Disaster Planning & Mitigation

A Mine-Free World, Mission Possible! ناهج زا يراع ،نیامذپ ناکما تیرومام ریتسا !

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Disaster Planning & Mitigation, News, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A Mine-Free World, Mission Possible!
ناهج زا يراع ،نیامذپ ناکما تیرومام ریتسا !

Press Release
23rd Feb – 2009, Kabul, Afghanistan – Ten years after the historic treaty banning antipersonnel mines became binding international law, campaigners in some 50 countries around the globe are taking action this week to once again draw the world’s attention to the horrific consequences of landmines and to call for renewed efforts toward a mine-free world.

“The Mine Ban Treaty has made a major difference on the ground in dozens of mine-affected countries, but despite the successes to date, too many people’s lives remain impacted by uncleared minefields, too many mine survivors are denied decent living conditions, and too many mines are still stockpiled,” said Sylvie Brigot, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).

“We always knew that pursuing a mine-free world would be a long-term mission, but it can be done. States Parties need to recommit themselves to doing everything in their power to end the suffering caused by these weapons. This is ‘mission possible’.”

To date, 156 states have joined the treaty and, as reported by the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor the stigma attached to the use of antipersonnel mines means that only two governments – Burma (Myanmar) and Russia – and a handful of non-state armed groups employed these weapons in the past few years. Some 42 million antipersonnel mines have been destroyed from stockpiles since 1997; only 13 of the more than 50 countries that manufactured antipersonnel mines in the early ‘90s still have a production capacity; trade in antipersonnel mines has virtually stopped; and large tracts of land have been cleared and returned to productive use.

However, despite the goodwill and continued partnership between governments and civil society, the task of ensuring full compliance by Mine Ban Treaty members is an ongoing challenge. Belarus, Greece, and Turkey failed to meet their four year stockpile destruction deadline on 1 March 2008, although they have since indicated that they are committed to destroying their stockpiled antipersonnel mines as soon as possible. Some states have been unacceptably slow in fulfilling their mine clearance obligations, potentially putting thousands of civilian lives at risk. Fifteen States Parties, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mozambique, Nicaragua, the UK and Yemen, had to ask last year for an extension of their tenyear deadline for clearance of mine-affected areas. Programs to address the lifelong needs of mine survivors – estimated at almost half a million people worldwide – are still grossly inadequate in the vast majority of affected countries.

Thirty-nine countries – two of which originally signed the treaty but have not ratified it – have not yet formally joined the treaty and thus remain at odds with the widespread international rejection of the weapon.

“Over the past decade we have seen elements of the new diplomacy that created the Mine Ban Treaty applied to tackle other issues, particularly cluster munitions,” said Brigot. “We strongly support the new Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, as with the Mine Ban Treaty, the real value of this agreement will be the difference it makes in the lives of people affected on a daily basis by these weapons, and how it will avoid new victims.”

The ICBL – a worldwide network of some 1,000 civil society organizations, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 – is marking the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty’s entry into force with events and activities in more than 50 countries (see list). This includes tree-planting in formerly mine-affected areas in Georgia, a creative campaign to mark dog waste in Spain with “danger: mines” warning signs, a march in the streets of the mine-affected Casamance region of Senegal, an art installations on the border between Greece and Turkey, the DVD launch of the landmines documentary film Disarm, and dozens of media events and roundtables with decision-makers.

In Afghanistan we as a representative of civil society organizations in Afghanistan are ready to support this process and to work cooperatively with you and other relevant ministries in order to ensure that we all – States Parties, survivors and disability stakeholders – are satisfied by our achievements by the 2 nd Review Conference. Afghanistan should focus in 2009 on the following priorities for those government ministries working on victim assistance in partnership with all mine action and disability stakeholders to:
* Create an up-to-date database on all disability services available in Afghanistan,
* Promote greater understanding of the socio-economic conditions of people with disabilities , including mine survivors,
* Create a directory of all emergency and continuing medical care services in mine/ERW-impacted rural areas,
* Improve physical accessibility in provinces/areas with disability, especially in public areas,
* Improve psychological support programs and social reintegration services for all mine/ERW affected areas in Afghanistan,
* Create a directory of all economic reintegration services in Afghanistan including microfinance provider, vocational training and employment centers,
* Appoint a focal point person within each relevant ministries (MoLSAMD, MOPH and MFA),
* Develop a new or extend the current victim assistance objectives and develop a clear plan of action for the post 2009 period to ensure that Afghanistan can present these objectives and plans at the 2nd Review Conference in November 2009,
* Ensure the full participation of survivors and relevant civil society actors in all VA programs including developing, implementing, and monitoring victim assistance objectives and plans,

Background & Figures
Adopted in 1997, the Treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999 – more quickly than any other treaty of its kind. This was the result of a unique partnership of visionary governments and civil society working together to save human lives and limbs. Landmines still affect 70 states, and 6 territories.

80% of the world’s states (156 countries) have adhered to the Mine Ban Treaty. Thirty-nine states remain outside the treaty, including major powers like China, Russia and the USA.

26 countries and the European Commission donated US$430 million for mine action in 2007. This is a US$45 million decrease in global mine action funding compared to 2006.

Mine Ban Treaty obligations include:
– A prohibition on the use, production, stockpiling or trade in antipersonnel mines, as well as the assistance to or encouraging of anyone involved in these activities;
– A requirement to destroy all stockpiled antipersonnel mines within four years of joining the treaty;
– A requirement to remove and destroy all antipersonnel mines from all mined areas under the state’s jurisdiction or control within 10 years of joining the treaty;
– The provision of assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims and for mine awareness programs. Campaigning and media events to celebrate 1 March will take place in: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, UK, USA, Uruguay, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia.

International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org
Landmine Monitor: www.icbl.org/lm
ALSO website: www.Afghanlandminesurvivors.org

Address: St # 12, H # 11, Between MTN Antenna and Assadullah Ghaleb Mosque Lane, Qala-e-Fathullah, Kabul Afghanistan.
Phone call: 0093 (0) 799 31 62 53 / 799 35 36 69
Website: www.afghanlandminesurvivors.org /
Email: afghan.lso@gmail.com

