Disability Awareness Action newsletter, Our Rights, Issue 2, August 2008

Posted on 3 September 2008. Filed under: Children, Cognitive Impairments, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Our Rights – issue 2, August 2008

DAA’s newsletter for Disability Lib.

In the interest of solidarity, this newsletter is sent around by email to disabled people and their organisations across the world, and we invite you to forward it freely. We have provided links to internet sites, web pages and video clips, but understand that not all links are technically accessible to all users. From October Our Rights will be available in electronic format and on our website. For our contact details follow this link http://www.daa.org.uk/

Welcome Hello from DAA
Disability LIB partners
• Central Office
ALLFIE Tara Flood recognised for Inclusion Now campaign work
Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Body Politics
Excluded because of crooked teeth
Disabled by Society …. Our stories: Mind Politics
Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Your Say
Being an Un-Person
Sceptical about The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
60 years of UN Convention on Human Rights
Inclusion means … being given a £50 token?
International News
Canada says ‘go home’ to disabled child
Sex in the City, and world wide
From Mexico to India: Disability and HIV
A short recent history of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador
Sit-in at Nursing Home
And Finally …

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Welcome Hello from DAA
Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to our first issue. We are delighted to be back! We have had replies from around the world.

“I am very happy indeed to get the DAA Newsletter – this is one newsletter that I eagerly look forward to. The articles provided me with new insights and sharpen my understanding.”
“Great newsletter!”
“I access DAA website regularly and will disseminate DAA newsletter to all my contacts.”
“Have just read your first bulletin and I am impressed with its coverage.”
“thanks a lot for your nice news letter. Hope it can help my people in bangladesh.”

Thank you for all your comments. We have improved our technical set-up, so fewer newsletters should land in Junk or Spam email boxes. From October you can access the newsletter on our website. You can request picture supported and word versions. We continue to strive to make our articles interesting, relevant and accessible. Please let us know how we are doing. This edition has two main themes: the body politics of bio-ethics and inclusion. We will also tell you again who we are and what we hope to achieve. Enjoy!
Email: mysay4daa@live.co.uk

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Disability LIB partners
The project has its own website and central office. www.disabilitylib.org.uk
Disability LIB
6 Market Road
N7 9PW
England UK
Telephone: 0844 800 4331
Email: contact@disabilitylib.org.uk

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ALLFIE Tara Flood recognised for Inclusion Now campaign work
The Social Inclusion Campaign Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation was given to the director of ALLFIE, Tara Flood. Tara is also chair of DAA. Tara and the Alliance run a campaign ‘We know inclusion works’. This is in response to the negative reporting in the media. You are invited to send your stories about how inclusion works to info@allfie.org.uk

“Inclusion for me is about society, which respects the humanity of its people.” says a disabled young person in Nottinghamshire. “Inclusion happens when everyone feels appreciated and welcome to participate.”
Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.

Inclusion is going to school with your friends. “I kept asking myself what words a mother would use to explain to her daughter why they did not want her at her school. Except that she was disabled. If my daughter had only been black, and not disabled too, would the school have been able to do the same?”
Preethi Manuel mother of Zahrah.

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Disabled by Society …. Our stories: Body Politics
Excluded because of crooked teeth

The media reported that a nine-year-old girl called Lin was moving her lips, but did not actually sing at the opening of the Olympic Games in China. The beautiful voice we all heard was from a different girl, the seven year-old Yang Peiyi. Apparently Yang was not shown on stage nor on television, because she has crooked teeth. Her face and her smile were regarded as not photogenic enough, so she was hidden to avoid damaging China’s international image.

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Often we find disabled people are hidden, out-of-sight and at the margins of society. Society’s underlying cultural preferences in terms of the body and mind is for a particular image of beauty and health: a superficial one.

Our impairment difference is treated like a ‘stigma’, a characteristic that is deeply discredited within one’s society and for which we are rejected. Our difference, it seems, is challenging.

