Senate Supporters Call for CRPD Ratification Following Supreme Court Bond Case Decision
Following the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Bond v. United States earlier this month, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and John Barrasso (R-WY) released the below statement. Bond v. U.S. dealt with a federal statute challenge of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was enacted after the Convention itself was ratified.
"The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in Bond is a positive development that should clear the way for Senate action on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - CRPD. The Court has made it clear that the Bond case should not in any way impede the ratification of the CRPD, and that the Senate can provide advice and consent to this important treaty while preserving American sovereignty and maintaining our Constitution's balance of powers between the Federal government and the States. The CRPD will ensure that our wounded warriors and disabled citizens are entitled to the same rights and protections around the world that they enjoy here at home. We hope our Senate colleagues will join us to ratify the CPRD as soon as possible."
In addition, you can view Senator Harkin's (D-IA) statement here, as well as Senator Menendez's (D-NJ) statement here.
To echo this call to action to YOUR Senator, visit www.disabilitytreaty.org.
USICD's Compilation of Disability References in 2013 Human Rights Reports Released
The State Department's
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released annually, represent the culmination of the U.S. State Department's review of the human rights records and situation in 194 countries around the world. The reports are supplied to Congress in accordance with law to assist in matters of foreign affairs. USICD, with the generous assistance of volunteer Christina Arabia, has consolidated the disability references from the 194 Country Reports into a comprehensive document, which you can find here.
Myanmar Holds First-Ever
National Disability Conference
USICD Disability Law and Policy consultant Allison deFranco supported the Working Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WCRPD) to plan and implement the first ever Myanmar National Disability Conference that was held June 10-12 in Yangon.
The historic event brought together over 500 participants with disabilities from all regions and states to discuss the barriers that persons with disabilities face throughout the country, and to create a national level cross-disability coalition. The opening ceremony featured video remarks provided by the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, U Thein Sein, remarks prepared by the Chairperson of the National League for Democracy Party, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that was read out to the audience, and opening remarks from US Ambassador Derek Mitchell.
Ambassador Mitchell applauded the inclusiveness of the conference and stated, "I see in this room the best hope for this country. You come from all corners of the country, young and old, men and women, from all religious and ethnic backgrounds. None of you cares about your differences." The conference sessions covered an array of topics related to disability rights and promoted the adoption of a national level disability law that is in line with the CRPD. On day three of the conference, participants voted for representatives of the newly formed Myanmar Council of Persons with Disabilities.
USICD welcomes the appointment of Yadana Aung as the chairwoman and congratulates all of the Council members. Next month's newsletter will provide an in-depth article about the conference and the current status of disability issues in Myanmar.
USICD Members Attend UN Meeting
In June 2014, USICD was thrilled to sponsor several members to attend the UN Conference of States Parties in New York City. Below are three accounts of the experience our members had at the conference. A few of our Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) interns were able to attend through their host organizations as well, you can read their accounts here.
While this was the 7th conference of the States Parties for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it was my first time attending this conference. From the moment I entered the buildings of the UN I was swept into the intense energy in the main room, of countries one after another, that have ratified the CRPD detailing the progress they have made and challenges in need of surmounting and the concurrent non-stop side events held in several separate rooms. These five days of sharing results, programing ideas and networking gave me an honest to goodness sense of the gathered momentum finally needed to slip off the gloves of the outdated charity and medical methods so long used when considering someone with a disability. It was exhilarating and motivating to be among so many people that extended their bare hands across the table in the spirit of collaboration to include everyone in a developing and thriving society. My hope is the United States can soon join this movement.
-Candace Cable, former Paralympian
I attended the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD as a member of USICD. As a Handicap International (HI) consultant, I interviewed Risnawati (Risna) Utami, who founded Ohana, an HI partner organization. She shared stories about her schooling in Indonesia and the United States, in which each school provided vastly different experiences. In Indonesia she crawled up and down four flights of stairs to reach her classes, whereas Brandies University gave her an accessible van, in which she said, "I felt like a real human being." As Indonesia has already ratified the CRPD, she and other countries are looking to the United States to ratify, as "the U.S. is the pioneer of implementing the CRPD principles" and has success stories that "should be shared with the world." As I left the conference, I was thinking that as more countries ratify the CRPD without the United States, we lose our credibility as a leader of disability rights. As Risna said, "the United States should ratify the CRPD this year!"
- Rebecca Berman
The UN Conference of States Parties meetings I attended last week at the United Nations in NY urged disability goals integration into the post-2015 development agenda (newly released Zero Draft report) that has 'poverty eradication' as the driver umbrella goal for 2015-30. The WL chart reflects that 1 billion people with disabilities around the globe (80% in developing countries) are the 'poorest of the poor'. Education, healthcare and employment access barriers are among the determinants along with cultural stigma. CRPD, ratified by 147 countries and with people with disabilities' organizations (DPOs) in strong leadership, is beginning to make a difference and shift governments' attention to shaping systems change through national disability plans.
- Evelyn Cherow
International Disability News
USICD Board Member Tom Zampieri with Blinded Veterans Visit London for Project Gemini
Last month, Tom Zampieri, along with four other blinded veterans, visited London for Project Gemini. Project Gemini, a joint initiative of Blinded Veterans of America and Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's), seeks to unite blinded veterans who recently lost their sight in operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. You can read more about Tom's trip here.
Events and Opportunities
Inaugural International Summit on Accessibility
Saturday, July 12, 2014 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014
AIDS 2014 20th International AIDS Conference
Sunday, July 20, 2014 - Friday, July 25, 2014
COLLOQUIUM ANNOUNCEMENT Sign languages, deaf communities in Africa and Cote d'Ivoire: What future?
Thursday, July 24, 2014 - Friday, July 25, 2014
Fifa sells off World Cup tickets reserved for the disabled
June 24, 2014
Source: Jonathan Harwood, The Week
'Invisible' in India: The story of the disabled boy tied to Mumbai bus stop
June 23, 2014
Source: Mallika Kapur, CNN
FIFA Doing its Part to Make the World Cup Accessible to All
June 23, 2014
UN CRPD, the Global South and Youth
June 23, 2014
Source: Elizabeth Lockwood, CBM
Civil Society CRPD Forum 2014: "Towards an Inclusive Post-2015 Agenda"
June 11, 2014
Side Events Announced for 2014 Conference of State Parties to the CRPD
June 5, 2014
Roll Call: Dole, Harkin Renew Disability Treaty Push After SCOTUS Decision
June 4, 2014
Source: Niels Lesniewski
First Global Forum on Disability: Voice of Our Own
June 4, 2014
Republican Senators Urge Call for CRPD Ratification
June 4, 2014
Source: Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator For Illinois
The Disability Movement Calls for the Active Participation of Organisations of Persons With Disabilities in the Implementation of the UN Convention
May 20, 2014
Source: European Disability Forum
|CRPD Ratification Watch |
As of June 2014:
- 158 Signatories
- 145 Ratifications
Switzerland Ratified the Convention on April 15, 2014
Palestine Ratified the Convention on April 2, 2014
Georgia Ratified the Convention on March 13, 2014
Andorra Ratified the Convention on March 11, 2014
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
Board of Directors
Marca Bristo - President
Lex Frieden- Vice President
David Hutt - Treasurer
Glen White - Secretary
John Lancaster - Past President