Prasanna Pincha of India to the USICD offices. Mr. Pincha is the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the Government of India. The two discussed India's emerging new disability rights law and India's work on integrating the CRPD into its national legislation and policies.


A group of four women and two men, one woman in a wheelchair, smile at the camera. Disability Rights Program Manager Esmé Grant joined a group of disability rights leaders from Belarus, visiting the United States under the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and hosted by the Meridian International Center. Esmé led a presentation for the Belarusian visitors on how the CRPD's framework is contributing to development of accessible environments in post-Soviet states.

International Disability News
  • Capitol latter R and lowercase letter i intertwined and forming the outside edges of a globe. Nigerian Disability Leaders Honored: Disability groups from the US and around the world honored key Nigerian disability leaders for their work in leading Nigerians with disabilities to the RI's 22nd World Congress, which was held in Incheon, South Korea, from October 29 to November 2, 2012. The honorees spoke about the importance of working collaboratively to continue to remove barriers and they promised to ensure that Nigeria continues to honor its obligations under the Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities, which was signed and ratified by Nigeria in 2010. (Editor's Update: Nigerian Ekaete Umoh became the new Vice President for the African Region at the RI conference in November) READ MORE
  • Singapore's Sterilization Law Modified:The law on voluntary sterilization in Singapore was modified to better protect persons who have a mental disability. With this change, persons with mental or hereditary illnesses now have the power of consent in regards to sterilization issues. The change aligns the law with the Mental Capacity Act and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Singapore aims to sign by the end of the year. READ MORE
  • Uganda's Pledge to Disability Rights:The government of Uganda pledged to promote the rights of persons with disabilities after their nominee; Martin Mwesigwa Babu was elected to the committee of experts on the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The State Minister for Disability and Elderly Affairs, Mr. Sulaiman Madada, said the government would realign Uganda's policies and legislations on persons with disabilities to conform to international standards, including the CRPD. Currently, the "Persons with Disabilities Amendment Bill" is before the Ugandan cabinet. READ MORE
  • A group of young people, all wearing ,matching white tee shirts and holding signs, come of them in wheelchairs. Nepalese Youth with Disabilities Rally:On September 30th, more than 300 people joined a wheelchair rally in Kathmandu set up by the Nepalese Youth for Inclusive Society to draw attention to the hardships faced by people with physical disabilities.  Celebrities including Miss Nepal 2012 the chief secretary of Nepal joined the rally. The goal of the rally was to demand that the government construct accessible roads and sidewalks for people with disabilities and the elderly. READ MORE
  • Bulgaria to Comply with CRPD:In October, the Bulgarian government approved a plan to align existing national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The approved action plan covers ten objectives, including the establishment of government bodies responsible for the monitoring of the Convention and the preparation of a long-term national strategy on the rights of people with disabilities in the context of CRPD implementation. READ MORE
  • Several Indian children sit and play in a brightly colored train-like outdoor recreation equipment India to Have New Definition:India's new draft disability law, if enacted, will give legal recognition to include people living with blood disorders, speech and language disabilities, and specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia. The existing Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act of 1995 recognizes only seven disabilities. The Draft, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill of 2012, was unveiled in September and the definitional change is in keeping with India's ratification of the CRPD. READ MORE
  • The cover of a report that is orange with a dark blue band across the top and white writing. G3ict CRPD Progress Report:G3ict's2012 CRPD Progress Report includes the latest data on 52 countries. The report collects data on country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Knowing how much progress is actually accomplished by countries, ICT accessibility is essential to address gaps and opportunities around the world. CLICK HERE to access the full report.
CRPD Education and Outreach

CRPD LogoUSICD board and staff were thrilled to have several opportunities in October to provide education on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as we near a final vote in Senate.


A 5 foot tall white sign announcing the panel is flanked on either side by the panelsts in business suits Kicking off the month on October 10th, USICD Board Member Jeff Rosen joined a panel of disability experts at Gallaudet University for a session titled "Policy, Process, and Politics," in which they discussed language in the treaty and personal experiences on the ratification process. Also in October, Executive Director David Morrissey partook in the opening plenary at the National Convention and International Forum hosted by the Arc and Inclusion International. David joined a panel at the conference as well, entitled "It's all about Rights," where he discussed the development and use of the CRPD with disability advocates from Zambia, South Korea, and the United States.  


five people, all from different Asian backgrounds, sit arount a table facing an off camera speaker. On October 26th, Disability Rights Program Manager Esmé Grant presented at International Law Weekend in New York with Steven Hill, Legal Advisor to the U.S. UN Mission, on the CRPD's Article 13 (Access to Justice). Please keep posted about Esmé's legal publication about this topic in upcoming months. Esmé also accompanied Outreach Coordinator Susie Richard and USICD Fellow Padam Pariyar to present on the CRPD and USICD's work to fellows of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program upon their visit to Washington, DC. Padam also joined a discussion this month at Gallaudet University covering the situation of access to education by children with disabilities in Nepal.


David Morrissey started off November with a bang by leading a discussion via Skype with several campuses of advocates interested in the CRPD and the ratification process in the United States. If your American organization or campus is interested in CRPD Education and Advocacy trainings, please contact Susie Richard at We look forward to hearing from you!