“I experienced a nervous breakdown 20 years ago. Despite recovering from that, then going on to achieve academically and build a good marriage, my family remain wary of me. My sister is bringing up her child to refer to me as “crazy”. She even considers it funny to do so. I have tried to express how hurtful I find this, but my feelings have been overlooked.”
7th August 2008, Guardian ‘Stigmatised by my own family’

In a unique research called ‘Shout’ almost 4,000 mental health service users were involved. The charity Rethink found that 87% of people said they had direct personal experience of stigma and discrimination and reported the negative impact of stigma on their lives.

The damage caused was wide-ranging; the areas affected include employment, family, friendships, neighbours, accessing education, reporting crime, relationships with health professionals, and feeling confident enough to visit the shops, go to the pub or take part in activities in the community, it says.
The Stigma Shout report can be found at http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/campaigning_for_change/moving_people/stigma_shout.html

But this problem goes deeper. If a girl can be excluded for crooked teeth, where does it end? Our society allows science and law to de-select disabled lives.
For impairment reasons they tamper with genetics in an attempt to screen out difference. We have laws that allow late abortion because of so called ‘defects’.We allow bio-ethics to de-select impairment.

In 2004, UKCPD (formerly the British Council of Disabled People) asked “Can human rights apply if we select children or value people’s quality of life on the basis of their genetic make-up or impairment?” http://www.bcodp.org.uk/library/genetics/3disabhr.pdf

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Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Your Say
on last month’s theme: Forced Interventions
Being an Un-Person… (8’47’’)
“This is from a handout I gave while speaking at training for staff who work with people who have developmental disabilities. It is about what it means to be dehumanized and it applies to a far greater group of people than the original audience. It is, to make it clear, something that is done to us by other people, not something intrinsic to who we are.

Being an Un-person means that people talk in front of you as if you aren’t there… It means that your existence seems to fill people with disgust and fear. … If you communicate with behaviour, you will be punished, restrained, drugged or put in a behaviour program.”

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A sceptical view was expressed about the usefulness of the Convention. How does it protect the rights of people with mental health issues?

“My organization are skeptical on the UN Convention re Legal Intervention for people with mental health issues and the sense of disabled people being able to join the armed forces.”

For a discussion of how different Articles in the Convention can work together, go to page 47 in this 2007 publication: http://www.riglobal.org/publications/RI_Review_2007_Dec_WORDversion.doc
The text of Article 12 can be accessed at http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-global/united-nations/article-12-un

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The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
This year (2008) we celebrate 60 years of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, the first international commitment on human rights.

A web campaign http://www.everyhumanhasrights.org/ urges us to embrace the values and goals of the Declaration. To protect the rights of our fellow global villagers and to encourage others to do the same in our communities, workplaces and schools. We are asked to affirm these principles:

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, lanaguage, relition, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Every Human has Rights

However, our rights as disabled people are not spelled out specifically. It makes no specific mention of the meaning of rights as disabled people. Our experience is that we are often invisible, excluded or forgotten. We are not always included into the general phrase of ‘human’ inhuman rights.

That is why we needed a specific convention and why we are campaigning for our countries to ratify the Convention of the Rights of Disabled Persons.

UN Convention text resources:
Details of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People can be found at
Easy Read version of the Convention
For Easy Read versions of the Convention’s extra agreements (Optional Protocols) go to
A child-friendly text of the Convention can be accessed at

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Inclusion means … being given a £50 gift token?
A grammar school in Lincolnshire, England, did not listen to a boy with Autism when planning and arranging the 11-plus entrance exam. Under the Disability Discrimination Act any barriers to learning have to be removed, for example by making alternative arrangements or providing reasonable adjustments.

His mother said: “We knew he would struggle with the change in surroundings. Our primary school head teacher suggested we ask if he could sit the test there, or at least in a room on his own. But when I went to the school I was told, ‘No, we don’t make any allowances’.”

As the barriers of unfamiliar surroundings, a crowded room full with unfamiliar people were not removed, the boy was extremely distressed and failed the exam.

