April 2015
Dear USICD Members and Friends:
Please keep our colleagues in Nepal in your hearts this week as they recover from the earthquake there. 
I have just returned from a week in Myanmar (see article below) meeting with the disability community there.  This is such an exciting time as the cross-disability movement there organizes around a shared vision: the equal rights, dignity and celebration of people with disabilities.  

I was honored to make this visit on behalf of the USICD membership-and it wouldn't have been possible without you.

Have you ever thought about what membership in USICD means to you?  First of all, you're in good company with all your fellow members.  Your community of fellow members shares the vision for the rights of persons with disabilities-at home, in Myanmar, and around the world.  That's a large community!


Also, I hope you'll agree that the monthly USICD newsletter is 

a valuable publication.  You will find in it every month a current, comprehensive look at the progress of persons with disabilities internationally and in U.S. foreign affairs, as well as opportunities to engage with the global disability community.


We offer a bargain membership fee of only $25 for individuals, $300 for organizations.  Simply GO HERE and renew on our secure site.  Would you consider an extra donation of 

$25 to give USICD a boost?


With thanks,

David Morrissey


Disability Coalition Building in Myanmar
In 2014, USICD joined as an implementing parnter in supporting cross-disability coalition building in Myanmar with USAID and World Learning.  USICD Executive Director David Morrissey visited the country in April 2015 to meet DPO leaders and provide a training on disability advocacy.


David meets Nay Lin Soe, Executive Director of the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative.
A video segment about the training which ran on television in Myanmar is available by clicking on this still image:

GWU Graduate Students Evaluate USICD's GDRL Project
Three GWU students pose with three NONDO representatives, one seated in a wheelchair
GWU Students with representatives of Northern Nomadic Disabled Organization in Kenya
USICD has been coordinating with a team of graduate students at George Washington University on an evaluation of the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) project.  The three students at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs traveled to Kenya and Uganda to visit a few of the organizations in these countries that host an eGranary Digital Library and its collection of disability and human rights digital materials.  

They conducted extensive interviews and observations
Three GWU students pose with eight UDEWO members, some seated some standing
GWU students with representatives of United Deaf Women's Organization in Uganda
to assess the effectiveness and impact of the GDRL project on these organizations.  They are completing an evaluation report that will include recommendations for how these and future library partnerships can continually improve and reach more stakeholders.  USICD thanks students Kyle Hayes, Danielle Korngold, and Arisa Nakamori and George Washington University, our partners in Uganda and Kenya, and the WiderNet office at the University of North Carolina for supporting global disability rights!
M-Enabling Summit 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The M-Enabling Summit is the only program exclusively dedicated to promoting mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and users of all abilities. It is an annual meeting place for all who create and contribute accessible ICT products, services and consumer technologies.


With its theme of "Smarter Living for All," the 2015 M-Enabling Summit will provide a platform for empowering mobile technologies and focus on next-generation innovations and breakthroughs for users of all abilities.

Bringing together professionals, corporations, service organizations, and key thought leaders, the M-Enabling Summit is an all-inclusive conference and showcase featuring innovative technology, mobile applications, connected devices, and services for this sector's more than one-billion users worldwide. 


The 4th edition of the M-Enabling Summit Global Conference and Showcase will be held on June 1-2, 2015 in Washington, D.C.


USICD Executive Director meets with visitors from Russia and Belarus 
David Morrissey meets visitors from Russia and Belarus in Washington DC on April 21, 2015
On April 21, 2015, David Morrissey provided the keynote address to a delegation from Russia and Belarus.  Hosted by Meridian International in Washington, DC, the event was a part of the visitors' 21-day exploration of disability policy and services in the United States under the International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State.  
Disability Rights International (DRI) research reveals shocking dangers and violence faced by children living in orphanages in Ukraine
Kiev, Ukraine
April 16, 2015

Today, DRI released its groundbreaking report, No Way Home: The Exploitation and Abuse of Children in Ukraine's Orphanages, the result of a three-year investigation into the country's egregious human rights violations, perpetrated against its most vulnerable citizens - children locked away in orphanages, institutions, boarding schools and other segregated facilities. 

