NEWS: Kosovo Disability Community Urges US President-Elect Barack Obama to Support International Disability Rights

Posted on 18 December 2008. Filed under: Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

03 December 2008,
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Dear Mr. Obama,

Congratulations to US. People and to you personally on your historic win to be 44th President of the United States of America .

Your acceptance speech was so good to hear when many minority groups have been mentioned, specifically persons with disabilities and it shows that you believe in celebrating the diversity present in society.

We are pleased to send you our compliments on your disability platform of four parts:
• Increasing educational opportunities,
• Ending discrimination and promoting equal opportunity,
• Increasing the employment rate of workers with disabilities and
• Supporting independent living of persons with disabilities

We believe those to be the best practices which will lead the world in empowering persons with disabilities to take full advantage of their talents and become independent, integrated members of society.

We, persons with disabilities from Republic of Kosovo congratulate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as well as the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to all our friends and colleagues in U.S and to you.

The celebration of 2008 as a significant year in the global disability rights movement, given the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the first international, legally-binding human rights treaty for persons with disabilities, will give us the opportunities to achieve a vision of a society where all can live with dignity and respect.

Finally, we urge you to use your new position as a world leader for the welfare of persons with disabilities not just in your great country of United States of America , but also in other countries around the world. In short, we want the idea of universal human rights to become a reality to all of us.

Our warmest regards and best wishes from Republic Kosovo

Hiljmnijeta Apuk, Human Rights Defender

On behalf of the membership of Little People of Kosovo, multiethnic NGOs partnership of Voluntary Promotional Program of Disability Mentoring Days – DMD, Monthly magazine “Newspaper to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of Kosovo” in 6 languages, Hendifer – Ferizaj and Art Coalition of Authentic Culture of Persons with Disabilities.



Thank you to Hiljmnijeta Apuk for granting permission to post this letter at We Can Do. A global campaign is under way to urge people with disabilities, our loved ones, colleagues, and other allies from around the world to send emails to Obama to increase the visibility of disability issues within Obama’s administration. Learn more about the international Call To Action and how you can participate at https://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obama/. Most of the same text is also in the slide show further below (click on the arrows to move through the show).

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[Published at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do)]

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REPORT: Personal Mobility, Accessibility for Disabled People in South East Europe

Posted on 20 August 2008. Filed under: Blind, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Housing, Human Rights, Inclusion, Mobility Impariments, Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Countries that have chosen to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are now required to protect the right of people with disabilities to personal mobility; and to an accessible environment. But disabled people in the South-Eastern countries of Europe, such as Kosovo, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Hungary, are often denied the right simply to move from one place to another on the same basis as other people in their society. They lack mobility aids such as prosthestic devices, wheelchairs, and crutches; public buildings, and even their own homes, are not accessible to them; and neither is public transportation.

People who wish to learn more about the conditions that limit the mobility of people with disabilities in South East Europe–and what can be done to improve their situation–can consult a report entitled “Free movement of people with disabilities in south east Europe: an inaccessible right?” (PDF format, 1 Mb) This report addresses the mobility and accessibility needs of people with mobility impairments; people who are blind or have vision impairments; people with intellectual disabilities; and deaf people. The 124-page report was published by Handicap International in 2006.

The first part of the report discusses the current situation, and barriers, faced by people with various disabilities in South East Europe. The second part describes good practices that have successfully made the environment more accessible for people with disabilities throughout the region. The third part discusses the importance of awareness raising; the laws and policies needed to improve the situation; the need for training in universal design; and the importance of including people with disabilities in planning all new construction. The report closes with a series of recommendations.

The full report can be downloaded for free in
http://www.disabilitymonitor-see.org/documents/dmi2_eng/dmrII_webeng.pdf

People interested in creating accessible environments, and in the principles of universal design, may also be interested in learning about a free, on-line book on Universal Design and Visitability.



We Can Do learned about this report by exploring the newest resources to be posted at the AskSource.info database on disability issues; health issues; and development.

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NEWS: Kosovan People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for First Time

Posted on 7 February 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Democratic Participation, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI).

People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for the First Time in Kosovo
Washington, DC – February 6, 2008

In an effort to build upon the self-advocacy movement of persons with disabilities in Kosovo, Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) recently assisted “Ne Per Ne” peer support group members in fully understanding and participating in Kosovo’s historic winter elections to choose national and municipal assembly members and mayors. “Ne Per Ne,” which means “We for Ourselves,” is Eastern Europe’s largest peer support group for persons with intellectual disabilities, started by MDRI.

In preparation for Kosovo’s November elections, the peer support groups invited and welcomed representatives of the major political parties to discuss the importance of the elections, the work of the parties, and the issues that would affect them. Participants were able to ask questions of the candidates such as “what are you going to do regarding jobs for people with disabilities?”

For the first time in their lives, approximately 90% of the peer support group members voted in Kosovo’s elections.

My vote made a difference. I thought it wouldn’t count, but it obviously counted; I’m very happy MDRI helped me realize that.” – Avni (Kacaniku Peer Support Group)

I thought I couldn’t vote because I don’t know how to read; I didn’t know I could bring people with me who could help me.” – Laura (Peja Peer Support Group)

I would get so upset at my peers during the peer support group meetings when they would say that they don’t know how to go to the voting place; it’s very easy, think ahead and plan transportation before hand. I asked my father to take me and he was happy to do that. They could ask someone too – ‘I don’t know how’ is not a valid excuse.” – Gazi (Kamenica Peer Support Group)

Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) is an initiative of Mental Disability Rights International as a result of our 2002 report, “Not on the Agenda: Human Rights of People with Mental Disabilities in Kosovo.” To find out more about the work in Kosovo or to read more about MDRI, please visit our website.

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. For more information, visit their website at www.mdri.org.



This press release was first distributed on the MDRI newsletter. You can receive this newsletter for free via email; sign up at http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101730023584&lang=en.

This item also was distributed on the email list for RatifyNow.org, which also can be joined for free.



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