The ombudsman Anne Seex said the school had not considered its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The boy was admitted to another grammar school on the basis of his exam results at the end of primary school (called SATs) and his junior school’s recommendation.

The school has apologised, has given the boy a £50 gift token and agreed to handle future cases differently.

International News

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Paul and Barbara-Anne Chapman had sold their home in Britain and bought a farmhouse in Nova Scotia, Canada. The local authorities supported and welcomed them.

However, when the family arrived at the airport a border guard refused them entry. Several questions were raised about their work permit, clearance for their black Labrador and about their daughter Lucy, who has Angelman syndrome.

The family claim they were told by a border guard that because Lucy is disabled she would never be allowed into the country, and that she had a lifetime ban.

Mrs Chapman said: “My dog was allowed to stay. My dog has a higher status than my daughter in Canada, just because she is disabled.”

Canada’s immigration rules in section 38 do have a clause that states that you are not eligible for immigration if you would make an excessive demand on health and social services. Presently, “excessive demand” is usually defined as exceeding $15,000 of publicly funded health care costs over the next 5 years. However, in certain family applications, children are exempt from this rule of no entry due to health care costs.

The Convention on the Rights of Disabled People places obligations on countries to protect disabled people’s rights and freedoms. This includes the right to free movement and residency.

Entry to one’s own country is specifically mentioned in Article 18 of the Convention: “Are not deprived, arbitrarily or on the basis of disability, of the right to enter their own country.”

Entry into another country is protected in Article 18, where it says that disabled people should “not be deprived, on the basis of disability, of their ability to obtain, possess and utilize … relevant processes such as immigration proceedings, that may be needed to facilitate exercise of the right to liberty of movement.”

Mr and Mrs Chapman hired a Canadian lawyer to fight the decision.


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Sex in the City… and world-wide.
Research has shown that disabled people are being denied the choice to full sexual relationships.

“I want to meet a girl I can become friends with, take to the pub and the cinema and then after a couple of months see where it goes,” Joseph Greene, 23.

The national charity Family Planning Association FPA has organised an information and poster campaign about the right to have sex and relationships. FPA gives people information and advice about sexual health. This is particularly important in view of the continuing rise and impact of HIV (see reports below).

Easy Read, posters and campaign info at

‘Let’s talk About Sex’ was launched in June 2008 for young people with life-limiting health conditions, in a bid to open up a taboo subject and to better support these young people to have the opportunity to experience relationships and explore their sexuality, in a safe, supportive and empathetic environment.

Our rights and dignity in connection with these personal areas are protected in the Convention. Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People specifically refers to forming relationships and accessing age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education.

As part of their obligations, countries who have ratified the Convention, have a duty to develop and change customs or practices. This includes working towards a change in attitude towards disabled people and sex.

Article 4 of the Convention asks governments to develop or change customs and practices which contradict the rights. Community norms, customs and practices of what people believe or how professionals deal with disabled people may go against the ideals laid down in the Convention.

“What is acceptable in the community is for a disabled person to marry another disabled person so that together they share their curse”, says a disabled local councillor in Uganda.

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From Mexico to India: Disability and HIV
On August 6th a very important international panel discussion took place. ‘Beyond Barriers: Disability and HIV/AIDS’ gave information about studies from across the world – Brazil, South Africa, Cameroon, and Canada.

Disabled people were found to be consistently more vulnerable to infection. People with learning difficulties and disabled women are often exposed to riskier situations; women in particular experience more unprotected sex than the general population, often as a result of sexual violence.

A researcher in Kwa Zulu-Natal, where there is no disability-specific sex education, encountered a “let sleeping dogs lie” attitude in schools. As a result, she found that disabled children had little access to education or legal protection and were more vulnerable to abuse and infection.

n Cameroon, a study focused on a young deaf population, found that sexual debut was on the whole earlier and riskier than in the general population.

