Spring 2017

The USICD Board of Directors and staff are happy to announce that 2017 will be USICD's 25th Anniversary!
USICD was incorporated as the United States Council for International Rehabilitation in 1992, and became the USICD we know today in 2002.  From our beginning and continuing today, we remain the U.S. member in both Rehabilitation International and Disabled Peoples' International, and our membership continues to include the leading disability organizations and visionary advocates in the U.S. today.  We have grown over the years from a small, volunteer driven organization to one with a staff, office, a diversity of programs, and a global network of colleagues and partners. 

In 2009 when USICD launched a campaign for United States signature and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), you answered the call to action.  When President Obama ordered his ambassador to the United Nations to sign the CRPD in 2009, we celebrated together.  And when we lost our only vote yet for ratification in the Senate in 2012 by 5 votes, you stood up, louder and stronger than ever.  Our community is amazing and USICD is eternally grateful to all those who volunteered their time and resources to the CRPD effort.  One day we will prevail.  And USICD will need you with us.

Please take a moment to read this newsletter full of information, our most recent Annual Report, or our website's page introducing you to our Board of Directors.  Together with you, we are committed to action and advocacy on disability rights for the one billion persons with disabilities in the world.  Your role in USICD as member, supporter, and friend is vital to our work today and our reach tomorrow.  We hope you will be a part of the future by joining USICD today!
USICD Releases Consolidations of Disability Citations in the 2015 State Department Human Rights Reports
Each year, the U.S. Department of State releases an extensive compilation of human rights reports covering the previous calendar year for 194 different countries around the world. The full set of human rights reports for a single year can easily fill thousands of pages. For people who want to see only the disability-related citations woven throughout these reports, it can take a long time to wade through these thousands of pages to find them.

USICD's team has done the work for you! Each year, USICD staff and interns seek out references to disability issues throughout the State Department human rights reports and consolidate them into a single file for each major geographical region. These regional reports are also consolidated into a single, much larger file. Each file can be downloaded in accessible PDF format. The disability consolidations covering the year 2015 have just been completed and are now available via USICD's website. You also can find disability consolidations going back to the year 2010:

USICD's team is now working on consolidating disability citations that were in the US State Department reports covering the year 2016, which were recently released. We will announce in our newsletter when the 2016 consolidations become available sometime later this year.
DRI Releases Report on Survivors of Fire at Guatemala Institution 
Recently, Disability Rights International (DRI) released a new report After the Fire: Survivors of Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción at risk On March 7, an institution for more than 700 children, Hogar Seguro, burned down. More than three dozen girls died

The report details what happened to the survivors of the fire at the institution and the grave danger that they are still in as they are moved to other institutions in Guatemala. DRI calls on the Guatemala government to return the survivors to their families and allow them to live in the community. 

Cover for After the Fire Survivors of Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción at risk with a picture of a boy chained to a fence
Eric Rosenthal, Founder and Executive Director of DRI, was on the investigative team that wrote the report. Eric Rosenthal is on USICD's board of directors. 
Zero Project Report 2017 Released
The Zero Project has published its current research on employment and vocational education & training: 56 Innovative Practices and 11 Innovative Policies have been given awards as Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies of the Zero Project 2017. In addition, Zero Project Social Indicators measure the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in 120 countries, with a focus on employment (as defined in Article 27). 
To the left is a new sprout with three emerging leaves, to the right the name Zero Project is spelled out

The Zero Project has started its second four-year research cycle and revisits employment - first covered in 2013. 260 practices and 48 policies were nominated by the Zero Project network of 3,000 experts, both with and without disabilities. Network members were also involved in evaluating, shortlisting, and voting for the most outstanding models using the criteria of innovation, impact and scalability. All Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies are now fully searchable, as is the project's full database, using the new search algorithm on the Zero Project website:
Disability -- World Policy Analysis Center
The World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles has recently released public electronic maps of global laws and indicators reflecting the policy situation of people with disabilities around the world. Their new resources review the progress toward commitments under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in countries' constitutional and legal provisions. The package of data, fact sheets, and policy maps are meant to celebrate global progress, spur further action, and reach new audiences. 

The fact sheets focus on Work and Disability, Family Health and Disability, Education and Disability, and Constitutional Protections of Civil and Political Rights.  

The mission of the World Policy Analysis Center is to improve the quantity and quality of comparative global data available to policymakers, citizens, civil society, and researchers around the world.

 Explore their data on disability-related policies around the world at
M-Enabling Summit - Promoting Accessible Technologies and Environments
M-Enabling Summit Global Conference and Showcase will be held on June 13-14, 2017 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, in Washington, D.C, with the IAAP, the internatio
nal Association of Accessibility Professionals  Pre-Conference Session on June 12, 2017. With its theme of "Making Connected Things and Services Accessible for All", the 2017 M-Enabling Summit will provide a platform for empowering technologies and focus on next-generation innovations and breakthroughs for users of all abilities.

