NEWS: Manila Declaration, Asia Pacific Conference on Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 1 June 2009. Filed under: East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

IDA – Asia Pacific Regional Conference on the CRPD Implementation and Monitoring

MANILA DECLARATION

February 11-12th, 2009

We, the delegates from The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Samoa, Fiji, and Republic of Korea being members of Disabled Peoples’ International, Inclusion International, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People, Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, and Asia Pacific Disability Forum, all of which are members of International Disability Alliance (IDA) and participated in Asia Pacific Regional Conference on the CRPD Implementation and Monitoring, held at Manila, The Philippines on February 11-12, 2009,

We acknowledge the support of the Government of The Philippines, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas, Inc (KAMPI) for this Conference.

After due deliberation and having reached consensus on the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) we make the following Declaration which shall be hereby referred to as the Manila Declaration 2009

GOVERNMENT
• We urge National Governments in the Asia and Pacific Region, to set the machinery in motion to ensure the signing, ratification without reservation, implementation and monitoring of the UN CRPD and the Optional Protocol;
• We further demand that the governments enact new legislation or amend existing legislation for Persons with Disabilities and related statutes to be in conformity with UN CRPD;

• We urge Public Authorities to change from a charity-based to a rights–based approach and from medical model to social model on disability as required by the UN CRPD;

• We ask all governments to initiate disability sensitization programs and to mainstream disability issues in all national agendas for the empowerment of persons with disabilities ;

• We recognize the vulnerability of all persons with disabilities with HIV/AIDS and we therefore request National Governments to address this urgent issue;

• We urge the Governments to include Children, Women and Youth with disabilities in all education and training programmes;

• We demand that Persons with Disabilities be represented through their representative organizations in law and policy making at all levels as required by Article 4 of UN CRPD;

• We recognize the positive role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the lives of Persons with Disabilities. We therefore urge the Governments to facilitate the acquisition of ICT equipments;

• We appeal for the enactment of Disability Anti Discrimination Acts in our respective Countries;

• We seek the full participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) in order to promote the accession, implementation and monitoring of UN CRPD;

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
We urge National Human Rights Institutions to include CRPD in their Plans and Strategies and constitute a Committee or Focal point to address Disability issues.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
We urge International Development Funding Agencies to include Disability Dimension in all their policies and programs;

We urge International Development Funding Agencies to modify the requirements in the Agreements so as to enable DPOs to access the technical and financial support;

MASS MEDIA
We urge Mass Media to promote positive images of Rights and Concerns of Persons with Disabilities.

NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US



We Can Do received this declaration via several different sources; among them was the mailing list for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development.

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Call for Disabled Role Models in Asian Region for Brochure

Posted on 29 May 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Audio & Visual Materials, Call for Comments or Information, Call for Nominations or Applications, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

by Aiko Akiyama

Please note that the deadline to submit pictures and bios is May 31, 2009.

Dear colleagues,

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (ESCAP) is putting together a brochure entitled, “Agents of
Change,” to promote the social model of disability and explain the changes that will need to be made to meet the requirements of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action, which is the regional policy guideline on disability. As a part of the brochure, we would like to have pictures and messages of mentors with disabilities from the region as they themselves are agents of change.

We would like to ask for your collaboration in this endeavor. We would likes to have active thematic photos of persons with different impairments in the region, who work in certain professions as well as a
caption or a statement about how you see “disability” and a message to
younger generations of persons with impairments in the region.

Thus far, we have a picture and a message of a deaf pharmacist from
Japan, are also waiting for a picture of a blind architect from the
Philippines and another picture from Kyrgyzstan. We are also planning on
shooting a picture of a pizza baker, inT hailand, who is physically
disabled. We would like to have pictures of a person with intellectual
disability, a picture of a person who is a survivor of psychiatry, a
picture of deaf blind person all of whom are working in certain professions which they are proud of. Moreover, we would like to particularly welcome pictures from South Asia and the Pacific.

Time is of the essence and we would appreciate your urgent attention
to this request. We would appreciate if you can e-mail us pictures (sharper images are appreciated) towards the end of this month 31 May 2009. The
brochure is in draft form at the moment and you contributions would help us finalize it. Before the brochure final draft goes out to the printer, a copy will be circulated for those who are interested for peer review. Let me know if you are interested in that process.