The report found children - both with and without disabilities - exposed to life-threatening neglect, physical and sexual violence, forced abortions and at-risk for being trafficked for sex, labor, pornography and organs. Locked away in remote facilities and with reported numbers of institutionalized children varying greatly, from 82,000 to 200,000, no one really knows how many are detained in them.


Click here to continue reading article on USICD's website

Click here to read the report on DRI's website.

Read press coverage of the report in the New York Times.


Rehabilitation International Holds Event on Women with Disabilities
Capitol latter R and lowercase letter i intertwined and forming the outside edges of a globe.
Rehabilitation International logo
In March, Rehabilitation International (RI) held a side event as part of the United Nations 59
th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), in order to highlight the need for the mainstream women's movement to include women with disabilities in their advocacy efforts.  The event was entitled, "Women with Disabilities: 20 Years After Beijing," and featured disability experts from Nigeria, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United States, and Norway.


DPI meets with UN Agencies 
DPI Global Chair, Javed Abidi on his last day in New York met with representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women. 
The meeting at UNDP was with Sarah Rattray, Global Policy Specialist for Human Rights Rule of Law, Justice and Security Governance and Peacebuilding and Emanuele Sapienza, Policy Specialist, Civic Engagement Inclusive Political Processes Governance and Peacebuilding Policy and Programme Support. 

Abidi shared with them the concerns DPI has vis-a-vis the exclusion of disability in Goal 1 on Poverty Eradication and Goal 3 on Health under the Post-2015 development agenda. 

UNDP representatives felt that just the way the Millenium Declaration opened the doors for a lot of discussion during the MDGs, the Political Declaration may be a good tool for the further strengthening of disability inclusion in the Post 2015 Agenda.

Abidi also met Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women. Satu Lassia, Senior Adviser and Joeng-Shim Lee, Advisor, Intergovernmental Support were also present. 

UN Women representatives were very happy to learn about the advocacy being undertaken by DPI and encouraged Abidi to carry on lobbying with various Country Missions and National Governments through it's 153 country strong membership base.


Javed Abidi, Global Chair, DPI with Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women


We are also happy to share with you that DPI's Global Chair, Javed Abidi was invited earlier today by the UN to join in the Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon's video message for the upcoming World Autism Awareness Day that will be celebrated on April 2, 2015.


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In This Issue

Events and Opportunities


CRPD Ratification Watch
As of April 2015:
  • 159 Signatories
  • 154 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 86 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:

Kazakhstan Ratified the Convention on April 21, 2015

Turkey Ratified the Convention on March 26, 2015

Marshall Islands Ratified the Convention on March 17, 2015

Vietnam Ratified the Convention on February 5, 2015

Samoa Ratified the Convention on September 24, 2014

Guinea Bissau Ratified the Convention on September 24, 2014

Guyana Ratified the Convention on September 10, 2014

Republic of the Congo Ratified the Convention on September 2, 2014

Grenada Ratified the Convention on August 27, 2014

Burundi Ratified the Convention on May 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 
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Board of Directors

Patricia Morrissey - President

Lex Frieden- Vice President

David Hutt - Treasurer

Glen White - Secretary

Marca Bristo - Past President

Candace Cable

Jennifer Dexter 

Jill Houghton

Axel Leblois

Barbara LeRoy

Susan Mazrui

David Oaks

Stephanie Ortoleva

Debra Perry

Neil Romano 

Jeff Rosen

Eric Rosenthal

Diana Samarasan

Betsy Valnes

John Wodatch 

Tom Zampieri


Government Representatives

David Baquis (US Access Board)

Joan Durocher (NCD)

Meredith DeDonna (ODEP)

MarcieRoth (FEMA)

Sue Swenson (OSERS)

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