ناهج زا يراع ،نیامذپ ناکما تیرومام ریتسا !
یتاعوبطم رشن
5 توح 1387ناتسناغفا لباک ،: ،تسا هدرک ادیپ ار یللملا نیب نوناق تیثیح ینیمز نیام عنم یخیرات هدھاعم ،لاس هد زا دعب و نیا لقادح رد اھ رنیپماک رگید رابکی ھتفھ50 روشک رسارس ردایناھج ھجوت بلج تھج ناھج ھب نبلط و ینیمز نیام راوگان جیاتن ایند یارب ددجم یاھ ششوکییدننکیم مادقا نیام زا یراع . نیام دض یللملا نیب نیپماک رتفد یوییارجا سییر توگیرب یولسینیمز ) ICBL ( ،دیوگیم” تارییغت نیام عنم هدھاعم ار هدمع لامعً دروآ دوجو ھب نیام زا رثأتم روشک اھ هد رده اب اما ، ،اھ تیقفوم دوجومدرم زا یریثک دادعت یگدنز زونھ ارنیام مولعمان یاھ نادیم نکیم دیدھتندایز دادعت و دنرادن یسرتسد یگدنز ھتسیاش تیعضو ھب نیام ناینابرق زا یریثک دادعت ،دیدراد دوجو زونھ نیام ریاخذ “. ” نیام زا یراع ییایند ھب لین ھک مینادیم ام تدمزارد تیرومام کیتسا یندش ماجنا اما ،تسا . ورین مامت اب دیاب وضع یاھ روشک اھ تبیصم متخ یاربیدننک هرابود دھعت ددرگیم ببس حلاس نیا اب ھک .تسا نکمم تیرومام کی نیا “. ،لاح ھب ات156 روشک تسا هدرک ذخا ار هدھاعم نیا تیوضع ،ھک ار تشادداییام دض یللملا نیب نیپماک ینیمز نیام شرازگ ن ینیمز لنوسرپ دض نیام هدافتسا دروم ردھمیمض دوب هدرک – ھیسور و امرب روشک ود فرص – یتموکح ریغ حلسم پورگ دنچ و دنا هدرک هدافتسا ھتشذگ لاس دنچ رد اھ حلاس عون نیا زا . لاس زا1997 دادعت ھب وسنیدب 42هریخذ لنوسرپ دض نیام نویلیم هدش ،تسا هدیددرگ بیرخت رتشیب زا زا50روشک ناھج ھھد لیاوا رد ار لنوسرپ دض یاھ نیام ھک 90درکیم دیلوت دن طقف ،13 روشک نیام زا ولمم یاھ نیمز عیسو تمسق و تسا هدش هداد فقوت لامع لنوسرپ دض یاھ نیام تراجت ،دراد ار دیلوت تیفرظ زونھً ددرگیم هدافتسا دیلوت یارب و یزاسکاپ . و تین نسح دوجو ابکیرشت یعاسم هدھاعم یاضعا طسوت لماک قیبطت نیمأت ھفیظو ،یندم ھعماج و اھ تلود نیب موادتمعنم نیام ددرگیم بوسحم یراج شلاچ کی . ھلاس راھچ دوعوم رد دنتسناوتن ھیکرت و نانوی ،سورلابناش رد ،1 چرام 2008 شیوخ ریاخذ ، ت ھب دھعتم ھک دنا ھتشاد راعشا اھنآ ،دنچرگ ،دننک بیرخت ار مامت بیرخدنشابیم نکمم نامز تدم رد لنوسرپ دض نیام ریاخذ . یضعب لامع ار یکلم ناسنا نارازھ یگدنز و دننکیم تکرح یطب یکاپ نیام یاھ تیلووسم ماجنا رد شریذپ لباق ریغ لکش ھب اھ روشک زاً دنھدیم رارق رطخ ضرعم رد .کین ،وکیبمازوم ،انیوگزرھ و اینیسوب لومش ھب روشک هدزناپ دیاب ھتشذگ لاس ،نمیی و ایناتیرب ،اوگارا دیدمتدعوم ارناش ھلاس هد نیام اب هدولآ قطانم یزاسکاپ یاربتساوخرددندرکیم . ناینابرق تدمزارد یاھ زاین ھب ھک یاھ ھمانرب نکیم ھجوتن د–نیمخت اً ناسنا نویلیم مین ینابرق ناھج رسارس رد– ناھج رثأتم یاھ روشک رثکا رد زونھ ات رایسبدشابیم یفاکان . 39 روشک – تسا هدرکن بیوصت یلو اضما ار هدھاعم نآ روشک ود – زونھ ات دنا ھتفرگن ار هدھاعم تیوضع امسرً عیسو حیبقت اب انب ،ً دنا هدنام یقاب یلامتحا تلاح رد حلاس یللملا نیب . “یدوب دیدج یسامولپید زا رصانع داجیا دھاش ام ھتشذگ ھھد نایرج رد صوصخ ھب اھ ھلضعم ریاس یارب ار نیام عنم هدھاعم ھک م دنا ھتخاس یلمع ییا ھشوخ تامھم”تفگ توگیرب ، ” . نویسناونک امعنممینکیم تیامح ایوق ار ییا ھشوخ تامھم ً . ،دنچرگ شزرا نیام عنم هدھاعم دننام نویسناونک نیا یعقاویقرف دوب دھاوخ مدرم یگدنز ردور ھک حلاس نیا اب هرمز اھ یچ و ،دندرگیم رثأتم دنک بانتجا دیدج ناینابرق زا روط”.
ینیمز نیام دض یللملا نیب نیپماک- ابیرقت زا لکشتم یناھج ھکبش کی ً1000 لاس رد لبون حلص هزیاج هدنرب و یندم نامزاس 1997 – زا رتشیب رد اھ تیلاعف و لفاحم اب ار نیام عنم هدھاعم قیبطت زورلاس نیمھد 50روشک )تسا ھمیمض تسیل ( لیلجت ناھج دنکیم . اھ تیلاعف نیا اب ایناپسھ رد کس عایض رطاخ ھب یرنھ نیپماک کی ،ناتسجرگ رد نیام اب هدولآ یلبق قطانم رد لاھن سرغ “رطخ :نیام ” ھقطنم یاھ نابایخ رد هرھاظم کی ،رطخ ملاعا هدولآ نایم یزرم دحرس رد یرنھ راثآ کی بصن ،لاگینس سنماسک کرت ینیمز یاھ نیام دنتسم ید یو ید رشن ،نانوی و ھی”حلاس علخ ملیف ” میمصت اب رودم یاھزیم و یتاعوبطم لفاحم اھ هد و اھ هدنریگار ، لماشدوشیم . ھناخ ترازو ریاس و امش اب میھاوخیم و میتسھ ھسورپ نیا زا تیامح هدامآ ناغفا یندم یاھ نامزاس هدنیامن ثیحنم ام ناتسناغفا رد ھ ام ھمھ تیاضر نیمأت رطاخ ھب ھطوبرم یا– نیلولعم تاسسوم و ناینابرق ،وضع یاھ روشک – رد اھ درواتسد و جیاتن زا مینک یراکمھ یناث رورم سنارفنک .
لاس رد ناتسناغفا2009م یاھ داھن مامت تکراشم اب ناینابرق ھب کمک یارب ھک یاھ ھناخ ترازو رد یتآ یاھ تیولوا یور دیاب نیا دنک زکرمت ،دننکیم راک تیلولعم و یکاپ:  ؛ناتسناغفا رد نیلولعم یارب هدامآ تامدخ عاونا مامت یتاعلاطا کناب کی داجیا  ؛نیام ناینابرق لومش ھب تیلولعم یاراد دارفا یعامتجا و یداصتقا تیعضو میھفت دشر  زا رثأتم تسدرود قطانم رد موادم یحص تامدخ و یرارطضا یامنھر داجیا؛گنج نارود هرجفنم داوم و نیام  تایلاو رد یکیزف یسرتسد فاشکنا/؛ھماع یاھاج رد اصوصخم تیلولعم یاراد دارفا قطانمً  و یلکسم ھیبرت زکارم ،کچوک ھضرق یاھ کناب لومش ھب تیلولعم یاراد دارفا ددجم رارقتسا تامدخ یامنھر داجیا ؛یبایراک تامدخ  و رھ رد هدننک گنھآمھ کی مادختسا ترازو ،نیلولعم و ادھش ،یعامتجا روما و راک ترازو ،دننام ھطوبرم ھناخ تراز ؛ھجراخ ترازو و ھماع تحص  لاس زا دعب یارب صخشم لمع نلاپ کی فاشکنا و ناینابرق ھب کمک یلعف دصاقم دیدمت ای و دیدج دصاقم فاشکنا2009 سنارفنک رد ار دصاقم نیمھ ناتسناغفا ھکنیا زا ندش نییمطم و ربماون رد یناث رورم2009؛دنکیم میدقت  نیمأتمھس لماک یبایزرا و ،قیبطت ،فاشکنا لومش ھب ناینابرق ھب کمک یاھ ھمانرب رد ھطوبرم یندم یاھداھن و ناینابرق ؛ناینابرق ھب کمک یارب اھ نلاپ و دصاقم دیریگب سامت ھبحاصم و دیزم تامولعم یارب:
ینیما نامیلس ینیمز نیام دض یللملا نیب نیپماک رتفد)ICBL( 0093 799 31 62 53 +41 76 267 84 90 میال: afghan.lso@gmail.com firoz@icbl.org
ماقرا و ھنیمز سپ نیام عنم هدھاعم لاس رد1997 لاس رد و ذاختا 1999– مسق مھ هدھاعم ھب رظن –یاھ تموکح یعاسم کیرشت رثا زا و نیب کین دندرکیم کرتشم راک ناسنا یاضعا و ناج ظفح یارب ھک یندم ھعماجدمآرد ارجا ھب رت دوز . زونھ ینیمز یاھ نیام70 و روشک 6 دنکیم دیدھت ار ورملق .80 % ناھج یاھ روشک)156روشک (دنا هدرک ذخا ار ینیمز نیام عنم هدھاعم تیوضع . ھب روشک ون و یس دنمتردق یاھروشک لومشدنا ھتفرگن تیوضع زونھ ات اکیرما هدحتم تلاایا و ھیسور ،نیچ دننام ناھج .26 نویسیمک و روشک غلبم ییاپورا430یکاپ نیام ھمانرب ھب ار رلاد نویلیم لاس 2007تسا هدرک ادھا . لاس ماقرا ھب رظن نیا2006 ،45 رلاد نویلیم رد ناھج یکاپ نیام ھمانربتسا ھتشاد شھاک . تیفلکملماش نیام عنم هدھاعم یاھ :  نانچمھ و ،ینیمز یاھ نیام تراجت و هریخذ ،دیلوت ،هدافتسا میرحتاب یراکمھ اھ تیلاعف نیا رد ھک نیریاس قیوشت ای و ؛دنا فورصم  دض یاھ نیام ریاخذ مامت بیرخت ھب مازلالنوسرپ؛تیوضع ذخا دعب لاس راھچ فرظ رد  هدولآ قطانم مامت یزاسکاپ ھب مازلا لنوسرپ دض یاھ نیام اب تموکح هرادا تحت فرظ رد نآ بیرخت و10 زا دعب لاس ؛تیوضع ذخا  یھاگآ یاھ ھمانرب یارب و نیام ناینابرق یداصتقا و یعامتجا ددجم رارقتسا و ،ددجم ییایحا و رامیت یارب تامدخ ھیھت ؛نیام زا یھد رد یتاعوبطم لفاحم و نیپماک 1 چرام 2009یذ یاھ روشک رد ددرگیم رازگرب ل: تیروھمج ،ایبمولوک ،اداناک ،ایدوبماک ،لیزارب ،انیوگزرھ و اینسوب ،میجلب ،سورلاب ،ناجیابرذآ ،ایلرتسآ ،انیتنجرا ،لاوگنا ،ناتسناغفا ،ووساک ،اینک ،ناپاج ،قارع ،ایزیودنا ،ناتسودنھ ،لاامیتوگ ،نانوی ،ناملآ ،ناتسجرگ ،ھسنارف ،ایپوتیا ،وگناک کیتارکومد ،نانبل ،سیوس ،نادوس ،ایناپسھ ،اقیرفآ بونج ،ایلاموس ،ینول هریس ،لاگینس ،دنلوپ ،نیپیلف ،ناتسکاپ ،ایرجیان ،اوگاراکین ،لاپین ،ایلوگنم ایبمز ،نمیی ،یبرغ اراھس ،اوگوروا ،اکیرما هدحتم تلاایا ،ایناتیرب ،ادنگا ،ھیکرت ،دنلیات ،ناتسکجات ،ھیروس.