The Kampala Declaration on Disability and HIV/AIDS is an advocacy tool for all Campaign partners and supporters. We invite you to download this printer-ready version in English, French and Portuguese to disseminate at your various meetings and conferences!

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A short recent history of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador
This article argues that despite national laws and certain improvements towards disability rights, El Salvador has only made nominal progress in implementing disability legislation and awareness.

In the context of El Salvador’s twelve-year armed conflict, 70,000 individuals were killed and another 300,000 people were disabled as a result of war.

However, this estimate conflicts with official statistics released by the Ministry of Economy in August 2008. Jesus Martinez, Director of the Landmine Survivors Network-El Salvador is extremely uncomfortable with the results of this 2008 Census.

“It should include accurate and trustworthy statistics about all of the disabled individuals living in this country.” he says.

Disabled people need to be counted in order to be visible in policy action, planning and prioritisation. Article 31 asks countries to find out about disabled people. State parties need collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies, which make a reality of the rights in the Convention.

If the Convention marks “a paradigm shift” in attitudes and approaches, then disabled people are not objects that are being counted, but subjects, who have rights and freedoms. As a result of this shift in thinking, ratification of the Convention should also mark a shift in creating a more inclusive society in El Salvador.

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Sit-in at Nursing Home
Demonstrators organised a sit-in and called for closure of a nursing home in Philadelphia. “There is no justice for someone in a nursing home,” read a sign held by one of the demonstrators.

The group’s goal was to persuade Mayor Nutter to help find homes for 50 or so disabled residents over the next six months, then get out of the nursing-home business. They were successful! Details at:
http://www.adapt.org/ http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080818_Protesters_seek_to_close_Phila__nursing_home.html

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And Finally …
Discrimination is a putrid shade of yellow
It tastes like stale vomit
It smells like rancid fish
Discrimination reminds me of corruption, anger and despair
And sounds like a hooded coward running scared
Discrimination feels like nobody cares …
Extract from Bipolar works blog, 2007

Thank you for your time.
We are pleased to hear from you.
Email: mysay4daa@live.co.uk

Supported by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

Thank you to Disability Awareness Action for giving open permission to disseminate and re-publish their newsletter.

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Our Rights: Disability Awareness Action Newsletter

Posted on 6 August 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , |

Thank you to Disability Awareness Action for giving its open permission to disseminate their newsletter. People who wish to receive future issues should contact them directly to inquire. 

Our Rights  –  issue 1, July 2008

text only version

DAA’s newsletter for Disability LIB.

In the interest of solidarity, this newsletter is send around by email to disabled people and their organisations across the world, and we invite you to forward it freely. We have provided links to internet sites, web pages, radio programmes and video clips, but understand that not all links are technically accessible to all users. From October Our Rights will be available in electronic format and on our website. For our contact details follow this link http://www.daa.org.uk/contact.htm




Hello from DAA

·                                Who we are

·                                What we do

·                                Our Rights e-bulletin 

·                                What we want to achieve

Thank you to Change and People First for use of their pictures to support the written information.




Disability LIB partners

·                                Funding crisis

Building on our success – involvement sought

·                                   “A seed of change…”

The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People

·                                 UN Convention in Easy Read

·                                 “A new era” Kofi Annan

·                                  “Nothing about us without us.”

·                                 UN Convention Campaign Coalition

·                                 House of Lords discusses Convention

Disabled by society …. Our stories: Forced interventions

·                                   Article 11 forced interventions  

·                                   Forced Treatment even in your own home? 

·                                   Easy Read guide to compulsory treatment orders  

·                                   Mental Health Petition


International News

·                                   Easing life for disabled refugees

·                                   Who has signed the Convention and made it a law in    

their country?

·                                   Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

·                                   Ratify Now!

·                                   European Countries say how rights are progressing


Welcome! Our small team at Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) extends a very warm welcome to disabled people, organisations controlled and run by disabled people (DPOs) and their allies.


A very warm welcome to you all!

