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Friday, May 31, 2013


The United Nations Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DSPD/DESA) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. It is also available online at:

In this issue:

- Status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Highlights from the UN system
- Upcoming calendar of events
- Other news


ratifications and 155 signatories to the CRPD
76 ratifications and 91 signatories to its Optional Protocol (OP)

6th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
The 6th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP6) will be held from 17 to19 July 2013. The theme for this session is: “Ensuring adequate standard of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities within the framework of the CRPD”. The sub-themes are: 1. Economic empowerment through inclusive social protection and poverty reduction strategies; 2. Disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes; and 3. Community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society. The deadline for application for side-events for States, UN agencies and accredited NGOs has been extended to 14 June. Application forms are posted on the Enable website. Prior to the Conference, a multi-stakeholder Civil Society Forum (CSF) will be organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA), Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), Rehabilitation International (RI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), with the usual support of DESA and sponsored by States Parties. (


Update on the High-level Meeting on Disability and Development

The High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development (HLMDD, will take place on 23 September, this year. Prior to the meeting, a negotiated outcome document will be prepared by Member States, informed by input from organizations of persons with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders. The preparatory process of the HLMDD is described on the Enable website and includes a range of consultations. Regional consultations have taken place in Brussels (25 April), Bahia, Brazil (17 to 18 May), Bangkok (15 to 16 May) and Tunis, Tunisia (29-30 May). (

Achieving rights and inclusion for indigenous persons with disabilities
A side-event was held during the 12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) on 22 May organized by DESA and co-sponsored by AusAID, International Disability Alliance (IDA), and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF). The event highlighted the recent UNPFII report “Study on the situation of indigenous persons with disabilities, with a particular focus on challenges faced with respect to the full enjoyment of human rights and inclusion in development” (E/C.19/2013/6), as well as the unique situation and challenges facing indigenous persons with disabilities in relation to human rights and development. Panelists explored and identified next steps and actions to be taken to improve the situation of indigenous persons with disabilities and mainstream their rights into the broader human rights and development frameworks of the United Nations, particularly the post-2015 development agenda. (

DESA - Call for submissions to the UN Database of Experts on Disability
DESA is currently expanding its database of experts with knowledge and experience on disability-inclusive development.  The list will be used as a reference tool to help identify participants who may contribute to on-going efforts to mainstream disability in the development agenda, toward 2015 and beyond, including upcoming experts meetings, regional conferences and other events on this issue. Submissions will be accepted until 14 June 2013 via an online survey. Further information will be requested after a primary review of all applications received. (

International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2013
The theme of this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities is: “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all”. A major focus of the Day is practical and concrete action to include disability in all aspects of development, as well as to further the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. To make the most of the Day, activities may highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as promote public awareness to break barriers and open doors to realize an inclusive society for all. By 3 December 2013, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the outcome document of the HLMDD will be available and may be used to provide a blueprint for action to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all! (

OHCHR Report 2012
The OHCHR Report 2012 presents the annual report of the organization and shows a growing emphasis on human rights within the international discourse on peace and security and development. It provides information on treaty body strengthening; substantive input into the Rabat Plan of Action against incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence; servicing the second cycle of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review; and supporting Council-mandated activities, including two new intergovernmental working groups and three new special procedures mandates. It also reports on technical assistance to implement recommendations issued by the human rights mechanisms; training on human rights principles for the judiciary and law enforcement agents; and advice to civil society to help rights-holders exercise their rights. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) celebrates 20 years of existence in 2013. Disability and persons with disabilities are covered throughout the publication, and specifically included in a section under the chapter on Discrimination. (

ECLAC – EGM on regional priorities on disability issues
An expert group meeting (EGM) was convened by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, on 14 to 15 May 2013 to define strategic priorities for a regional agenda on the situation of persons with disabilities. The EGM was attended by 70 specialists and representatives of Governmental, non-governmental and other international organizations. The two-day meeting concluded with an intense debate to finalize a set of agreed strategic priorities that will be shared by Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) and ECLAC. (

ECLAC – Argentina launches professional development programme on disability
On 16 May, the Government of Argentina launched its Training Programme on Disability and Access to Justice that will be offered to human resources staff and trade union delegates of the public sector at municipal, provincial and national levels. The objective of the programme is to enhance professional development and a better understanding of the CRPD and human rights approach to disability in harmony with the social model of disability. (

UNICEF launches State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities
On 30 May, UNICEF launched its flagship publication, State of the World’s Children 2013 that focused on children with disabilities. The report launched in Viet Nam and around the world, covers children with disabilities in a varying worldwide landscape. The Report argues for inclusive and equitable approaches in such areas as early childhood development, education, health, nutrition, humanitarian response and protection. Based on documented experience and examples, the report recommends ways in which Governments, the private sector, international donors and agencies, and other stakeholders can help advance this agenda. The report also gives a voice to children to encourage their position as architects and agents of change in their towns, villages and cities, regardless of ability.  To this end, in addition to the main narrative and expert technical panels, the report features perspectives, or personal essays, by policymakers, parents, care providers, celebrities and role models with disabilities and, most significantly, young people with disabilities that have accomplished personal or professional goals or are striving to do so. (

