USICD NewsJanuary 2014
CRPD National Call on January 28th
Ithe CRPD Support logo with We support instead of I support
The treaty needs your help - call the Senate back to the table NOW! Join us to help develop a national strategy to allow for continued negotiations on the disability treaty!

What: CRPD Community Leadership Call

When: Tuesday, January 28th, 1:00 PM ET 

(12:00 PM CT/10:00 AM PT)



In December, Senator Corker walked out of the CRPD negotiations, much to the shock of Senators Menendez, Barrasso and McCain.  


Don't let your Senator hide behind the EXCUSES of Senator Corker's false constitutional arguments!  Go to to take action! 


A second call for students and university personnel interested in organizing for ratification on university campuses is scheduled the same day for 4:00 PM ET.  If you are interested in attending that call as well, please contact

Last Chance to Apply!


The summer 2014  Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program is aimed at U.S. students and recent graduates with disabilities who aspire to careers in international development or international affairs.  We are open for applications until January 29, 2014.


The YIDA program will bring a group of talented U.S. graduate students, recent graduates, and rising college juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, DC, for nine weeks.  Participants will receive one week of training and engage in eight-week internships at various international organizations in the DC area. USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the YIDA program, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend.


To  learn more about the YIDA program, eligibility criteria, and the application process, please visit  This website answers Frequently Asked Questions for applicants.   

Japan Ratifies Disability Treaty
While U.S. Lags Behind

USICD Congratulates the Japanese disability community on ratification. Pictured here is Shoji Nakanishi, disability rights leader.

Yesterday, the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations, Motohide Yoshikawa, officially completed the steps for Japan to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty designed to improve accessibility and limit discrimination against people with disabilities. In doing so, Japan became the 141st country to affirm the rights and dignity of people with disabilities by ratifying the treaty. Ambassador Yoshikawa expressed embarrassment at his country's failure to ratify the treaty sooner, telling reporters that the delay "is not something to be proud of, but Japan would like to make up for the delay by becoming an exemplary party" to the convention.



Thank You to USICD Donors 

Dear Supporter of USICD,


You hit the ball out of the park again with your support. During 2013, we provided you with many updates and alerts regarding issues and events that shaped USICD's charge to lead the way to ratification of CRPD. We've worked hard for you, and you've responded in kind.


Our year-end campaign ended with donations from 34 supporters! While we didn't meet the financial goal of $21,500, thanks to you we did raise $11,905. That's 37% more than you donated in support of our work in 2012.   We are so grateful for your help!


Just in case you missed making a donation during the holiday rush, there's still time to do it now. You can make a contribution at  donate now. 


All of us at USICD thank you for supporting our work in every way, but especially in a financial way when we need it most.


To discuss USCD's monthly giving program and other ways you can support our work, please call our Chief Development & Communications Officer, Kevin R. Locke, at (202) 347-0102.

USICD and CRPD Featured on "Disability Matters"

On Tuesday, January 7, Joyce Bender, host of the "Disability Matters Program" on, hosted an amazing line-up of experts who gave a compelling update on the status of the Disabilities Treaty, including:

  • David Morrissey, executive director of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD)
  • Tony Coelho, former congressman and author of the ADA
  • Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania Governor
  • Jill Houghton, executive director of the United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN)
  • Dick Thornburgh, former PA Governor and former U.S. Attorney General. 

Each guest provided commentary about the recent efforts to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty (CRPD).  The CRPD seeks to hold other countries accountable to the same standards of accessibility set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act when it was passed on July 26, 1990.


You may listen to the broadcast here:


USICD Board Member Still Rallying
Image and article from The Register-Guard


The USICD Board of Directors and staff are elated by the great resilience of our friend and colleague David Oaks.  We are with him in spirit during is continued progress in rehabilitation.  His lifelong advocacy continues to inspire our work. --David Morrissey


A year after a tumble from a ladder broke his neck and put him in intensive care for eight weeks, David Oaks remains paralyzed from the chest down.  He has minimal use of his arms and hands and relies entirely on his wife, Debra Nuņez, and a cadre of friends and caregivers for all of his daily care.  But Oaks' eyes still twinkle, his sense of humor is intact and he maintains contact via computer with fellow environmental and mental health advocates all over the world.

In fact, the 58-year-old Oaks, who now gets around in an electronically controlled wheelchair, engineered a protest rally last month.



International Disability News
  • Early Intervention Changes Lives in Ethiopia: Community Based Rehabilitation found a young child hidden in his family's hut and with physical therapy and education, he and his family have become community leaders and educators on disability rights.  Read More  
  • China's Blind Community Barred from College Entrance Exams: Blind students were told an exam cannot be made accessible to  them and therefore they are relinquished to state-sponsored careers in massage and music.  The law does not prohibit them from taking the exam, but they are routinely turned down.  Read More 
  • Persons With Disabilities Bill Stalled in India: India's political class fails to list important bill on disability rights on agenda, but advocates hope that it will be up for vote in 2014. Read More 
  • Dignity for the Disabled:  Pope Francis embraces people with severe disabilities and challenges the faithful and the world to consider how people with disabilities are treated worldwide. Read More 
Donate to USICD
Support the work we do!

Connect with USICD!