Please send us pictures and messages to Mr Osama Rajkhan (rajkhan.unescap@un.org) and Aiko Akiyama (akiyama@un.org).

I look forward to hear from you soon and best regards.

Aiko Akiyama
Social Affairs Officer
Social Development Division (SDD)
UNESCAP
THAILAND
Email: akiyama@un.org
http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability/index.asp



I received this announcement from Aiko Akiyama via the AsiaPacificDisability listserver. Please note that all inquiries, pictures, and bios should please be directed to Mr Osama Rajkhan (rajkhan.unescap@un.org) and Aiko Akiyama (akiyama@un.org), NOT to We Can Do. Thank you.

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REPORT: Disability in 28 Asian-Pacific Countries

Posted on 28 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Policy & Legislation, Reports, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) was meant to promote a rights-based approach toward disability in the Asian-Pacific Region, in place of the older welfare-based approach. The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF)” was meant to provide countries in the Asian region with a set of principles to help them make the shift. How well has it succeeded?

In 2004, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a part of the United Nations system, conducted a survey to find out. The result is an 87-page publication entitled “Disability At a Glance: Profile of 28 Countries in Asia and the Pacific” (PDF format, 780 Kb), released in 2006. It is meant to provide disability-related data and policy information so that readers can compare definitions of disability; statistics; the implementation of the Biwako framework; and government commitments to disability issues across the Asian-Pacific region. The countries and regions covered in the publication include: China; Hong Kong; Japan; Mongolia; Republic of Korea; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Timor Leste; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Bangaldesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Kazakhstan; Pacific Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; and Solomon Islands.

Each country is represented with a one- or two-page table filled in with relevant statistics and one-paragraph summaries of disability-related legislation and policies in the country. This publication is not the place to seek out in-depth information about the complexities and nuances of daily life for people with disabilities in the Asian-Pacific region. But then, it is not meant to be. It’s strength is that it allows quick and easy comparison of certain specific types of information across many countries within the region. Or, people who wish to gain a broad sense of disability demographics, policies, and inclusion in the Asian-Pacific region as a whole will wish to read the section sub-headed “Key Findings,” starting near the bottom of page 9.

Download the full report (PDF format, 780 Kb) at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability/publications/glance/disability%20at%20a%20glance.pdf.

People interested in reading reports about disability in the Asian-Pacific region will also want to browse the Social Policy Papers on disability listed on the ESCAP web page at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/publications/index.asp. Two examples of additional reports and publications include Focus on Ability, Celebrate Diversity: Highlights of the Asian and Pacific Decade published in 2003, following the 1993 to 2002 decade; and Hidden Sisters: Women and Girls with Disabilities in the Asian-Pacific Region, 1995.

People also may wish to read the original Biwako framework on-line, or read the 2007 “Biwako Plus Five” update on progress since the Biwako framework was written.



I learned about this publication through the AsiaPacificDisability listserver, which people can subscribe to for free.

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Training Course: Women in Politics, Governance, Decision Making–March; July; November 2009

Posted on 24 January 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Capacity Building and Leadership, Democratic Participation, East Asia Pacific Region, Education and Training Opportunities, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Note to We Can Do readers: This opportunity is not specifically focused on women with disabilities. But readers who wish to encourage more women with disabilities in their country to become involved with politics may wish to consider the following course. I am not familiar with the extent to which the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics has had experience in accommodating the needs of students with disabilities. Disabled people interested in this course will wish to communicate with them carefully about their needs.]

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP)
http://www.capwip.org/
is a non-partisan, non-profit and
non-governmental regional organization dedicated to promoting equal participation of women in politics, governance and decision-making. CAPWIP is happy to announce the 2009 training schedule for the course on “Making Governance Gender Responsive” (MGGR): 20-27 March, 23-30 July, and 20-27 November 2009. The courses will be held at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center (ACCM) http://www.accm.aim.edu.ph/ in the Philippines.

This course is targeted at Parliamentarians, legislators (national and local) political parties, local governments (city/municipality)
and the government bureaucracy, training institutes, international and local agencies/organizations human rights and other civil society organizations.

Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR)
is a generic course that can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of the different countries. Specifically, the participants are expected to:

§ Enhance their understanding of Gender and Development (GAD), and
governance concepts.
§ Gain appreciation of gender-related and governance issues, and concerns.
§ Identify gender biases in governance.
§ Acquire skills in identifying and analyzing gender biases and
concerns through case examples of strategies and practices to address gender biases.
§ Identify gender biases in the participant’s sphere of influence – A
Change Management Approach.
§ Formulate Action Plans: Institutional and Individual.

Join the hundreds of MGGR graduates ….during the last 9 years…from all over the world who have found this course most effective!

Sincerely yours,

(signed)
Sylvia Munoz-Ordonez
Executive Director
CAPWIP

You may also download a more extensive information sheet in Word format from the CAPWIP website:
http://www.capwip.org/training/mggr.htm

CENTER FOR ASIA-PACIFIC WOMEN IN POLITICS (CAPWIP)
4227-4229 Tomas Claudio Street, Baclaran, 1700 Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephones: (632)8514954; 8522112;
TeleFax: (632)8522112;
Mobile Phone: +63 9189403711
e-mail: capwip@capwip.org; mggr09@gmail.com; mggrtraining09@capwip.org

http://www.capwip.org/
http://www.onlinewomeninpolitics.org/



I received this announcement via the email-based Network of Women with Disabilities, a free listserv targeted at women with disabilities from around the world.

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Videos about Deaf Life: Central Arican Republic, Philippines, Venezuela, Mexico, Austria

Posted on 3 October 2008. Filed under: Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Education, Employment, Latin America & Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , |

Four on-line videos give an overview of deaf communities around the world; all can be viewed at:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/09/24/deaf-awareness-week-striving-for-quality-education/

The first video on this page shares the story of a school for deaf children in the Central African Republic that has been struggling for funding. Several teachers have quit because they have not been paid consistently for the past four years; only two teachers remain struggling on. Unfortunately, this type of story is common in many schools in developing countries–not only in deaf schools. This video is in the signed language of the Central African Republic with English subtitles. As a deaf person, I can’t tell if this video has English voice over for blind people.

The second video was made by deaf students in the Philippines. This video, in Philippines sign language and English subtitles, portrays the difficulties many deaf people in their country confront when they look for jobs after graduation. Unemployment is another challenge that is common to deaf people and disabled people all around the world–not only in developing countries but also in industrialized countries. I don’t know if this video has voice over.

In Venezuela, teachers for the deaf explain the importance of a bilingual and bi-cultural education. Some Venezuelan Sign Language is seen on the screen in the background scenes, and there are some occasional Spanish words on the screen in between visual shots of children in the classroom, etc. Unfortunately there are no subtitles in any language to help deaf people understand what the teachers say in this video. But hearing people who understand Spanish could give this one a try.

The last video has a deaf woman from Mexico and a deaf man from Austria simultaneously demonstrate the Mexican and Austrian fingerspelled alphabets; the cardinal numbers in Mexican and Austrian signed languages; and the names of the months. I’m guessing there is probably no audio description.

Sighted people will note that the Mexican and Austrian signed languages are dramatically different from each other. I can tell you that they are both also very different from American Sign Language–and all three languages are different from the signed language used in the San Jose area of Costa Rica.

In addition to the four videos, the following web page also has links that give more information about the programs described in the videos:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/09/24/deaf-awareness-week-striving-for-quality-education/



Thank you to Sylvia Cabus for alerting me to these on-line videos.

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Philippines Youth Center Seeks Partnerships for Disabled Youth

Posted on 25 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Opportunities, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

From: Youth Center <philcoched_iyc@yahoo.com.ph>
Subject: PhilCOCHED – Inclusive Youth Center
Date: Monday, August 4, 2008, 4:16 PM

Dear Sir/Madam:

Greetings from PhilCOCHED – Inclusive Youth Center (IYC)!

IYC is a youth program component of Philippine Council of Cheshire Homes for the Disabled (PhilCOCED), which was awarded as one of the top ten accomplished youth organization (TAYO) all over the Philippines . It is called inclusive to bring together the disabled and non-disabled youth into youth-serving organization to help in the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.