UNICEF - GPcwd Nutrition Task Force - Mapping Survey
This survey is being conducted by the Nutrition Task Force of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd), a network of more than 200 organizations, working to advance the rights of children with disabilities at the global, regional and country levels. We have recently been working on important links between nutrition and disability. The GPcwd partners have identified a major gap in information about nutrition-related initiatives that specifically target or include children and youth with disabilities from around the world. This survey thus aims to: identify and better understand what nutrition initiatives (projects, programmes or policies) exist that specifically target, include or address the rights and needs of children and youth living with disabilities from birth through 24 years of age; gather lessons that may be applied to future work and have the potential to provide a basis for funding and policy advocacy; and compile this data and disseminate it to the Task Force members and at both the GPcwd annual meeting and at the High-level meeting on disability and development in September 2013. Deadline: 15 June 2013. (

WHO - Resolution adopted on better health care for persons with disabilities
The 66th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a resolution recalling the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and endorsing the recommendations of the 2011 World report on disability.  The resolution urges States to implement the CRPD; develop national action plans; and improve data collection. It also encourages States to ensure that all mainstream health services are inclusive of people with disabilities; provide more support to informal caregivers; and ensure that people with disabilities have access to services that help them acquire or restore skills and functional abilities as early as possible. It also calls on WHO to support the United Nations General Assembly's High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (23 September 2013) and prepare a comprehensive WHO action plan with measurable outcomes for next year's World Health Assembly. (

Victim Assistance Experts’ Workshop
Austria and Colombia, in their capacity as Co-Chairs of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, convened a victim assistance technical experts’ workshop entitled “Assistance to Child Victims of Landmines/ERW” on 30-31 May in Geneva. The workshop worked to develop guidelines on ways and means to address particular challenges faced by girls and boys who are victims of mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. As of 1 June 2013 all European Union countries are legally bound by the Convention banning landmines! (

(Send us information on major international disability events for possible inclusion in the list below)

6 to 7 June: M-Enabling Summit 2013
The second M-Enabling Summit 2013: Global Summit on Accessible Mobile Technology for Senior Citizens and Users of All Abilities is organized by the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and E.J. Krause and Associates (EJK) in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ensuring substantial participation for leading international mobile service providers, policy makers, apps developers and manufacturers. (

17 June: LCD/UCL Conference: Promoting equity
Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre will organize a conference for the UKAID DFID-funded Cross-Cutting Disability Research Programme taking place at University College London, UK. The programme explores how to mainstream a disability component into general international health and development research in a number of selected low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa through partnership with other UK Government-funded research programme consortia, such as urban agriculture; mental health, stigma and poverty; water and sanitation and maternal and child health. ( and

27 to 28 June: Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries
The Symposium, to be held at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, will focus on improving and increasing access to technology and rehabilitation products and services with the goal of ensuring full inclusion and participation for persons with disabilities in low-resourced communities in low and middle income countries. (

2 to 3 July: Include 2013: Global Challenges and Local Solutions in Inclusive Design
The event will be organised by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Hong Kong Design Centre and the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (

2 to 13 September: 10th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(Details forthcoming)

9 to 11 September: 6th International Urban Design Conference
The Conference will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  The conference "UrbanAgiNation" urbanisation | agitation | imagination will examine future density and infrastructure requirements in cities. The call for abstracts is now open. (

23 September: High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD)
(See item above). 

24 September: Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd)
A second meeting of the GPcwd will take place on 24 September, the day following the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development. The Partnership includes a separate task force on education, nutrition, humanitarian action, and assistive technology. (

13 October: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2013
This year's commemoration will focus on disability. The theme of the Day is: "A Not So Obvious Conversation - Disability and Disasters”. (;

16 to 18 October: 2nd International Conference of the WFD
The 2nd Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) will be held in Sydney, Australia under the theme: “Equality for Deaf People”. (

3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
(See item above)

(DISCLAIMER: The information below is provided by civil society organizations and others for informational purposes only. This does not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.)