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterVisit our blog

And don't miss the U.S. Department of State's
Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judy Heumann's Facebook Page
In This Issue
Second CRPD Hearing Draws Big Crowd
Apply for the Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) Internship ProgramAccepted!
Japan Ratifies Disability Treaty While U.S. Lags Behind
Be a Campus Advocate for the CRPD
USICD and CRPD Featured on "Disability Matters"
USICD Board Member Still Rallying
International Disability News

Member News and Opportunities

A spirit unbroken
January 5, 2014
Source: Register-Guard (Oregon)

Bender Virtual Career Fair: Employment for People with Disabilities
Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014



Summer Internships in Washington, DC
Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 opportunity     



 January 23rd Declared Ed Roberts Day in Minnesota
January 24, 2014
Source: Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities


First Deaf Person to Participate in Australian Jury Process
January 23, 2014
Source: SBS


Open letter to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Disabilities Treaty vote
January 22, 2014
Source: The Hill


Japan Becomes 141st State Party to Ratify the CRPD
January 20, 2014
Source: UN Enable


Ratify the U.N. Disabilities Treaty
January 20, 2014
Source: US News & World Report


Lawrence: Disability treaty needs support
January 20, 2014
Source: Times Free-Press (Tennessee)


Corker remains opposed to disability treaty
January 16, 2014
Source: The Tennessean

Politics of Power have Disability Treaty Stalled in Senate
January 15, 2014
Source: Public News Service


Disability Advocates Ask Tenn. Senators to Reconsider U.N. Treaty
January 15, 2014
Source: WMOT (Tennessee)


Dole, Frist and a Generation Gap
January 13, 2014
Source: CQ Weekly


Speak up for rights of disabled veterans
January 12, 2014
Source: The Tennessean


Video: UN Disability Treaty Faces Battle in US Senate
January 10, 2014
Source: Voice of America


US Jesuits urge passage of UN disabilities treaty
January 9, 2014
Source: The Hill


 5 most vital foreign policy moves for the US in 2014
January 5, 2014
Source: Courier-Journal (Kentucky)


Improving life, choices for those with disabilities
January 3, 2014
Source: The Columbian


Doing Good by Doing Well: Private Sector Gets Behind UN Disabilities Treaty
January 3, 2014
Source: The Independent


Grassley should back the disabilities treaty
January 3, 2014
Source: Press-Citizen (Iowa)


Leading by example can restore America's global luster
January 2, 2014
Source: The Intelligencer


Treaty on Disability Rights

December 26, 2013
Source: New York Times


Post-2015 Development Agenda: Perspectives for the disability movement from now till then
December 25, 2013
Source: Disabled People's International

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - Thursday, March 6, 2014


Abilities Me Exhibition-Conference
Monday, March 24, 2014 - Tuesday, March 26, 2014

11th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Monday, March 31, 2014 - Thursday, April 11, 2013


Equal Rights and Accessible Environments: The UN CRPD and EU Disability Law and Policy
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - Friday, April 4, 2014


6th National Biennial Conference on Adolescents and Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - Monday, April 14, 2014


30th Annual Pacific Rim Conference on Disability and Diversity 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014 - Tuesday, May 20, 2014  

3rd Annual M-Enabling Summit

Monday, June 9, 2014 - Friday, June 20, 2014  

Seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Thursday, June 12, 2014   


Inaugural International Summit on Accessibility
Saturday, July 12, 2014 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014   


Destinations for All. A World Summit
Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Journal Call for Papers: Disability Research in the Global South: Critical Questions & Methodological Challenges
Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 opportunity

Regional Coordinator Latin America
Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 opportunity
CRPD Ratification Watch
As of December 2013
  • 158 Signatories
  • 141 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 79 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Japan Ratified the Convention on January 20, 2014 
Cote d'Ivoire Ratified the Convention on January 10, 2014 
Tuvalu Ratified the Convention on December 18, 2013

Kiribati Ratified the Convention on September 27, 2013

Papua New Guinea Ratified the Convention on September 26, 2013

Bahamas Signed the Convention on September 24, 2013

Guinea-Bissau Signed the Convention on September 24, 2013

Zimbabwe Ratified the Convention on September 23, 2013

Kuwait Ratified the Convention on August 22, 2013

Singapore Ratified the Convention on July 18, 2013

DPR Korea Ratified the Convention on July 3, 2013

Palau Ratified the Convention on June 11, 2013

Norway Ratified the Convention on June 3, 2013

Iraq Ratified the Convention on March 20, 2013

Barbados Ratified the Convention on February 27, 2013

Albania Ratified the Convention on February 11, 2013
Join Our Mailing List
Board of Directors

Marca Bristo - President

Lex Frieden- Vice President

David Hutt - Treasurer

Glen White - Secretary

John Lancaster - Past President

Anita Aaron

Ann Cody

Tony Coelho

Jill Houghton

Axel Leblois

Barbara LeRoy

Susan Mazrui

Patricia Morrissey

David Oaks

Stephanie Ortoleva

Jeff Rosen

Eric Rosenthal

Randy Rutta

Diana Samarasan

Betsy Valnes

Aubrey Webson

Tom Zampieri

Government Members

David Baquis

Joan Durocher

Meredith DeDonna


Sue Swenson

Quick Links

 Become a USICD Member

USICD Opportunities ~ CRPD Essentials ~ Donate Online ~