Sports and the CRPD

By Julia R. Wolhandler, USICD Intern
Runners competing in the 2012 Paralympics
As the XVI Summer Paralympics came to an end this summer in London, I looked back on my own involvement with sports. And in doing so, I couldn't help but contemplate the future of sports for people with disabilities in relation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and how it further integrates people with disabilities and veterans in sports, recreation, and leisure.


My interest in sports has always been great. I love the freedom and excitement it gives me and the family that is created by being a part of a team. My sport of choice was track, but this choice was not an easy one. During most races I was placed as the lead runner for my relay team, meaning I started the race. Crouching down in the blocks I would eagerly wait for the sound of the gun to go off which meant I could start.


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In This Issue
CRPD Ratification Update
GDRL Phase Ends but Work Continues
USICD's International Visitors
International Disability News
CRPD Education and Outreach
Sports and the CRPD

Member News and Opportunities


Join the Discussion on Disability Rights post-MDG's
November 12, 2012  


Marley Matlin Tweets for the CRPD
November 8, 2012


Last-Minute Business: ABA Urges US Senate to Approve Ratification of Disabilities Convention
November 5, 2012
Source: ABA Journal


Attention Deficit Disorder Association Issues CRPD Action Alert!
November 5, 2012
Source: ADDA


Position Paper and Listserve on Disability Rights in the post-MDG Framework
November 5, 2012
Source: International Disability Alliance


China adopts mental health law to curb forced treatment
November 2, 2012
Source: Reuters


AWID Encounters Issue 5: The Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities
October 22, 2012
Source: AWID


Tanzania: Visually Impaired People Need Community's Help
October 22, 2012
Source: All Africa


Refugee Community Faces Major Barriers When Seeking Disability And Health Services
October 19, 2012
Source: Progress Illinois


Bulgaria to bring legislation in line with CRPD
October 19, 2012
Source: News Europe


Physically challenged youth demand more accessible Nepal
October 19, 2012
Source: Khabar Southeast Asia


Ugandan Gonvernment to Support PWD Rights with Election of Babu
October 19, 2012
Source: Daily Monitor


Sterilisation law updated to protect mentally disabled in Singapore
October 19, 2012
Source: The Straits Times


Conversations With America: Promoting Disability Rights
October 12, 2012
Source: U.S. Department of State


UNICEF - Forum on the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities
October 11, 2012
Source: UN Enable


Outcome documents of the 11th World Down Syndrome Congress
October 11, 2012
Source: UN Enable


New guide on paratransit for mobility-impaired persons in developing regions
October 11, 2012
Source: UN Enable


Mobile and web accessibility
October 11, 2012
Source: UN Enable


 WBU/ICEVI General Assemblies
Thursday, November 8, 2012 - Sunday, November 18, 2012


1st CBR World Congress
Monday, November 26, 2012 - Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Toward the Challenge of Inclusive Education: Equity for Diversity
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Saturday, November 17, 2012


USAID Education: Implementing the Strategy
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Thursday, November 15, 2012


1st CBR World Congress
Monday, November 26, 2012 - Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Creating New Futures for All: Children, Youth, DIisability and Situations of Forced Migration
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - Friday, November 30, 2012  


2012 TASH Conference
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - Saturday, December 1, 2012


International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Monday, December 3, 2012 - Monday, December 3, 2012

Closing the Gap - Capacity Building for and with People with Disabilities on the Relationship betwee
Monday, December 3, 2012 - Tuesday, December 4, 2012

International Congress on Social Diversity
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - Wednesday, December 5, 2012


AIDS & International Development Forum Asia-Pacific
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Program
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 opportunity   


Short Term Travel Grants Program
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 opportunity

Program Coordinator Africa/Caribbean
Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 opportunity  


Program Operations Specialist - Management & Administration
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 opportunity      


PROGRAM ASSISTANT Empowering Partnership for Inclusive Communities Project
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 opportunity

Abstracts and Proposals for Symposia Accepted
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012 opportunity  


Funding Available for Inclusive Development Programs
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 opportunity   


Major Gifts Officer
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 opportunity   


Invitation to join the online Global Consultation on "Addressing Inequalities" in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 opportunity   


Applications are now being accepted for the Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilites~ January 13-18, 2013
Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 opportunity

Chef de projet Psychosocial & Cohésion Sociale

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 opportunity

Call for Abstracts on Child Welfare and Disabilities
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 opportunity      

"It's About Ability!" Youth Video Contest
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 opportunity    


Goldstein & Levy, LLP fifth annual Disability Rights Fellowship
Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012 opportunity

Applications for 2012-2013 Scholarship Program
Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 opportunity  

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of November 12, 2012 
  • 154 Signatories
  • 126 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 90 Signatories
  • 76 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Malta Ratified the Convention on October 10, 2012

Dominica Ratified the Convention on October 1, 2012

Israel Ratified the Convention on September 28, 2012

Chad Signed the Convention on September 26, 2012

Poland Ratified the Convention on September 25, 2012

Russian Federation Ratified the Convention on September 25, 2012

Swaziland Ratified the Convention on September 24, 2012

Ghana Ratified the Convention on July 31, 2012

Liberia Ratified the Convention on July 26, 2012


Benin ratified the Convention on  July 5, 2012

Djibouti ratified the Convention on  June 18, 2012

Greece ratified the Convention on  May 31, 2012 
Estonia ratified the Convention on  May 30, 2012

Mauritania ratified the Convention on April 3, 2012

Bulgaria ratified the Convention on March 22, 2012

Mozambique ratified the Convention on January 30, 2012

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