USICD NewsJune 2014
Senate Supporters Call for CRPD Ratification Following Supreme Court Bond Case Decision
Ithe CRPD Support logo with We support instead of I support

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

USICD's Compilation of Disability References in 2013 Human Rights Reports Released
A blue circle that says Depart of State the United States of America surrounding an eacgle with a shield clutching a branch and some arrows

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.

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In This Issue
Senate Allies Call for CRPD Ratification Following Supreme Court Bond Decision
USICD's Compilation of Disability References in 2013 Human Rights Reports Released
Myanmar Holds First-Ever National Disability Conference
USICD Members Attend UN Meeting
International Disability News
Blinded Veterans Visit London for Project Gemini

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

Ever Widening Circle and Annual Disability Policy Summit 

Thursday, October 9, 2014 - Thursday, October 9, 2014


Africa Forum Details Announced!
Friday, October 10, 2014 - Saturday, October 18, 2014


Destinations for All. A World Summit
Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 



Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 



Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 



Buckfire and Buckfire, P.C. 2014 Disability Scholarship
Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 



Call for Papers: The 4th International Conference on Disability & Rehabilitation
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 



EOP's STEM Diversity Career Expo
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014



Indian International Deaf Film Festival 2014
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Communications Specialist with NAD
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014


EOP's STEM Diversity Career Expo
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014



U.S. Access Board seeking application for General Counsel position
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014



CRPD Ratification Watch
As of June 2014:
  • 158 Signatories
  • 145 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 80 Ratifications
Recent 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
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