CONFERENCE: Around the Deaf World

Posted on 21 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, Events and Conferences, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Around the Deaf World in Two Days (It’s a Small World): Sign Languages, Social Issues/Civil Rights, Creativity

A conference will be held on signed languages, social issues, civil rights, and creativity within the Deaf community. The event will meet on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA on February 29-March 1, 2008. ASL (American Sign Language) and BSL (British Sign Language) Interpreters will be provided. CART services (i.e., live transcription/captioning) will be provided at some events.

Some of the lectures held during these two days focus on Deaf communities in industrialized countries. But a few may be of interest to people who wish to focus on Deaf communities in developing nations:

  • Angela Nonaka will speak on indigenous and village signed languages in Thailand
  • Ann Senghas and Marie Coppola will speak about the development of Nicaraguan Sign Language
  • Sandra Wood will speak about the acquisition of Brazilian Sign Language by homesigners
  • Amy Wilson and Nickson Kakiri will highlight the best practice for collaborating with Deaf communities in developing countries
  • Jun Hui Yang will speak about social situations and the education of Deaf children in China

Learn more detail about the conference at:

Thank you to Barbara Duncan for alerting me to this event. An announcement on this conference was disseminated to the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) email discussion group.

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NEWS: Disability Advocates Launch Treaty Ratification Campaign

Posted on 2 December 2007. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

RatifyNow Logo: a pair of laurel leaves wraps around a map of the world. Overlaid on the map is the acronym CRPD (which stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). To the right of the map is the URL for the web site.
Advocates Celebrate International Disabled Persons Day
by Launching Treaty Ratification Campaign

Disability rights advocates are marking December 3, 2007 – International Disabled Persons Day – by launching RatifyNow, a global campaign based in the U.S. to maximize the number of nations that ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. RatifyNow ( is a unique blend of grassroots activists, disability civil rights organizations, and human rights groups who work in tandem to make sure the Convention’s safeguards benefit people with disabilities worldwide.

The twenty-first century’s first human rights treaty was adopted by the United Nations a year ago and opened for ratification on March 30, 2007. To date, 118 nations have indicated support of the treaty and interest in ratification. Seven nations have ratified (Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, and Panama). The treaty becomes legally binding 30 days after the 20th nation ratifies it.

“This treaty will dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities – but only if we achieve broad worldwide participation,” said San Francisco disability rights attorney Michele Magar. “RatifyNow is asking enlightened people everywhere to join in persuading their governments to ratify this treaty.”

“Ninety percent of children with disabilities in developing countries receive no education. In far too many nations, people with disabilities lack basic rights, such as the right to own property, marry, work, and retain custody of their children,” said Magar. “Because disability discrimination also affects families of individuals with disabilities, the United Nations estimates that this treaty, if broadly implemented, will improve the lives of one quarter of the world’s population.”

“RatifyNow will provide information and support to the disability community, government officials, journalists, and advocates interested in learning more about the treaty, and why it’s so important for nations to ratify it,” said Washington, D.C. disability rights attorney Jeff Rosen. “RatifyNow’s website will serve as a clearinghouse for information about treaty ratification campaigns, and will provide ratification toolkits and strategies advocates can adapt for use in their own countries. We’ll also provide links to information and tools developed by other advocates, as well as relevant studies and reports written by university professors and investigative journalists.”

“President Bush’s failure to sign and promote the treaty has had a significant impact on people with disabilities.” said Rosen. “But we’re already working to make sure the next president signs the treaty within the first year of the new administration, and that the Senate ratifies it shortly thereafter.”

“We have had good success in starting to get local governments in the U.S. to adopt resolutions endorsing the Convention,” said Portland, Oregon disability rights advocate Pam VanderVeer. “We expect RatifyNow to be a resource disability advocates can use to push their government representatives to support treaty ratification.”

“We’re hoping to work closely with journalists, because the first step is letting the world know this treaty exists,” said Magar. “It’s a story that deserves broad dissemination, because this treaty guarantees people with disabilities access to education, and the rights to marry, enter into contracts, own property, work, vote, receive information in accessible formats, live in integrated communities instead of institutions, participate fully in cultural and civil life, and be free from discrimination on the basis of disability.”

RatifyNow welcomes both individuals and organizations as members, and it costs nothing to join. Organizational members include: the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Mental Disabilities Rights International, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Organization on Disability, People Who, Respectful Interfaces, TheUnderRepresented, and the United States International Council on Disability.

Although RatifyNow was begun in the United States, membership is open to individuals and organizations worldwide.


This press release was disseminated by RatifyNow; the full text of this release is also available at

Regular readers will note that this post marks the very first time that I have incorporated a graphic into this site–in this case, the logo for RatifyNow at the top. I did try to add a description for people who use screen readers but I’m not sure if I did it properly. If you use a screen reader (voice or Braille), please tell me if you “saw” the full description up above. The description SHOULD read as follows: “RatifyNow Logo: a pair of laurel leaves wraps around a map of the world. Overlaid on the map is the acronym CRPD (which stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). To the right of the map is the URL for the web site.”

Please use the comments area below to give me any feedback related to accessibility issues. Thanks for helping me make We Can Do more accessible.

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