Ajit Pai, the newly appointed Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will be delivering a keynote address at the 2017 M-Enabling Summit. 

For more information on registering to attend the M-Enabling Summit, please visit

To view the agenda click here:

*Register before April 28th for our early bird discount! 

M Enabling Summit Promoting Accessible Technologies and Environments June 13 to 14 2017 in Washington DC IAAP Pre Conference Session June 12

USICD Joins Endorsement of Global Call to Action for Disability Inclusion
USICD has joined various other international organizations in endorsing a global call for all agencies planning and implementing international development and humanitarian projects to be more inclusive of people with disabilities in everything they do. 

The coalition of organizations behind the call to action The title in green says Global Call to Action for Disability Inclusion dated Dec 2016 The picture shows an image of various men and women seated and interacting with each other with smiles acknowledge there has been significant progress, in part due to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the inclusion of people with disabilities in some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But they also note that people with disabilities are still being excluded from many significant initiatives meant to reduce poverty levels, improve education access for all children, or provide humanitarian relief around the world.


New USICD Fellow from South Korea Shares First Impressions of the U.S.
Semin Seo stands next to USICD Banner which says The United States International Council on Disabilities  Connecting the Global Community of Persons with Disabilities Semin Seo has recently joined USICD as a fulltime fellow from South Korea who is here in the U.S. via the German American Chamber of Commerce in California. She will assist USICD staff on a range of projects from March through September. She is a graduate student at the University of Public Policy in Yeungnam, South Korea, working toward a Master's degree in International Development cooperation, with concentrations in international aid and welfare system policy and in project management. 

This is Semin Seo's first trip to the United States. She has written a brief blog post sharing her first impressions of the country:

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In This Issue
USICD Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary!
USICD Releases Consolidated Disability References in the 2015 State Department Human Rights Reports
DRI Releases Report on Survivors of Fire at Guatemala Institution
Zero Project Report 2017 on Innovative Disability Rights Practices and Policies is Released
Disability -- World Policy Analysis Center Releases Maps of Policy Situation of People with Disabilities
M-Enabling Summit on Accessible Technologies and Environments to be Held June 2017
USICD Joins Endorsement of Global Call to Action for Disability Inclusion
New USICD Fellow from South Korea
Events and Opportunities
M-Enabling Summit Global Summit and Showcase, promoting technologies and environments, will be held June 13 - 14, 2017, in Washington, DC.

The next World Down Syndrome Congress will be held in Scotland, July 24-27, 2018, sign up to be notified when more detail becomes available

1.5 Million of Tanzania's adolescents are Not in School Despite the Government's Positive decision to Make Lower- Secondary Education Free

What is Happening to Refugees with Disabilities in Greece; People with Disabilities Who are from Middle East and Asia  

For more international disability news, events, and opportunities as they occur, check USICD's Twitter FeedUSICD's Facebook page, or USICD's LinkedIn page!
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Board of Directors

Patricia Morrissey - President

John Wodatch- Vice President

David Hutt - Treasurer

Glen White - Secretary

Marca Bristo - Past President

Lex Frieden                    Candace Cable

Jennifer Dexter

Jill Houghton

Axel Leblois

Barbara LeRoy

Janet Lord

Susan Mazrui

Jerry McCloskey

Faith McCormick

Sheila Newman

Stephanie Ortoleva

Susan Parker

Debra Perry

Neil Romano 

Eric Rosenthal

Diana Samarasan



Government Representatives

David Baquis (US Access Board)

Joan Durocher (NCD)

Meredith DeDonna (ODEP)

Marcie Roth (FEMA)

Sue Swenson (OSERS)

CRPD Ratification Watch
As of April 2017:
  • 160 Signatories
  • 173 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 92 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Suriname ratified the convention on March 29, 2017

Federated States of Micronesia ratified the convention on December 7, 2016

Democratic Republic of Korea ratified the convention on December 6, 2016

Samoa ratified the convention on December 2, 2016

Belarus ratified the convention on November 29, 2016

Central African Republic ratified the convention on October 11, 2016

Iceland ratified the convention on September 23, 2016

Netherlands ratified the convention on July 13, 2016

Comoros ratified the convention on June 16, 2016

Finland ratified the convention on May 11, 2016

Brunei Darussalam ratified the convention on April 11, 2016

Sri Lanka ratified the convention on February 8, 2016

Antigua and Barbuda ratified the convention on January 7, 2016

Sao Tome and Principe ratified the Convention on November 5, 2015

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