LCD- Young disabled people share their statement to the world
In Leonard Cheshire Disability’s (LCD's) new publication: Young Voices – our statement to the world, young disabled people from across the globe have come together to agree a common statement of what needs to happen to make the rights of disabled people a reality. The publication also features case studies of Young Voices groups taking action to achieve change for disabled people. Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Young Voices project brings together groups of young disabled people from 23 countries across Africa, Asia and America to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities. (

Telephone recycling funds to help make schools accessible in Turkey
The Telephone Recycling Campaign from the World Disability Foundation (WDF) will work to make schools accessible. Partnerships were agreed to between WDF and PTT (National Postal Institution) to collect old phones from all around Turkey, as well as with the recycling company to sell the old phones. The proceeds of the sales would pay to improve the accessibility of schools. WDF will work with the National Education Ministry to determine target schools. Currently, the campaign is funding accessibility improvements in seven schools around Turkey. (

CERMI disability and human rights award
The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disability (CERMI) is launching the IV edition of the CERMI Award “Disability and Human Rights. The objective of award of 1,500 Euros is to recognize scientific research that contributes to the understanding of disability as an inalienable dimension of human rights. This year the call also requests a gender approach. Nominations may be submitted along with original and unpublished work in Spanish and an accessible format. Deadline for submissions: 15 June. (

Disability summer school opportunities
The Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia (UI), the Faculty of Public Health, UI, and the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth & Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, announce their third international Summer School on disability & development. The master-level course will be hosted by the Faculty of Public Health, UI, from 8 July – 2 August 2013. (

The 5th International Disability Law Summer School – Voice & Choice will be held from 17-22 June at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. The school will focus on international disability law under the theme “Voice (restoring full legal capacity) and Choice (achieving community living in accordance with the wishes and preferences of the person). The teaching faculty is drawn from around the world, many of whom were involved in drafting the CRPD.  Participants usually come from over 20 countries including Africa and Asia which is a learning opportunity in itself.  This event is open to all and especially those interested in strategies to give power back to people with disabilities over their own lives. (

A  5-day Global Disability and Health course will be held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 17 June to 21 June with a view to  equip students with an understanding of the significance of disability in the global context, with a particular focus on aspects relevant to health in low and middle-income countries. This course is intended for those interested in the relevance of disability to epidemiology, global public health and health policy. It is equally suitable for clinicians with or without a background in disability, NGO staff involved in a wide spectrum of activities involving disabilities and allied health professions. (

Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
S-2906, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

BBC Radio 4 To Reveal 'Untold History of Disability' in 10-part-series


In a new ten-part radio series, journalist Peter White uncovers new historical sources revealing what life was like for those with physical disabilities in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Disability: A New History, starting on BBC Radio 4 on 27 May, is the first major series to explore the history of disability before the 20th century. It draws on a wealth of new research by historians across the country from sources including letters, diaries, advertisements, even jokes - all of which reveal what daily life was like for those with disabilities. This was an age before political correctness, and although some of the language used is robust, attitudes were often surprisingly compassionate.

The series sets out to challenge modern-day attitudes to disability, and the archive sources provide direct access to voices from the past. Throughout the series a rich variety of voices is heard: a man who complains he is the 'only dwarf in Liverpool'; deaf children writing home from institutions; a wounded soldier, struggling to walk with a wooden leg; a society beauty disfigured by smallpox; 'freaks' who exploited their extraordinary bodies on the streets of London - and made a fortune. Dr David Turner from Swansea University is the academic advisor to the series and an expert in disability history. He provides academic insights throughout, in addition to a number of historians from across the country.

Elizabeth Burke, Producer, says: "The great thing about radio is that we can bring these voices to life, and give listeners a chance to hear first-hand sources - many of which have not yet been published. Some of these accounts are very funny, some are moving and inspiring. This is cutting-edge historical research - it amounts almost to a new historical movement. We wanted to explore what daily life was like for people with physical disabilities, but also to look beyond that, to ideas of beauty and deformity, wider concepts of what it means to be 'able-bodied' - which had an impact on real people, then as now."

For presenter Peter White there is a strong and genuine sense of personal discovery. As a blind man he has always wondered, where were people like him in the past? "I never realised disabled people had a history. History was what happened to everyone else," White says.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, says: "I am so pleased that Peter White, one of our most distinguished presenters, has decided to take up this unexplored area of history. I am looking forward to a challenging and original series which adds to Radio 4's proud history coverage."

Notes for Editors

Disability: A New History runs for 10 consecutive weekdays at 1.45pm over a two-week period from Monday 27 May, with an hour-long omnibus edition on Friday nights at 8pm. It was commissioned by Jane Ellison for BBC Radio 4. The producer is Elizabeth Burke for Loftus.

Academic Advisor: Dr David Turner of Swansea University, who recently published the first book-length study of physical disability in 18th-century England, Disability In Eighteenth-Century England: Imagining Physical Impairment.

Historians featured: David Turner, Stephen King, Joanna Bourke , Judith Hawley, Amanda Vickery, Tim Hitchcock, Julie Anderson, Irina Metzler, Naomi Baker, Chris Mounsey, Vivienne Richmond, Caroline Nielsen, Mike Mantin, Selina Mills.

Actors bringing life to the archived first-hand accounts: Gerard McDermott, Euan Bailey, Emily Bevan, Jonathan Keeble, Madeleine Brolly.