·                                 To all our new readers who are part of the Disability LIB family – the DPOs and individuals across the UK who are in the mighty struggle for rights and social change.

·                                 Welcome to all our old friends who used to read the Disability Tribune – we are delighted to be with you again.  We have the money for the Our Rights e-bulletins from our alliance with Disability LIB. 

Welcome to our first e-bulletin, which will introduce who we are, what we do and what we hope to achieve. We are always happy to hear from disabled people and their allies on the issues raised. Contact us by email or via the website.

Please contact: mysay4daa@live.co.uk


Who we are

We are a small team of disabled people working in collaboration with disabled people’s organisations and with partners of the Disability LIB project http://www.disabilitylib.org.uk/


What we do

DAA is committed to sharing information and resources on the human rights of disabled people.  Our aim is to give disabled people and their organisations information and resource links to help them take effective action for themselves.


We seek to inform and share concerns, we want to celebrate and share success. We are also aware of failures and shortfalls, and of examples where the law or government policy does not seem to work in our interest. We report on that as well!

Our Rights

Our Rights is a regular monthly e-bulletin. We provide information on human rights issues as they affect disabled people across the world, from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of different impairments. We give updates on policy and the law. We will give you evidence to support your rights – evidence of good and bad practice, evidence that comes from you. We want to build our strengths – together!


What we want to achieve

We are working towards fundamental social change and a better society for all.  DAA believes that disabled people can use the law and the framework of human rights as a tool. This means we want to use the ideas behind the law to argue for a better world, in which to live. “ A seed of information can lead to a groundswell of action.”


This action has to come from disabled people themselves. We can increase our impact on social change by joining together. We are very excited at being able to use DAA’s network with disabled people all over the world – to play a part in fulfilling our objectives towards the Disability LIB project (details below). Working in solidarity with each other we will achieve more and gain from the commonality of our experience.


Disability LIB partners

Funding Crisis

As many organisations have known all too well these past few years, a serious funding crisis has affected many activities aimed at realising better lives for disabled people.

Six organisations of disabled people and Scope have  formed an alliance and secured a £4.2million funding grant from the Big Lottery fund 
capacity build 200 Disabled People’s Organisations. The idea of this project is that the funding crisis can be reduced by increasing information, capacity and effectiveness and wants to go far beyond the 200 DPOs to make their materials and information available to all.
This alliance is called Disability LIB (Listen Include Build). The aim is to confront discrimination and disablism, and to secure the full and equal rights of disabled people. Disability LIB will provide disabled people’s organisations with information, advice and support that will enable them to be more effective, and to play a full part in achieving their aims .
The project has its own website and central office. www.disabilitylib.org.uk
Disability LIB
6 Market Road
N7 9PW
England UK

Telephone: 0844 800 4331

Buiding on our success – Your involvement sought

This is an example of DAA success and how “ A seed of information can lead to a groundswell of action.”:

“Disability Tribune has had some real successes over the years, including the Global Rights Campaign where we asked you to tell us about your lives. We were inundated with your stories and once gathered together they made an extremely powerful document which we delivered personally to the UN Human Rights Commission on the 3rd December 2001. We are certain that this document influenced the decision to begin the elaboration process for a UN Convention protecting the rights and dignity of disabled people.”

DAA, 2005.

We need to keep the pressure on. Our personal stories are powerful.

Please contact us with your stories on the experiences of disabled people, of how society continues to discriminate and stories of unfair treatment or abuse of our human rights: mysay4daa@live.co.uk


UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People


UN Convention in Easy Read
The full name of this agreement is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We call it the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. It sets out what countries have

to do to make sure that disabled people have the same rights as other people. The basic ideas are that disabled people are free to make their own choices, to be included in society as everyone else and are to be respected for who they are. Governments must make sure it does things so that our rights are protected.


The dawn of a new era.