org.icbl.www دض یللملا نیب نیپماکنیام :
ینیمز نیام شرازگ :
نیام زا رثأتم یاھ ناغفا ھسسوم :org.afghanlandminesurvivors.www

سردآ: هرامش کرس12 ربمن ھناخ ،11ناتسناغفا لباک الله حتف ھعلق ،بلاغ الله دسا دجسم ھپوک و ابیرا نترآ نیب ،. سامت هرامش :53 62 31 799 0093 لمیا :afghan.lso@gmail.com

Thank you to the Afghan Landmine Survivors’ Organization for disseminating this announcement. Any flaws in the Darsi version of this release can likely be blamed on my clumsy attempt to copy/paste it from PDF into this blog.

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NEWS: Disabled People Lack Assistance After Myanmar Disaster

Posted on 23 November 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia Pacific Region, Inclusion, News | Tags: , , , , |

In humanitarian disasters, people with disabilities are often more at risk and disproportionately affected by crisis situations. Yet they are persistently forgotten and left behind by most of the mainstream agencies that are supposed to help. Unfortunately, this has happened once again during and after the recent cyclones in Myanmar. (Given how often this situation occurs, it would perhaps be more accurate to term this article “Non-News” rather than “News.”)

It is reported that very little of the relief dollars sent to Myanmar has filtered down to people with disabilities in the country. Yet, despite the fact that people with disabilities are both more likely to need assistance and less likely to actually receive it, they are often not even included in most mainstream reports meant to assess the situation in Myanmar.

Read more detail about the situation for people with disabilities in post-cyclone Myanmar in the article entitled Myanmar: Disabled People Await Post-Cyclone Aid at the humanitarian news and analysis page for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

People interested in the fate of people with disabilities in humanitarian crisis situations may wish to browse other We Can Do blog posts on Disaster Planning and Mitigation (consult the pull down menu under “categories” in the right hand navigation bar). A few items of particular interest include:

I found the link to the Myanmar story via a recent issue of the newsletter for Disabled People’s International.

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Report from Seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction for Deaf People, Persons with Disabilities

Posted on 30 September 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Deaf, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , |

Deaf people, and people with disabilities, are often at high risk during natural disasters and other large-scale emergencies. A seminar on disaster risk reduction for people with disabilities was held in Pakistan last July 2008. A summary of the lectures and presentations are available on-line at:


Among other things, people may read a summary of a lecture describing a curriculum and teaching strategies used to teach deaf students how to protect their safety during disasters. Also included are bullet points from a speech that makes recommendations for the importance of including people with disabilities generally in all stages of disaster prevention and preparation.

We Can Do learned about this conference report via an email circulated by Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, who was one of the presenters at this conference.

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RESOURCE: Guidelines on Mental Health in Emergency Situations

Posted on 24 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Natural disasters and conflicts can threaten people’s ability to survive. The most urgent need is usually to bring them food, water, shelter, and other basic services. But emergency situations also can be traumatizing. Even people who did not have any psycho-social disabilities before the emergency may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. And people who already had psycho-social disabilities may be at higher risk during emergencies. Professionals in the humanitarian field increasingly recognize the need to address these challenges in the weeks and months following the start of an emergency situation.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) has released the “IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings,” (PDF format, 831 Kb) which offers suggestions for how professionals can better coordinate services across multiple sectors and agencies to meet the mental health needs of people in emergency settings.

This 99-page publication points out that most mental health services during these situations are very fragmented and poorly coordinated. Some efforts may simply duplicate services already offered without improving upon them. Meanwhile, some dire needs may be overlooked entirely. The answer, they say, is for more agencies, humanitarian organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop working in isolation and start coordinating efforts with other agencies working in the same location.

They emphasize, “Implementation of the guidelines requires extensive collaboration among various humanitarian actors: no single community or agency is expected to have the capacity to implement all necessary minimum responses in the midst of an emergency” (IASC Guidelines, p. 7).

The guide’s inclusion of issues specific to people with existing psycho-social disabilities, including people in institutions, is good to see. People with psycho-social disabilities generally tend to be perhaps the most overlooked among people with disabilities, and people who are forced into institutions are even more forgotten and abandoned by society.

It is disappointing, however, that the guide, at least in my cursory glance at it, did not seem to have more than superficial references to the mental health needs of people who might have physical or sensory disabilities, either with or without additional psycho-social disabilities. This was a missed opportunity to point out, for example, that deaf people may need sign language interpreters or other communication assistance to fully participate in “talk” related services (support groups, etc.). Or that natural disasters, war, and other emergencies can themselves cause new disabilities–and that people may struggle in the first few months afterwards to adjust, psychologically and socially, to their new situation. Or that people who happen to have both a psycho-social disability and also a physical or sensory disability may have been excluded from mental health services even before the emergency–and should not be overlooked during and after.

But, for people concerned with the mental health needs of all people during emergency situations, this guide may serve as a starting point in thinking how to coordinate broader efforts in addressing them. They can download the guide (PDF format, 831 Kb) at:


People interested in the needs of people with disabilities during emergency situations in general might also be interested in the following prior blog posts at We Can Do:

And do also become familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which, among other things, obligates the countries that ratify it to protect the safety of people with disabilities during humanitarian emergencies (see Article 11 of the CRPD).

We Can Do learned about this guide via the email discussion group for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development.

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RESOURCE: Refugees with Disabilities: Facts and Solutions

Posted on 27 August 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Inclusion, Resources, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What population in the world is the most excluded, marginalized, or simply forgotten? Many readers of this blog probably would immediately say, “people with disabilities.” But if you were to talk with someone who is a refugee from war, or someone who works with them, they might immediately say, “refugees.” So who is right? I suspect probably both. So what then of refugees with disabilities–forgotten both by people in the wider disability community and by people who work with refugees? Even this blog, in more than 300 posts, has only barely mentioned them before.

The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in June 2008 released two publications highly relevant to this community. The first is a report, Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations (PDF format, 1.81 Mb, 76 pages), that provides an overview of the situation facing disabled refugees. The second publication is meant to give workers some guidance in how they can ensure that refugees with disabilities are fully included in their programs: Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations: Resource Kit for Fieldworkers (PDF format, 328 Kb, 32 pages).

The report estimates that there are about 2.5 to 3.5 million refugees with disabilities around the world–enough, I would point out, to fill a small country. Not surprisingly, the report finds enormous challenges: shelters, food and water distribution centers, latrines, schools, health centers, and other vital services are often inaccessible. Refugees with disabilities are sometimes actively excluded from vocational training programs. Or, if they’re not intentially denied the right to participate, then they are often inherently excluded by the lack of appropriate accommodations.

