USICD NewsJuly 2014
Advocates Rally for CRPD Ratification 
Advocates rally for ratification of the disability treaty in the annual NCIL march onto Capitol Hill. 
(Photo courtesy of Virginia Knowlton Marcus - a USICD member!)

On July 29th, advocates from around the country, including hundreds visiting Washington, DC for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) conference and annual march onto Capitol Hill, gathered to rally for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  USICD extends an extra special thanks to NCIL for their loud and visible support for ratification!

American Paralympic athletes join other CRPD advocates, including Congressman Jim Langevin of Rhode Island (center), outside the U.S. Capitol.
(Photo courtesy of Candace Cable)

Throughout the day, disability advocates were addressed by members of Congress and nationally recognized disability community leaders, all calling for the U.S. Senate to finish the job of ratifying CRPD.  In collaboration with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, USICD welcomed American Paralympians to the CRPD rally. Cheri Blauwet, Candace Cable, Muffy Davis and Keith Gabel brought home the gold!


Advocates gather in Hart Senate Office building in support of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
(Photo courtesy of Access Living)


Following the NCIL rally near the Reflecting Pool of the United States Capitol, advocates proceeded to the Hart Senate Office Building, where we circled together to honor those individuals around the world who have faced discrimination, violence, and violation of their human rights because of their disabilities. We then called in unison for ratification of the CRPD before dispersing to visit Senators' offices and advocate for this important treaty.     

Michael Gamel-McCormick, from Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's staff, speaks to advocates on CRPD in Hart Senate Office Building.
(Photo courtesy of Tom Olin)


CRPD Successfully Voted Out of Foreign Relations Committee

On July 22nd, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took a crucial step toward ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international treaty designed to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities worldwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with representatives from the broad and diverse coalition of business, veterans, disability and civil rights organizations supporting the treaty reacted to the passage from committee with enthusiasm:


Marca Bristo, President, U.S. International Council on Disabilities: "We are here today to send a clear message: it is time to ratify the Disability Treaty. Failure by our Senators to ratify this treaty would be a betrayal of the American disability community, who, as recent polling tells us, vote in higher numbers than almost any other group. It is a betrayal that will not be forgotten by these millions of voters, and by our allies in the veterans, business, faith, and civil rights communities who are united in support of the treaty."


Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "There are plenty of reasons to support the Disability Treaty -the most obvious and important one being that it's the right thing to do for people across the globe who are living and working with disabilities. But there are economic and competitiveness benefits for the United States as well. It would create a level playing field for American businesses, leverage the leadership and innovation of American business in setting accessibility standards, and make us more able to do business abroad.  Further, the treaty does not impose new requirements on U.S. employers and entities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  We urge our leaders to seize the opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and help people with disabilities worldwide by ratifying this treaty."


Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and John McCain of Arizona speak at a press conference promoting ratification of the CRPD.  The Senators were joined by representatives of numerous veteran organizations including the American Legion and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and special attendee, Senator Bob Dole, himself a veteran and advocate for ratification.
(Photo courtesy of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights)



Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: "This treaty embodies the values supported by the United States Military - the importance of promoting human rights and dignity around the world, and the power of the United States to be a leader in the fight for these ideals. The United States has an obligation not to be a bystander in the fight for rights and dignity for people with disabilities, but to embrace our role as a global leader and extend the rights we've fought for here to the rest of world."


Frances West, Chief Accessibility Officer at IBM and Worldwide Director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center: "IBM is confident that US ratification of the CRPD will generate new opportunities for businesses across many different industries. It will also create a global marketplace "pull" for accessible information and communications technologies, and we believe, reinforce the United States' legacy leadership position as a champion for full societal inclusion of people with disabilities. We believe failure to act, will produce quite the opposite effect over the long term: stifling the ambition and dreams of people with disabilities, choking marketplace opportunities, and jeopardizing the United States' ability to influence the global accessibility community."  


Wade Henderson, President/CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: "The United States benefits from a rich history of disability rights legislation that has inspired nations around the world to honor the dignity of people with disabilities, but it is shameful that we still lag behind the global community in ratifying the CRPD. U.S. ratification of the treaty will allow us to once again be a global leader in disability rights, and to amplify the message both here and abroad that disability rights are, indeed, human rights."

YIDA intern works with World Learning to promote disability inclusion
Maegan Shanks, one of USICD's  
Youth in International Development and Affairs interns, worked with World Learning to produce a video on disability inclusion. In the video, World Learning staff demonstrate their support for and commitment to inclusion.  You can watch it here.  

During her time at World Learning, Maegan was also featured on their blog, where she wrote about international exchange. You can view her blog post here.


International Disability News

USICD and DREDF staff provide webinar for AAIDD on the disability treaty

Earlier this month, Eileen Dombrowski of USICD, alongside Rhonda Neuhaus of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) presented to  members of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities on the disability treaty through the webinar "The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Current Status Towards Ratification and Why It Is Important". You can view the webinar here.



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In This Issue
Advocates Rally for CRPD Ratification
CRPD Successfully Voted Out of Foreign Relations Committee
YIDA Intern Works with World Learning to Promote Disability Inclusion
International Disability News
USICD and DREDF Staff Lead Webinar for AAIDD

Events and Opportunities


Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Friday, August 29, 2014


Monday, September 15, 2014 - Friday, October 3, 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 



Request for submissions: Debating the Disability Law in India: Questions, concerns and perspectives
Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 



Building Leadership through Understanding Social Role Devaluation and Implementing a Social Role Valorization Approach
Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 



Disability Rights Fund Releases Second 2014 Request for Proposals: Bangladesh, Pacific Island Countries, Rwanda, Uganda, and Peru
Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 



Inclusion Coordinator
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014




Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) letter of support on CRPD to Senators

July 23, 2014
Source: Gary Shapiro President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)


Bob Dole battles home-schoolers on disabilities treaty
July 23, 2014
Source: Maggie Severns, Politico


Opening Doors to People With Disabilities Worldwide
July 23, 2014
Source: Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


IBM names West accessibility chief
July 22, 2014
Source: Larry Dignan, ZDnet


Global disabilities treaty passes committee but faces a tough fight in the Senate
July 22, 2014
Source: Patricia Zengerle, MedCity News


Announcement: Today the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) delivered a felicitations letter to our Hon Sam K. Kuteesa, the incoming President of the UN General Assembly.
July 21, 2014
Source: Mwesigwa Martin Babu, Member - UNCRPD Committee of Experts, Deputy Executive Director & Head of Prog


Man Must Crawl To Second Floor To Register Disability Rights Organization
July 21, 2014
Source: Zubeda Hamid, The Hindu


Joint Press Release: European Court on Human Rights says NGOs can secure justice for otherwise voiceless people who die at the hands of the state
July 21, 2014
Source: Mental Disability Advocacy Center


Georgetown Uni, Qatar to become disabled-friendly
July 21, 2014
Source: Aby Thomas, Construction Week Online


Disability discrimination commissioner condemns 'lifters, not leaners' slogan
July 21, 2014
Source: Daniel Hurst, The Guardian


Removing Barriers to Financial Independence for People With Disabilities
July 20, 2014
Source: Kathleen Ujvari, Public Policy Institute


Nordstrom ads feature models with disabilities
July 20, 2014
Source: Associated Press


Making Aircraft Lavatory Accessible To Blind People
July 18, 2014
Source: Roberto Castiglioni, Reduced Mobility Rights

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of July 2014:
  • 158 Signatories
  • 147 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 82 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Burundi Ratified the Convention on April 22, 2014

Angola Ratified the Convention on April 19, 2014

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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