  “Today promises to be the dawn of a new era, an era in which disabled people will no longer have to endure the discriminatory practices and attitudes that have been permitted to prevail for all too long.  This Convention is a remarkable and forward-looking document.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

You can read his full speech at
A Celebration: Nothing about us without us! Disabled people have to be at the forefront of action. It is no longer acceptable to have other people speak or act for us. The Convention opens up further possibilities. Listen to disabled people celebrate this potential. A celebration and comments given about the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. When you first use this service, you will be asked to register your name, email address, organisation details and country. Text version is also available.
More details about the celebration on the 12th May can be found here. There is even a video clip. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=474 


UN Convention Campaign Coalition

Organisations have formed themselves into a coalition to bring political pressure and work to ensure early – and full – commitment from the UK government. They call for all interested groups to join together to campaign for ‘ratification without reservations’. Further information can be found at


House of Lords discusses Convention    We have on record, that disabled people’s organisations are crucial in realising rights, and will be involved when the government takes forward not only the  convention but the whole range of disability-related policies. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80709-0001.htm

Disabled by society …. Our stories: Forced interventions

Disabled people have long been undergoing a range of therapy, treatment and forms of interventions. I myself have enjoyed the benefits of an Australian Physiotherapist (who looked like he had  escaped from the set of a famous TV soap), have received emergency hospital interventions, and am pleased with latest developments in a range of pain management regimes. I chose and agreed to these interventions. They are provided not as a means to ‘correct’ impairment, but upon my request and in a way that leaves me in control. The picture is very different for many disabled people, people living in residential homes, survivors and users of Psychiatry, people with learning difficulties and older people who experience much reported systematic abuse or neglect.

The fact is, today, tomorrow and the next day, many interventions continue in the UK and world-wide, which are cruel or degrading, even torture to disabled people. Disabled people and their allies have been trying to close down a residential school that uses electric shock as a form of punishment for young people with Autism. This intervention is used to  punish or ‘correct’ the children. Young people with Autism were also forced to listen to loud static through a helmet. DAA collects and catalogues evidence of such treatment, and any human rights abuses experienced by disabled people. We invite you to contact us with your stories. Email: mysay4daa@live.co.uk


Article 11 forced interventions

A paper by Tina Minkowitz explains why disabled people argue so strongly against any form of forced interventions. The context within which ‘treatment’ or interventions that are meant to be ‘good for us’ takes place is often one of an imbalance of power between the professional or expert and the disabled person. This power disadvantage is in-built into the system of ‘treatment and care’, that assumes that our impairments are a deficit and need to be corrected. http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/art11suppl.htm 


Forced Treatment even in your own home?

The UK Government’s Mental Health Act 2007 introduced the idea of providing forced interventions not only in hospitals, but also in the community. These alarming measures extend forced treatment beyond hospital. They are called Compulsory Treatment Orders. This means that even more power is given to professionals. Far-reaching powers can specify a treatment regime even into the person’s own home. It

gives powers to decide on and limit their lifestyles, for example, forcing them to take certain medicine, or saying what time they have to be in at night. In Ireland campaigners want their law changed (see below).  


Easy Read guide to compulsory treatment orders is given in this link


Mental Health Petition
Activist Mary Maddock, psychiatric survivor and founder-member of  MindFreedom Ireland presented her petition to the European Union. She wants the law to be changed, because people with mental health issues can at the moment be forced to take medication. This is an example of a forced intervention. Her petition is entitled ‘The Illegality of Ireland’s Mental Health Act of 2001 as it Concerns the Forced Use of Mind AlteringDrugs on Unwilling patients.’ A copy of the petition text can be accessed at http://www.mindfreedom.org/as/act/inter/mfire/maddock-petitions-ireland

International news

Easing life for disabled refugees Abdi Salah fled the civil war in his native Somalia at the age of 11. Mr. Salah has polio and is among the estimated 3 million disabled people who have fled conflict, war, or natural disasters. Listen to his story (duration: 3’30”): http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/detail/10056.html

Who has signed the Convention and made it a law in their country?