Refugees dispersed in urban centers, away from refugee camps, often are even worse off. In concentrated refugee populations, at least it becomes easier to identify people with disabilities and thus to tailor services for them. But refugees living in the community, because they may be undocumented, are reluctant to identify themselves to receive services, whether or not they have disabilities. Furthermore, refugees with disabilities in urban settings are often ignored both by services for refugees generally and also by local Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs): in short, they often are being served by no one.

The good news is, some services do exist, including efforts to provide education to children with disabilities at least in refugee settlements. In some locations, refugees with disabilities and their families have organized their own self-help groups.

The accompanying resource kit is targeted at United Nations, nongovernmental organization (NGOs), and Disabled persons’ organization field staff who work with refugees, asylum seekers, and internationally displaced people with disabilities. Readers can consult this kit for ideas on improving services and protection for people with disabilities so they can participate more fully in their communities. If you’re looking for concrete, prescriptive guidelines and checklists, you won’t find that here. What you will find are questions that planners and decision makers should know the answers to, or find the solutions for. These offer broad guidelines as to the kinds of problem areas they should be on the look out for, with suggestions for how to address them.

At first glance, it seems an excellent start–with plenty of room for improvement. The Women’s Commission seems to be highly conscious of this: the introduction indicates they hope to build upon this publication in the future with input from, among others, DPOs and displaced people with disabilities themselves.

Download the report (PDF format, 1.81 Mb) at:


Download the resource kit for fieldworkers (PDF format, 328 Kb), at:


We Can Do found this resource via the Disabled People International electronic newsletter and also during the course of assembling resources to go up on the Resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website. (The latter is still being constructed, but check back in late August or early September.)

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PUBLICATION of Emergency Management Research and People with Disabilities: A Resource Guide

Posted on 26 April 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From: Gracer, Bonnie
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 7:09 PM
Subject: NIDRR Announces New Document – Emergency Management Research
and People With Disabilities: A Resource Guide

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is pleased to announce the release of a new online publication: Emergency Management Research and People With Disabilities: A Resource Guide.

This resource guide is the culmination of cooperative efforts by NIDRR, the Department of Education, the Research Subcommittee of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities (ICC), and the New Freedom Initiative Subcommittee of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.

The guide provides a listing and description of research projects funded by the US federal government and nonfederal entities, research recommendations that have come out of conferences on emergency management and disability, and a bibliography of relevant research publications. It is our hope that this guide will facilitate the development and implementation of a nationwide research agenda on emergency management and people with disabilities, so that we can develop a strong evidence base about the best ways to ensure the safety and security of people with disabilities in emergency and disaster situations.

This report is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs, the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research Web site at http://www.ncddr.org/new/announcements.html the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) Web site at http://www.naric.com/public/pubs.cfm, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research Web site at http://www.icdr.us/.

You can download the Emergency Management report in Word format (2.1 Mb), or you can downlaod the Emergency Management report in PDF format (813 Kb).

On request, this publication is available in alternative formats, such as Braille, large print, audiotape or computer diskette. For more information, contact the Department’s Alternate Format Center at 202-260-0852 or 202-260-0818.

Please feel free to spread the word.

Thank you to Bonnie Gracer for circulating this notice.

We Can Do readers will note that the publication described here is written in the United States and, accordingly, seems to be oriented more toward the needs of people in developed countries. But I share it here in case some of the content may be of use to people in developing countries or among international development and disaster preparedness professionals working on related issues. We Can Do readers will also want to see an earlier post on the World Disasters Report 2007 which focuses on how discrimination can put people’s lives at risk during disaster.

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Bonn Declaration on Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations

Posted on 8 April 2008. Filed under: Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Inclusion, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following Declaration was published at a recent international conference in Bonn, focused on people with disabilities in humanitarian emergency situations.

International Conference: Disasters are always inclusive. Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations
Bonn, 7 – 8 November, 2007

Preface – Situation Analysis
In humanitarian emergency situations, persons with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable groups of society and tend to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of disasters. At the same time, they often remain ‘invisible’, even though their number statically makes up approximately ten percent of any population. Persons with disabilities, be they of physical, sensory, intellectual or psychological nature, are most often not included in the various stages of disaster response and in disaster preparedness measures, neither as recipients of aid to meet their basic as well as specific needs, nor as active stakeholders and designers or planners of aid measures, voicing their own needs and opinions. In addition, the incidence of new disabilities created by disasters is often not sufficiently taken into account and not responded to in an adequate, long-term manner, neither by local Governments, local NGOs or Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs), nor by intervening international NGOs. This lack of long-term rehabilitation perspective can lead to detrimental or even fatal outcomes for injured disaster victims, even after the disaster has long since passed and is no longer present in public awareness. This includes the neglect of severe trauma symptoms, which, if not professionally dealt with, can result in permanent psychological disabilities.

As a basis for a change of mindsets as well as for concrete action, the UN Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in December 2006, constitutes the crucial instrument of international law to claim and reinforce equality and full participation of persons with disabilities. Article 11 calls for State parties to undertake “all measures to ensure protection and safety for persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters”.

In humanitarian emergency situations, humanitarian aid agencies and other stakeholders are called to comply with minimum standards and indicators of humanitarian aid in order to secure and protect lives, especially of vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities. These minimum standards and indicators can be valuable guidelines, but are not yet sufficiently explicit and practical with regard to inclusion of persons with disabilities (for example refer to the handbook of The Sphere Project, 2004 edition).

In conclusion to the international conference “Disasters are always inclusive! Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations”, held November 7 and 8, 2007, a number of recommendations for inclusive disaster preparedness and emergency response in the sense of “Humanitarian Aid for ALL” were deduced. It was the common understanding that the most important and at the same time most difficult requirement is to change mindsets in such a way that inclusion becomes a matter of course. From there to actual practical adjustments towards inclusiveness of disaster preparedness and response programs is a much easier step.

I. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Response in General
II. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Preparedness Planning
III. Recommendations for Inclusive Response in Acute Emergency Situations and Immediate Rehabilitation Measures
IV. Recommendations for Inclusive Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Development Measures

I. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Response in General
It is important to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities, their families and communities as well as Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) at every stage of disaster response, from planning to implementation, in order to cater for basic as well as special needs of persons with disabilities in pre, acute and post disaster situations.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusion in all stages of disaster response are:
1) Enable full participation of persons with disabilities and their families as active stakeholders and advisors;
2) Guarantee full accessibility for persons with disabilities and their families to information and services in pre, acute and post disaster situations;
3) Strive for involvement and creation of ownership of local government structures with regard to inclusive disaster response measures;
4) Lobby for government action plans for inclusion / disability mainstreaming in disaster response;
5) Strive for cooperation and networking between humanitarian aid agencies and organisations specialising in disability issues, both on the national and international level;
6) Define and learn from “best practices” of inclusion / disability mainstreaming in disaster response;
7) Adapt existing disaster response guidelines to include criteria and practical indicators for inclusion of disability issues;
8) Provide easily applicable methodologies and tools for practical inclusive action in disaster response;
9) Establish (self-)evaluation mechanisms to monitor and improve the quality of inclusion measures in disaster response;
10) Allocate adequate funding for disability issues in disaster response budgets as well as in development aid budgets for disaster prone areas.

II. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Preparedness Planning
Special focus must be directed towards inclusive disaster preparedness planning to ensure effective inclusive disaster response when an emergency actually takes place (be prepared = best case scenario).

Since the emergency affects local people in situ on the level of local communities, disaster preparedness planning must be community-based. Tailor-made community based disaster preparedness planning can then respond adequately to the special situations and needs of ALL, including vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, in a given community.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive disaster preparedness planning are:
1) Raise sensitivity and awareness that disaster preparedness is important for all members of a community;
2) Raise sensitivity and awareness that persons with disabilities have basic and special needs that require specific attention in an emergency situation;
3) Mobilize and strengthen the capacities of local human resources, in particular individuals with disabilities, their families (especially the parents of the intellectually disabled), their village communities, local government structures, existing local DPOs, local research institutes etc;
4) Provide theoretical and practical training on disability issues (knowledge and skills) for relief workers, volunteers, family members etc. – Possible training topics: understanding disability and related basic and special needs; understanding and overcoming barriers; acquiring and improving practical skills by exercising communication techniques and evacuation methods adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities etc;
5) Involve disabled people themselves, their families and local DPOs in local needs assessments (participatory vulnerability mapping of communities);
6) Involve and train disabled people themselves, their families and local DPOs for participation in local disaster response task forces;
7) Establish a system of accountability for all involved stakeholders (local NGOs, voluntary task forces, local government structures etc), based on a catalogue of criteria / indicators and easily applicable self-monitoring systems to determine the degree and quality of inclusive preparedness.

III. Recommendations for Inclusive Response in Acute Emergency Situations and Immediate Rehabilitation Measures
Most often the “best case scenario”, meaning that inclusive disaster preparedness planning has taken place and preparedness measures are implemented, is not given at the incidence of disaster. Nevertheless, it is possible to include persons with disabilities in relief and in immediate rehabilitation measures.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive relief and immediate rehabilitation after an acute emergency are:
1) Include issues of disability in rapid assessments of aid relevant sectors;
2) As a tool for rapid assessments, use easy to handle (updated) checklists which comprise disability related questions;
3) Find and provide assistance for the ‘invisible’ persons with disabilities already living in the disaster affected communities, including those with intellectual and psychological disabilities;
4) Pay adequate professional medical attention to newly injured or disabled persons to avoid medical complications, secondary disabilities or even fatal outcomes;
5) Avoid aggravation of injuries or new disabilities by inadequate transportation of injured persons during evacuation;
6) Pay adequate attention to the emotional and social needs of disaster victims to help them overcome normal trauma symptoms;
7) Pay adequate professional psychological attention to disaster victims displaying severe traumatic symptoms to avoid long-term psychic disabilities;
8) Include local and international experts for special focuses in rapid assessment teams and advisory teams, such as disability experts, psycho-social trauma counsellors, experienced persons with disabilities etc;
9) Strive for coordination of intervening stakeholders on the spot, for example through cluster meetings of local and international NGOs representing different aid sectors, including disability specific organisations;
10) Build alliances with other vulnerable groups, because what you do for one group (persons with disabilities) is often also valuable for others (elderly persons, pregnant or nursing mothers, mothers with many children etc);
11) Incorporate tools for inclusion in the context of relief and immediate rehabilitation into the next revision of The Sphere Project handbook (knowing about these tools is also an aspect of preparedness);
12) Link relief and immediate rehabilitation activities with long-term rehabilitation and development by negotiation and cooperation with local Governments and authorities.

IV. Recommendations for Inclusive Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Development Measures
Inclusive reconstruction and development, focussing on participation and empowerment of all groups of society and especially of vulnerable groups, leads to better living conditions than before the disaster and at the same time to a higher level of preparedness and thus reduction of vulnerability in the face of a potential next disaster.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive post-disaster reconstruction and inclusive development are:

1) Apply principles of universal accessibility for ALL, including flexibility for adaptations to various needs of persons with disabilities when implementing housing reconstruction projects;
2) Include universal accessibility features when involved in planning and reconstruction of infrastructure and public facilities;
3) Involve beneficiaries as active participants in every stage of the reconstruction project cycle;
4) Facilitate and monitor inclusive planning and reconstruction with the help of expert advice from skilled and specialized persons with disabilities;
5) Allocate sufficient time for sensitization, awareness raising, negotiation and cooperation with key (local) stakeholders, such as affected communities, persons with disabilities and their families, DPOs, local authorities (community and national levels), professionals (architects, engineers) etc;
6) Lobby for government policies and minimum standards for barrier-free reconstruction, including reconstruction of infrastructure and public facilities (refer to article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities);
7) Raise awareness for cost efficiency of barrier-free reconstruction from the very beginning as compared to subsequent technical adjustments;
8) Further develop and apply tools (checklists, manuals) for barrier-free reconstruction and adapt them to local environments (adjustment of minimum standards to local context);
9) Strive for continuation of medical care and rehabilitation as well as psycho-social support for persons injured or disabled by the disaster through their integration into long-term local public health programs;
10) Support the development of a referral system linking existing facilities required in long-term rehabilitation;
11) Develop self-help capacities of persons with disabilities and their families through livelihood programs (professional training, income generating projects);
12) Monitor and evaluate long-term rehabilitation and development measures to make necessary changes for improved impact and sustainability;
13) Make disaster preparedness planning a crucial element of and a trigger for inclusive community development (refer to paragraph I. of this document).

The Bonn Declaration was composed and published as result of the international conference “Disasters are always inclusive. Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations” which took place from 7 – 8 November, 2007, in Bonn/Germany.

The conference was organized by Disability & Development Cooperation (bezev), Kindernothilfe, Christian Blind Mission, Caritas Germany International Dptm., Handicap International and Der Paritätische Gesamtverband.

Further information and documents on ‘Humanitarian Aid for All’, Inclusive Disaster Preparedness and Response are available under: www.bezev.de

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NETWORK on Emergency and Disability

Posted on 18 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

*Call For Participation In New Network On Emergency And Disability*

Deadline: No deadline and no charges

An informal network is being set up with the objective of providing a platform for dialogue and exchange of information amongst stakeholders interested in issues relating to disability and disaster.

The creation of this network was established as part of the European Union (EU)’s “Rescuing Injured Disabled Persons in Case of Disaster” and “Flooding: Response and Simulation Schemes for Safety of Disabled” projects. Building a solid network of stakeholders in Europe and strengthening the dialogue between experts, researchers and existing networks on the subject will establish a foundation for the sustainability of these projects and its achievements.

For information, please email madamoli@ulss20.verona.it

We Can Do first learned about this network through the Disabled People International newsletter.

Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (https://wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.

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REPORT: World Disasters Report 2007: Focus on Discrimination

Posted on 29 January 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Children, Cross-Disability, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Human Rights, Inclusion, Reports, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Disasters Report (2007) examines what happens to various vulnerable groups during disaster situations, particularly women, elderly people, minorities, and people with disabilities. This report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies includes many stories of how discrimination and exclusion has made it harder for some people to survive or meet their needs during and after disaster situations. It also includes guidance and recommendations on how agencies, governments, and communities can improve efforts to ensure that emergency aid reaches the most vulnerable people. Discrimination can occur on the basis of ethnic or social origin, language, religion, gender, age, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation.

The World Disasters Report points out that, although discrimination exists before disaster, an emergency can exacerbate it. However, that discrimination is often invisible because official data on older people, ethnic minorities or people with disabilities may not exist. Furthermore, aid agencies often do not even analyze the needs of vulnerable people when they carry out emergency assessments. And vulnerable groups are usually not included in the disaster planning process before, during, or after emergencies. This accummulative discrimination can be life-threatening during a crisis. Even after the crisis, people who have suffered discrimination may take longer to recover or to regain their livelihoods.

The World Disasters Report calls for agencies to do better in planning for the needs of vulnerable populations, saying bluntly, “One-size-fits-all relief planning is unhelpful in overcoming discrimination” (p. 15).

We Can Do readers will clearly have a particular interest in the chapter that focuses on the needs of people with disabilities during disasters. Information for this chapter was gathered from both industrialized and developing countries. Stories of discrimination are presented, including stories of how emergency shelters and emergency relief agencies have sometimes contributed to the problem. But you can also find stories highlighting the valuable contributions people with disabilities could make for everyone when they are included in disaster planning efforts. This chapter provides an overview of the barriers that can make it harder for people with disabilities to survive disasters or recover their lives afterwards. And it reviews how agencies and others can remove these barriers.

However, even people who wish to focus primarily on the needs of disabled people may still wish to read the full report. In particular, some of the needs of elderly people are similar to some of the needs of people with disabilities. Also, all the issues covered in this report are cross-cutting issues: any population of disabled people will clearly have people among them who are elderly, or women, or children, or gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, or ethnic minorities, or other minorities. Disabled people who also belong to some other minority group may experience dual or triple discrimination that can create additional barriers during crisis situations.

Read chapter summaries, download individual chapters for free, or order print copies of the report at:


The full report can be downloaded in PDF format (4 Mb) at:


We Can Do learned about the World Disasters Report through the Disabled People’s International newsletter. Further information was gathered from the report itself.

This article has been cross-posted, with some modifications, at the RatifyNow web site with permission of author.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Human Security, Social Cohesion and Disability

Posted on 29 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cross-Disability, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Human Rights, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, technology, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Call for Papers – Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (www.rds.hawaii.edu)

Human Security, Social Cohesion and Disability

Guest Editors: Gregor Wolbring, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary;

Anita Ghai, Department of Psychology Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi;

Kirk Allison, Program in Human Rights and Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota;

Human security and social cohesion are two central requisites for the medical and social well being of disabled people. Science and technology (S&T) advances often seen as essential for disabled people also impact on human security and on social cohesion. Human security according to the Commission on Human Security is concerned with safeguarding and expanding people’s vital freedoms. It requires both shielding people from acute threats and empowering people to take charge of their own lives. The Commission identified economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, political security, freedom from fear, and freedom from want as primary concerns.