Here is a list of countries in alphabetical order that have completely agreed to (ratified) the Convention.

         Australia17 July 2008

         Bangladesh – 30 November 2007

         Croatia – 15 August 2007

         Cuba – 6 September 2007

         Ecuador – 3 April 2008

         Egypt – 14 April 2008

         El Salvador – 14 December 2007

         Gabon – 1 October 2007

         Guinea – 8 February 2008

         Honduras – 14 April 2008

         Hungary – 20 July 2007

         India – 1 October 2007

         Jamaica – 30 March 2007

         Jordan – 31 March 2008

         Kenya – 19 May 2008

         Mali – 7 April 2008

         Mexico – 17 December 2007

         Namibia – 4 December 2007 

         Nicaragua – 7 December 2007

         Niger 24 June 2008

         Panama – 7 August 2007

         Peru – 30 January 2008

         Philippines – 15 April 2008

         Qatar – 13 May 2008

         San Marino – 22 February 2008

         Saudi Arabia – 24 June 2008

         Slovenia – 24 April 2008

         South Africa – 30 November 2007

         Spain – 3 December 2007

         Tunisia – 2 April 2008

You can access updates on the progress around the world at http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=18&pid=257

There are 5 regional groups of UN Member States:

·                                 African States

·                                 Asian States

·                                 Eastern European States

·                                 Latin American and Caribbean States

·                                 Western Europe and Other States Group

·                                 Eastern European States


To support the global campaign, go to Ratify Now!



Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

 “It is now the task of the world community to bring the ideals that are laid out in the Convention into reality.” says the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in February 2008.

European Countries say how rights are progressing

DAA is contributing to information gathering. On the question of how well the countries are doing in getting on with the Convention, government officials and organisations of disabled people often have conflicting views. A research centre for Human Rights of Disabled People in Finland (VIKE) is conducting a survey on the processes of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in seven European states. The chosen countries are Finland, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Further details at http://www.kynnys.fi/vike.html  


And Finally…

“I am disabled just like I’m female …
Just like I’m Korean
Just like I’m 20 years old
There are no ifs about it.
Yet non-disabled people enjoy summing this up as not having “hope”
(that’s their reasoning for why a lot of us are anti-stem cell)
But the thing is…
I have hope– lots of it. …

Hope for justice, pride, solidarity.
I just don’t waste my hope on silly things
Like wishing I could walk again.”

(extract from a poem by Ms Cripp Chick)


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing from you, do contact us at mysay4daa@live.co.uk We are proud and excited to be part of this struggle to make all our rights a reality.

The next edition will bring you further informationi and up-dates on the Convention. We also look at the issue of bio-ethics and will, of course, share your stories. Bye for now.

Thank you to DAA for giving open permission to people to disseminate their newsletter. People interested in subscribing should contact them directly, not We Can Do.

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RESOURCE: How to Develop Civil Rights Law for Disabled People in Your Country

Posted on 25 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Democratic Participation, Human Rights, Policy & Legislation, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Every day in your country, people with disabilities experience discrimination and human rights violations. This discrimination prevents disabled people from obtaining an education, receiving health care, finding jobs, and participating in community events. You know that some countries have civil rights laws that make it illegal to discriminate against disabled people. Would these kinds of civil rights laws be useful for your country as well? If so, how do you write an effective law and persuade your government to pass it?

A guide from the UK-based Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), entitled Civil Rights Law and Disabled People, can help you answer these and other associated questions. The answers may not be what you think. For example, some people assume a law will be helpful in their country because it has worked well in another country. But different historical and cultural contexts can mean that different countries may need different combinations of approaches to ending discrimination. Civil rights law is not the only approach.

If you do decide that your country needs a civil rights law, then the DAA guide offers advice on how you can campaign to make other people recognize disability as an important issue. If your country allows citizens to write legislation, then the Civil Rights Law and Disabled People guide can advise on how to write an effective law. It is important, for example, to offer a clear definition of who is “disabled,” or what it means to “discriminate,” or how a business, government agency, or other entity can stop discriminating against disabled people.