Social cohesion in very general terms means: All that which brings people together (European New Towns Platform). In Canada the following description is in use: “Social cohesion is the ongoing process of developing a community of shared values, shared challenges and equal opportunity within Canada, based on a sense of trust, hope and reciprocity among all Canadians.” (Jeannotte and Sharon, 2001). This has also been articulated complementarily in terms of social capital which has been defined among others as “features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (Putnam 1995).

More about the concepts can be found in the below references:

  • Gregor Wolbring (2006). Human Security and NBICS http://www.innovationwatch.com/choiceisyours/choiceisyours.2006.12.30.htm
  • Gregor Wolbring (2007). NBICS and Social Cohesion http://www.innovationwatch.com/choiceisyours/choiceisyours-2007-01-15.htm
  • Caroline Beauvais and Jane Jenson.(2002) Social Cohesion: Updating the State of Research. Canadian Policy, Research Networks, Canadian Heritage, Ottawa. http://www.cprn.com/doc.cfm?doc=167&l=en
  • European New Towns Platform. (2005). “The Top 8 Specific Challenges for Social Cohesion in New Towns.” http://www.newtowns.net/themes
  • Definitions of Social Capital http://www.analytictech.com/networks/definitions_of_social_capital.htm
  • Social Captial Initiative, Working Paper 1, 1998, http://go.worldbank.org/W8FMEK6FR0
  • We are honored that the theme for an issue of The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal will be human security, social cohesion and disability. This topic is chosen because the discourse around human security and social cohesion is of central importance for disability studies and for the well-being of persons with disabilities. At the same time discourses in disability studies can crucially clarify and test the discourses of human security and social cohesion.

    Thus, we urge potential contributors, regardless of their fields of training, to articulate their ideas about human security, social cohesion and disability. We especially encourage contributors to envision:

    • Future threats to human security and social cohesion including threats linked to new and emerging sciences and technologies processes and products and their impact on disabled people.
    • How disability studies discourses have generated tools and will continue to generate tools which can be used to minimize future threats to social cohesion and human security.
    • Other possible prevention strategies and fixes to possible future threat to human security and social cohesion.

    We encourage the submission of empirical case studies and theoretical models and we especially encourage contributions which cover the topic from a low income country background.

    Potential contributors to this Special Issue might consider:

    1. What is the “disability,” the discrimination angle of human security and social cohesion?
    2. What is the body image angle of human security and social cohesion?
    3. What is the importance of the disability studies angle on human security and social cohesion for other marginalized groups, for the marginalized majority of the world?
    4. What are potential future threats to human security and social cohesion and what would the impact be on disabled people?
    5. What are the cultural angles of human security and social cohesion?
    6. What is the role and potential of law?
    7. What empirical evidence and theoretical models illuminate the processes and effects?
    8. What is the impact of emerging social concepts such as transhumanism, which is?
    9. What is the impact of new and emerging sciences and technologies?
    10. What role does or could disability studies be playing in the interaction between new and emerging sciences and technologies and human security and social cohesion?
    11. How do or do not the human security and social cohesion discourses serve the needs of disabled people?
    12. What are the connections between human security and violent conflict?
    13. What are the relationships between development and poverty reduction, human security, and the prevention of violent conflict?
    14. What is the impact of natural disasters on those with disabilities in terms of security and cohesion
    15. How can social capital be discussed in context of disabled people, human security and social cohesion?

    Send via email 250-word abstracts, by March 31st, 2008 to Guest Editors Gregor Wolbring gwolbrin@ucalgary.ca ; Anita Ghai anita.satyapal@gmail.com and Kirk Allison alli0001@umn.edu. Please be sure to send abstracts to all editors. For those abstracts that are selected, we will request completed articles of approximately 3000-5000 words two months after the note of invitation to submit a full article was sent. Note that an invitation to submit an article based on an abstract does not guarantee publication of that article in The Review of Disability Studies.

    For more information about The Review of Disability Studies, please go to www.rds.hawaii.edu

    We Can Do received this announcement via the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) email distribution list, which can be joined for free.

    The Review of Disability Studies journal has been featured before at We Can Do: see an earlier, more generic call for papers at RDS, or see a listing of previous RDS articles relevant to people with disabilities in developing countries, with abstracts.

    Check for other calls for papers.

    Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

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    UPCOMING Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Book

    Posted on 9 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    I have now been informed that the editors for this book are NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW SUBMISSIONS. This notice is left in place for informational purposes ONLY, and so that people can seek out the book after it is published.

    WAS Recruiting chapter authors for a new book
    Estimated Completion Date: August 2009
    [Again, please note that the date for author applications has now passed and all desired authors have been selected.]

    Book title: Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: Creating a Trauma Membrane for Individuals and Communities and Restructuring Lives after Trauma

    WAS Recruiting for these chapters:

    1. Survival stabilization: This chapter covers the dynamics of providing physical sustenance, medical assistance, and housing to individuals after a conflict situation.
    2. Psychological stabilization and crisis intervention: This chapter contains short-term interventions that can be used in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, as well as interventions that are appropriate for several weeks following the crisis. Denial of trauma will be covered in this chapter.
    3. Physical rehabilitation: This chapter outlines the basic principles of physical rehabilitation, and the current trends and techniques that are used in developed and developing countries.
    4. Psychological rehabilitation for veterans: This chapter addresses acute, conflict-related mental health issues, such as combat stress reactions, grief reactions, and Acute Stress Disorder. Psychological services offered near the front line are explained.
    5. Psychological rehabilitation for civilians: This chapter details acute, post-conflict mental health issues from the civilian side, which may include terrorization from military sources. Thus, grief reactions, Acute Stress Disorder, and other psychological reactions to acute stress will be discussed.
    6. Trends in coping with trauma: This chapter will review the empirical literature published on coping with traumatic events. This includes gender-related differences in coping with trauma, and distinctions between veterans and civilians.
    7. Social reconstruction and economic stabilization: Processes are discussed by which governments and NGOs formulate plans, rebuild infrastructures, and develop resources.
    8. Political and social rehabilitation: This chapter focuses on how inter-group tensions are stabilized and healed after treaties are signed and the war or conflict stops (i.e., community-level interventions).

    Erin Martz, Ph.D. (Editor), Assistant professor, 119D Patterson Hall, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152 USA

    As of September 23, 2008, I have been informed that authors are no longer needed for this endeavor.

    We Can Do received this announcement via the email distribution list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (<a href=”GPDD mailing list“>GPDD). However, neither We Can Do nor GPDD are associated with this publication endeavor. Although it is no longer possible for authors to offer their writing skills, people interested in the topic may wish to keep their eyes open for the release of this book after August 2009.

    Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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    Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

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    CALL FOR INFORMATION: Implementing the CRPD

    Posted on 5 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Human Rights, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

    The following post is copy/pasted from an email from Mugiho Takeshita; any responses should be sent directly to her email address, NOT to We Can Do:

    From: Mugiho Takeshita [mugiho.takeshita@undp.org]

    I am working on disabilities issues for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. We have been developing a discussion paper for proposing sustainable and comprehensive crisis prevention and recovery approaches for persons with physical and mental disabilities caused by landmines, small arms and violence in conflict and in post-conflict situations, and by natural disasters.

    For developing this paper, I would like to know some examples of:

    • How countries that signed the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) have modified their regulations and laws (including existence of committees working on this); and
    • What they have been doing concretely for persons with disability, after the adoption of the CRPD.

    We will use the information to include into our discussion paper, mentioned above, which will be circulated inside of UNDP, and possibly to other UN agencies and organizations. We would also like to have your feedback, in case we decide to circulate externally our paper for reviewing.

    Thank you very sincerely for your support.

    Kind regards,

    Ms. Mugiho TAKESHITA
    Early Recovery & Cross-Cutting Issues Team
    Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR)
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    11-13 Chemin des Anémones
    Châtelaine, CH-1219 Geneva, Switzerland
    Tel.: +41 22 917 8113
    Email: mugiho.takeshita@undp.org

    This email from Mugiho Takeshita was circulated on the mailing list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD).

    Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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    PAPER: Impact of South Asian Earthquake on Disabled People

    Posted on 27 October 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Impact of the South Asian Earthquake on Disabled People in the State of Jammu and Kashmir
    Parvinder Singh, Ph.D. Candidate
    Jawaharlal Nehru University

    Abstract: On the morning of October 8, 2005, a devastating earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck the Kashmir region with its epicentre near Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-administrated Kashmir. It took a while for both India and Pakistan to comprehend the scale of destruction that the quake had unleashed. In the two weeks following, the quake had left over 50,000 dead on the Pakistani side of the India-Pakistan border and claimed 1,300 lives on the Indian side. A second wave of deaths was expected with the onset of the region’s notorious winter.
    Our thoughts immediately went to what may be happening to disabled people in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, though we knew the answer, based on our bitter experiences of seeing disabled people being neglected even in the so-called normal scenarios. Our National Disability Network partner in the mountainous and violence ravaged State confirmed our fears of the “general neglect” being compounded in the wake of this calamity.
    With information gained from the Asian Tsunami and impending legislation on Disaster Management on the floor of Indian Parliament, we decided it was imperative to draw up the difficulties that disabled people face during natural disasters to facilitate some churning of our national consciousness and possibly a policy intervention. What follows is an account of a fact-finding mission, its findings and recommendations, on the impact of the Kashmir quake. It is a story of persistent neglect, which turns grave when calamities strike.

    Key Words: disaster, Kashmir earthquake, disability


    Late last year, a devastating earthquake shook the Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent. The two rival nations, India and Pakistan, were united in grief as the scene of death and destruction unfolded. But as this event showed, just like Hurricane Katrina almost halfway across the globe, those who are collectively consigned to the margins of policy focus and safety plans are not only the worst sufferers of disasters, but also the least attended. India did not have a disaster management policy when the South Asian Earthquake took place. It was in a phase of finalisation. But the policy makers once again failed to focus on the needs of over 700 million disabled and aged people, as the final draft of this plan did not make even a single mention of these sections of the population.

    Impact of South Asian Earthquake on Disabled People

    On the morning of October 8, 2005, a devastating earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck the Kashmir region with its epicentre near Muzzafarabad in Pakistan-administrated Kashmir. However, it took a while for both India and Pakistan to wake up to the scale of destruction that the quake had unleashed. In just the two weeks since, the quake had left over 50,000 dead on the Pakistani side and taken 1,300 lives in India. The toll rose substantially by the second wave of deaths with the onset of the region’s winter.

    Immediately after the quake, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), Disabled Peoples’ International – India (DPI – India), and the National Disability Network (NDN) contacted the NDN State Partner, Javed Ahmad Tak of Helpline, a Non-Government Organization (NGO) working for the rights of disabled people in the remote parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Through him we came to know stories that went beyond what the newspaper headlines could capture, particularly with regards to the status of people with disabilities. Their plight was multiplied manifold due to the reported lack of coordination and inaccessibility.

    With these concerns in mind, a team consisting of myself, Senior Project Coordinator with NCPEDP and Mukhtar Ahmad and Muzzamil Yakub, both from a local disabled peoples’ NGO Helpline, visited quake affected areas in Kashmir from October 18th to 20th to take first hand stock of the status of the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation process with a specific focus on people with disabilities. The objective was to get disability included in the long-term rehabilitation plans being mooted by sensitising the State’s polity and the civil administration. Further, we also wanted to understand the disability scenario in the region: the administrative framework, implementation of the Disability Act, and the existence of disability NGOs–including their functioning, reach, and awareness levels that will help in planning their work for the future.

    We visited hospitals, relief camps, and villages in Baramulla, Uri, Tangdhar, and Salamabad. During the course of our visit, we contacted the Honourable Governor, Lieutenant General Shri S.K. Sinha, State Social Welfare Minister Shri Mula Ram, and the State Human Rights Commissioner Justice A. Mir. We also spoke to other personnel, including several local officials, medical staff, and doctors, as well as quake-affected people. But before detailing our first-hand experience of the chaos and ordeal of people in the State, it is important to conceptualise the unique and not so-unique aspects of the State, particularly its status as a conflict zone.

    Kashmir: Disaster and Disability in a Conflict Zone

    The State of Jammu and Kashmir has had a history of violence and political turmoil ever since India and Pakistan attained political independence from British rule in 1947. The two neighbours have fought full-scale wars in 1947 and 1971, besides a near-war like conflict in 1999 called the Kargil War, over the region. The bone of contention between the two nations has been the treaty of accession that was signed by the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir and Lord Mountbatten in 1947 through which the state was ceded to India. Pakistan has refused to accept this fact.

    The State was thrown into turmoil in the 1990’s as Islamic militancy grew roots in the region and enlisted thousands of local youth into the vortex of violence. Today the State has the largest deployment of soldiers and para-military in any single region in India. This conflict combined with political discontent among the locals has given birth to an extremely complex sociophysiological situation in the State. Deaths, gunfire, blasts, disabilities, and unaccounted disappearances have subjected the local population to trauma associated with a conflict zone for several years. The impact on vulnerable groups has been severe, particularly women and disabled people. A number of civil society groups are engaged in providing support to a wide social group undergoing mental health issues, including widows, rape victims, and orphaned children.

    The State dubbed by many past rulers as “a heaven on the earth” for its breathtaking mountainous beauty, offers difficult living conditions due to its severe winters and inaccessible terrain that is compounded by poor infrastructure. The people here are predominantly Muslim and have a strong ethnic identity. A large part of the State formed a very volatile border with Pakistan until a recent cease-fire agreement came into force. The cross-border shelling and heavy artillery fire has been a constant feature for people living in the bordering villages. This shelling and artillery fire has been a major cause of physical disability, along with insurgency related causes.

    It needs to be underlined here that, at least so far as our Indian experience is concerned, disabled people and issues related to them are way down the list of social and administrative concerns as the so-called pressing issues that confront a much larger or visible vote-bank are given a precedence. This situation holds true for Jammu and Kashmir as well. However, what makes it worse here is that the agenda of development has found a very myopic interpretation here, as this unending violence has not allowed any sustained growth.

    Various institutions like schools and hospitals reflect a lack of even basic accessibility features. Javed, our local disability NGO partner, has been fighting for years now to get some disability-friendly changes initiated in the Kashmir University. After each incident of violence that gets noticed nationally, authorities almost spontaneously issue token compensation and artificial limbs to disabled people. This effort, however, is never sustained to make those affected economically and socially independent. Curfews are an order of the day in the streets of the Kashmir Valley and incidents abound of people being shot in the dark of the night because they were too slow in responding to a call by troops to move away or step into the light. Problems of sanitation, portable water, and transport make life for disabled and aged people very tough.

    Relief Distribution Left Disabled People Unattended

    After the earthquake, it was a clear display of the Darwinian theory of the survival of the fittest when it came to relief distribution, which for the most part was a hit-and-run drill of dumping relief materials by NGOs, political parties, and charitable trusts. This scene was apparent all along the National Highway No. 1/A from Baramulla onwards. Though there was plenty of aid, the takers of the relief material distributed through this method were ironically very limited in number. These were largely young boys who could slug it out in the jostling crowd. We saw this at least at a dozen points starting from the outskirts of Uri.
    As we spoke to persons with disabilities who received aid, we were astonished by their stories. One said:

    “I have walked here with great difficulty. My braces are my only mode of travel as the artificial limb that was given to me by the Indian Army at the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar (winter capital of India-administered Kashmir) has cracked and I will need a new one…There is a mad rush when relief is being distributed. People are desperate. My father is very old and I have five sisters. This makes me the only one in the family who can come out and hunt for relief. My house has got destroyed completely and we have been camping in the open for past eleven days.”

    The 22-year-old man had lost his right limb a few years ago when a shell landed on his house. He was trapped in the ensuing fire. He had been trekking over seven kilometres each day, since his house was destroyed in the quake, to the District Medical Centre in Uri to try his luck and get some blankets.

    This experience is indicative of why a targeted approach is needed for people with disabilities, who face unimaginable difficulty in accessing relief in times of disasters. This problem was compounded in the case of Kashmir due to its mountainous terrain and the general inaccessibility of the region. The small settlements in the area defy the usual conception of a village and might be no more than a set of six to eight houses far from the navigable road. As I moved around the fringes of the highway that led to the neighbouring Pakistan border, I kept hearing of families stuck near their destroyed dwellings in the hills as the able-bodied male members came out to get in touch with lower-level government employees who almost always double as relief workers in case of calamity.