Toward the end of the guide, you can read several examples of how civil rights laws from several different countries have defined “disability” or “disabled person.”

You can read the complete guide at


In addition, it may also be helpful to read civil rights laws protecting people with disabilities from other countries around the world. There are several resources on-line that can help you find out what other the law says about people with disabilities in other countries:


Has your country ratified the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so, your country may be legally obligated to abolish laws that discriminate against disabled people, or to create laws that protect your human rights.

Signing the CRPD is not the same as ratifying it. When a country signs the CRPD, it is not legally bound by it. But, signing the CRPD does show that a country is interested in ratifying it later. It also commits the country to avoiding any actions that would be against the spirit of the CRPD. Also, in some cases, the country may need or want to change its laws before it ratifies the CRPD.

If your country has signed or ratified the CRPD, you may be able to use this information to help you campaign for better laws in your country. Find out if your country has signed or ratified the CRPD at http://www.un.org disabilities/countries.asp?navid=12&pid=166.

Also, learn more about the CRPD and how it can help you at www.RatifyNow.org and also at www.un.org/disabilities.

We Can Do first discovered the Civil Rights Law and Disabled People guide through the AskSource.info database on disability and development.

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We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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RESOURCE: How to Raise Funds for Your Organization

Posted on 18 March 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Funding, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Whenever I communicate with anyone involved with Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) in developing countries, the most common question they have is, “Where and how do I raise the money we need so we can help disabled people in our country?” The United Kingdom-based international disability and human rights network, Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), has some suggestions in their fund-raising resource kit, which advises DPOs on different strategies they can use to raise funds.

This fund-raising toolkit was written in 1996, but much of its information and advice is still very much relevant for DPOs in developing countries today.

The first section gives several broad ideas for what types of entities are likely to give money. Business companies, for example, may sometimes give cash, or in-kind donations (non-cash resources such as free photocopying services, food, etc.), or training workshops to non-profit organizations. Depending on their circumstances, organizations may also wish to consider asking for membership subscription fees, or soliciting donations from individual donors, approaching funding agencies, or starting their own income-generating activities.

The section on “effective fund-raising” emphasizes the importance of researching what funding agencies are available; understanding each funder’s exact criteria for funding proposals; and matching funding agencies to your project. (For example, don’t send a project proposal for an HIV/AIDS prevention project to a funder that only supports malaria-prevention projects.)

For organizations that are inexperienced with fund raising, it can be worthwhile to read the section entitled “It All Takes Time.” It can take months or even years to prepare a good-quality proposal, send it to a funding agency, answer all their questions, and be considered for their funding.

The section entitled “Funding Applications” gives advice on writing your first letter of inquiry to funding sources; what kind of information you should put into your funding proposal; and the best way to organize and present this information.

After your organization receives funding, it is important to submit regular “reports to funders. The agency funding your current project may pass along your reports, or a summary of them, to other funders seeking to learn more about your organization. Comprehensive, honest, accurate reports about your activities, and the results of these activities, can encourage funders to give to you again in the future.

The Disability Awareness in Action fund-raising toolkit may be helpful as a starting point for organizations that are relatively new to fund-raising. One helpful characteristic of this toolkit is that it is written in simple language that is easy to understand even for people who do not read English very well. It also explains basic concepts that similar guides for well-educated or more experienced readers may not cover.

However, DPOs that are serious about fund-raising will also want to read other guides or toolkits on related topics, such as how to plan projects, develop budgets, evaluate projects, etc. I hope to be able to post information about other resources helpful to DPOs seeking funds in the future. If you subscribe to We Can Do then you can learn about these resources within hours after they are posted.

In the mean time, read the full fund-raising toolkit by following the link to:


We Can Do found this toolkit by browsing the list of Disability Awareness in Action publications at the Disability Awareness in Action web site.

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

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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.

We Can Do Copyright
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