    The Uri region has been a focal area for projects run by state power and construction companies. They were one of the first institutions, after the Indian Army, who had set up relief and first aid centers. I spoke to some of the officials manning these and was told that they had not seen any disabled person coming over from the villages in the hills. “It is unlikely that a disabled person would trek so far in these circumstances. We have sent teams out on foot, but in my knowledge they have not reported having met any in this area (Salamabad),” said an official manning a small centre set up by Hindustan Construction Company.

    My personal observation revealed three disabled people slugging it out in the crowds that had gathered at relief distribution points. This struggle for relief material brought to my mind the general neglect that disabled people face in the country on account of lack of policy focus, which in turn is fostered by lack of empowerment and awareness among people with disabilities.

    Lack of Coordination and an Existing System with Specific Focus on Disabled People

    According to an estimate of the disability sector, there are over a million people with disabilities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. A large number of these people have been disabled due to incidents relating to mine explosions, shelling along the Line of Control, and militancy-related violence. In view of the above situation, the lack of attention that the civil administration and its officials displayed in terms of attending to people with disabilities came as a surprise.

    As happens after every disaster in the sub-continent, the employees of Union and State governments are rushed to these areas to open rather ill-equipped so-called relief centres. These junior-level employees are not trained to deal with such scenarios. “There is no specific brief to be kept in mind so far as disabled people are concerned. I will definitely help them on account of humanity. We know things can be tough for them,” said an official at a point set up by the National Hydro Power Corporation.

    We visited an Information Centre set up by the State Administration outside the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s office in Uri to find out if any disabled people had approached them for help. The officials on duty told us in general that those approaching them were NGO workers, and not victims. “Can you tell me what villages we can go to? I have been waiting to find an area where we can help victims affected by the quake…it has been two days,” said David Martin from US-based charity called Helping Hands. “All of us have been affected by the quake. Why are you enquiring only about people with disabilities? They will ultimately receive some help,” said an official outside the District Hospital in Uri.

    My interaction clearly brought out the general lack of coordination. People from affected villages blamed politics or apathy as the reason for the lack of timely relief. It also highlighted the absence of orientation towards the needs of disabled people.

    Quake Injuries Indicate A Likely Rise in Disabilities

    During our visit to hospitals in Baramulla, Uri, and Srinagar we attempted to take stock of the kind of treatment people with disabilities needed, the assistive or orthopaedic devices they needed, and the nature of the injuries that were being reported. Dr. S.A. Rashid, Medical Superintendent of the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar stated:

    “The true picture of rehabilitation that these victims will need would emerge only in the coming months. Most of these injuries were caused by dislodged objects. Quite a few of these people would not be able to function as before. There are cases of compound fracture that may get complicated, and some of them may even need amputation.”

    The office of Medical Superintendent at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences voiced the same opinion. Doctors on duty said that the majority of the 211 cases related to the earthquake were of injuries to the limbs and head. Dr. Samina of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences added that:

    “Three amputations have taken place so far (till 20th October). These include two men and one girl. They have been referred for surgery. In fact the girl’s amputation was done today itself.”

    I also observed reluctance on the part of doctors and hospital medical staff in sharing information, possibly because of heavy politicisation that saw leaders of all hue frequenting these hospitals.

    Dr. Jatinder Singh of the Bone and Joint Hospital in Srinagar told us of three amputations in his hospital. He also mentioned that several other cases could end up with amputations. For instance, he added a seven-month-old infant had suffered multiple fractures and was brought in 12 days after the earthquake and there was a great chance that he could end up with a disability. He also informed us about one patient, Khalid, who had a disability on account of severe dislocation of a knee and was now on the verge of amputation, even as the doctors were trying to save him from it. These visits clearly highlighted the need for both immediate and long-term intervention for providing aids and appliances, apart from medical intervention to avoid or minimise instances of disabilities.

    I was also told about a team of doctors from the National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata [Calcutta], having visited these hospitals and meeting some of the victims who have undergone amputations. But as highlighted by the doctors, there is a need for more organized and exhaustive undertakings.

    I came across some NGO workers who were engaged in counselling of victims suffering from trauma. One such group, from Delhi, was manning a small centre beyond Salamabad, barely 5 kilometres from the Line of Control (unofficial India-Pakistan). “In a single day we have received about 120 people coming in for the first time since the quake. Most of these people have very minor problems and are here more because this is their first touch with compassion, after being shocked and traumatized by the destruction and death around them,” said an NGO worker.

    The valley has had a known prevalence of trauma cases since the time insurgency took root, and with the quake it is going to increase. We felt that the people need a greater engagement by the way of easy and accessible counselling, as short-term/temporary measures would not help.

    Rehabilitation Must Take A Macro-Approach to Integrating the Needs of Disabled People

    Moreover, Commanding Officer of 56 Rashtriya Rifle, an elite anti-terrorist unit of the Indian Army that operates in the Uri sector stated that:

    “As our men were close to the area of impact and are well-versed with the topography here, we reacted immediately to carry out rescue operations. We continue to coordinate with the administration and civilians in getting across the relief. But our role cannot be long-term or stretched beyond a point. The civil administration will have to step in and rehabilitate the people affected by the quake.”

    This quotation sums up the challenge with which the civil administration is confronted. This phase of rehabilitation in Kashmir is going to be as important as that of relief, as the availability of a cover over the head would mean a difference between life and death.
    “Our homes have got destroyed by the wrath of nature. As it is, the life is difficult here. We are among the lucky few who are putting up in the tent city. But we will have to return to pick up pieces and rebuild our lives,” said Noor Mohammad who is putting up at the tent camp near Tangdhar, an area which has sustained the greatest damage on the Indian side of Line of Control, in terms of property. While some families in Tangdhar and Uri districts have decided to reconstruct the damaged houses using re-usable material, the state government is providing each of them with financial assistance of Rs. 100,000 [100,000 rupees] for reconstruction work. In addition, 450 engineers of the state government are being trained in two batches to guide families in rebuilding their damaged houses. Building demonstration centers are also being set up in six places in the two districts.

    Almost 26 villages have been adopted by various agencies including the Army, Air Force, Border Security Force, the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) and the Delhi Government. But on the projected requirement of 30,000 tents, the Government has managed to procure just over half that number.

    Despite two major disasters in recent years, the Asian tsunami and the Kashmir earthquake, governments have failed to wake up to the need for placing an administrative system in place to make special provisions to ensure expeditious rescue and relief for disabled people. The long term policy measures that have been announced since then also do not reflect any learning on the part of the governments on the devastating impact that disasters have on disabled people who are not only worst hit, but also last to get any rehabilitation. An explanation for the complete neglect of disabled people by policy makers can be found in the corresponding lack of awareness and political rights of disabled people in this part of the world. A society and polity attuned to the rights of its marginalised sections is the only solution for an effective and inclusive disaster policy.

    Another issue that will have to be addressed is that of the lack of a technical knowledge-base that impedes a systematic response to these disasters. The chaos that follows these disasters is also responsible for overlooking marginalized sections of the population. The training of disaster response teams and civil and administrative coordination in such situations would have to be addressed and while doing so the needs of vulnerable sections would have to be prioritized.


    Following this visit, we made following broad recommendations to the Government of India:

    1. There is an urgent need to collect data on disabled people who have been affected by the earthquake. Not only should we look at the data of those who have been rendered disabled, also that of those with a disability who have survived but are affected and people with psychosocial problems compounded or caused by the disaster.
    2. Concrete and time-bound plans must be made to address disability concerns in revival of livelihoods, achieving convergence among all on-going programs of sustainable development, and reconstruction.
    3. Disabled-friendly and inclusive built environments must be considered when reconstruction of shelters (temporary or permanent), schools, health centres, housing facilities, water and sanitation facilities, etc. takes place.
    4. International and other N.G.O.s supporting the Government in relief/rehabilitation/reconstruction work should include disability on their agenda.
    5. Disability should be a priority area for any policy that is being formulated for preparedness, mitigation and management and other efforts to prepare us to face similar challenges with confidence, and competence in the future.
    6. This is a good opportunity to correct the mistakes. The Disability Act should be enforced in the State.

    Parvinder Singh is a Senior Project Coordinator with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People in Delhi, India. He has worked as a journalist and social science researcher, and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Modern Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    This paper was originally published in The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS), a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, international journal, published by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was published in Volume 3, Issue 3, 2007 (376 Kb in Word doc format). The main page of the journal is at http://www.rds.hawaii.edu/. Thank you to Parvinder Singh and the editors of RDS for their permission to publish this paper at We Can Do.

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