IYC continues to promote the rights of persons with disabilities through school-to-school campaign showcasing basketball on wheels exhibition and dancing on wheels. We believe, through this advocacy we can achieve the following objectives:

• Promote social awareness on disability issues
• Inspire other people and build self-confidence among excluded disabled people
• Change the negative attitudes towards the disabled
• Active participation of the disabled in the community
• Capacity building of the youth
• Barkadahan of the disabled and non-disabled youth

With this, we would like to establish partnership with you through our programs and services such as leadership trainings, IT literacy, educational assistance, employment, advocacy, and community involvement or in any other events you are most interested. We believe that your favorable response would reflect your compassion for the youth with disabilities. For more information, you may contact us at (632) 411-5841/721-3620/413-4446 or email us at philcoched_iyc@yahoo.com.ph.

Thank you very much and God bless.

Very truly yours,

VIRGINIA S. RABINO
PhilCOCHED – IYC Project Coordinator
8 Saint Michael Street Cubao, Quezon City Philippines 1111
philcoched_iyc@yahoo.com.ph
Telefax: (632) 721-3620/411-5841/413-4446



This email was recently forwarded to the AsiaPacificDisability email discussion group. People interested in communicating with the Philippines Youth Center should please contact PhilCOCHED directly, NOT We Can Do. Thank you.

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NEWS: Disability Advocate Venus Ilagan Appointed as New RI Secretary General

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Distinguished Disability Advocate Venus Ilagan Appointed as New RI Secretary General

(New York, New York, US, July 14, 2008)

Rehabilitation International
(RI) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Secretary General, Venus Ilagan of the Philippines. As a woman with a disability from the South, Venus has worked tirelessly to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly during the negotiations for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Venus is expected to commence this important new role in September 2008, subject to resolution of visa and contractual arrangements, and Venus will be based at the RI headquarters in New York City, New York.

Venus is a well-known advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities for years. As a leader in the National Organization of Disabled Peoples’ of the Philippines (KAMPI) and the Differently-Abled Women’s Network (DAWN) of the Philippines, as well as holding various positions, including Chairperson, of Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI), Venus has promoted disability rights at the national, regional and international levels. Her vast experience with UN agencies and other international organizations includes her consultancy work with the Asian Development Bank and the World Health Organization.

As a representative of DPI, Venus has strong links within the International Disability Alliance (IDA), a coalition of 10 international and regional organizations of persons with disabilities, and served as IDA Chair from May 2004 -May 2005. She is well regarded within IDA and the newly created IDA CRPD Forum, of which RI serves as the Secretariat.

RI President Michael Fox remarked, “We are extremely pleased that Venus will be joining the RI team. She will be leading the RI Secretariat at a critical time in our growth, with the focus on implementation of the UN Convention and growth of the RI Foundation. We very much look forward to working with her and sharing her insights and experience.”

RI will formally welcome Venus as our new Secretary General during the RI World Congress, to be held in August 2008 in Quebec City, Canada. For more information about this event, please visit www.riquebec2008.org

RI also takes this opportunity to show our great appreciation to the current Secretary General, Tomas Lagerwall of Sweden. Since joining the RI Secretariat in 2001, Tomas has further developed excellent relations with RI membership in many countries, and has provided key support to the development of IDA. Tomas played an important role during the successful negotiations and coming into force of the CRPD. Tomas has demonstrated an enormous dedication to RI, and the RI Executive Committee and members most sincerely thank Tomas for his seven years of service to RI. 

About RI
Founded in 1922, RI is a global network of organizations of persons with disabilities, government agencies, service providers, researchers and advocates promoting and implementing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of about 1,000 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

For more information about RI, please visit their accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org.



The above announcement was circulated by Rehabilitation International. I retrieved it from the AdHoc_IDC email discussion group.

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Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship for Masters or Doctorate

Posted on 25 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Education and Training Opportunities, Fellowships & Scholarships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship for Masters or Doctorate
[The application deadline for this scholarship for people in the Asia-Pacific region is June 30, 2008.]

The Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships are a component of the Australian Leadership Awards, a regional program under the Australian Scholarships initiative. Australian Leadership Awards aim to develop leadership, build partnerships and linkages within the Asia-Pacific.

They are intended for those who are already leaders or have the potential to assume leadership roles that can influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes, both in their own countries and in the Asia-Pacific region. The ALA program comprises of Scholarships and Fellowships.

ALA Scholarships are academically elite awards offered to high achievers from the Asia-Pacific region each year to undertake postgraduate study (Masters or Doctorate) and a Leadership Development Program in Australia.

Selection for ALA Scholarships is highly competitive, based on leadership qualities and on academic excellence.

ALA Scholarships are an investment in the future of the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, ALA scholars are required to return to their home country or the region for two years after they have completed their studies.

In future years, ALA scholars will belong to a unique group – the Australian Scholarships Alumni Network (ASAN) – that will maintain strong and enduring links to Australia. Managed by AusAID as part of Australia’s overseas aid program, ALA Scholarships are open only to citizens of countries in the Asia-Pacific region with which Australia has a significant aid program.

Objectives of ALA Scholarships
ALA Scholarships aim to:

  • develop a cadre of leaders advancing regional reform, development and governance
  • increase exchange of knowledge and information within the region
  • build common purpose and understanding between Australia and the region
  • build capacity to address priority regional issues
  • build effective networks between Australia and the region
  • demonstrate the benefits of Australian education through the provision of high quality education.

Fields of study
Awards are open to all fields of study, however, study programs that relate to the priority themes of international trade, pandemics, security and climate change (including clean energy) are encouraged. Scholarships are not available for military training, or training in areas related to nuclear technology and flying aircraft.

Levels of study
An ALA Scholarship enables candidates to undertake studies leading to a Masters or Doctorate degree in Australia. It does not include Graduate Diplomas, with the exception of those Masters courses that require the completion of a Graduate Diploma as part of the Masters degree.

Who should apply
Outstanding applicants with:

  • a very high level of academic achievement at undergraduate and/or postgraduate level
  • a high level of English language proficiency
  • demonstrated leadership potential and good prospects to influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes in their home country and in the Asia-Pacific region
  • a commitment to participate ASAN on their return home.

Scholarship benefits
An ALA Scholarship has a total value of up to A$110,000 for Masters degrees and A$220,000 for Doctoral programs, not including provisions for the leadership development program.

Benefits include:

  • return air travel
  • visa support
  • establishment allowance
  • full tuition fees
  • =

  • contribution to living expenses
  • Introductory Academic program (IAP)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of the award (for award holder only).

Eligibility
To be eligible for an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Scholarship, applicants must satisfy the eligibility requirements outlined below.

Applicants must be a citizen of one of the participating countries listed below.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis & Futuna.

Applicants must not have Australian or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residence status, nor be in the process of applying.

Application information
<a href=”Read the following information at the scholarship web site before you apply:

Frequently asked questions
Timeline for applicants
Eligibility
Selection criteria
Terms and conditions of the scholarship
How to apply
Further information

If the material found on http://www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar/ala.cfmthe website for the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship does not provide the necessary help, please direct enquiries by email to: ala@ausaid.gov.au

More information is available at the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship web site at: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar/ala.cfm



We Can Do received this announcement via the AdHoc_IDC listserv. People interested in the program should please consult the web site for the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship (click on this link). Any remaining questions not cleared up by their web site can please be directed to the parties involved with the scholarship at ala@ausaid.gov.au, NOT We Can Do.

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Bangkok Event Marks Entry into Force of Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 29 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

United Nations in Bangkok to Mark Entry into Force of Treaty on Disability Rights
Special Event to be Held on Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Bangkok (United Nations Information Services) – A ground-breaking new international treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will enter into force on 3 May 2008 – one month after it was ratified by the twentieth country.

In Asia and the Pacific, which is home to about 400 million persons with disabilities, Bangladesh, India and the Philippines are the three countries which have already ratified the Convention. Thailand is expected to do so soon.

The Convention is the first ever international treaty on the human rights of persons with disabilities. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2006, and it aims to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy human rights on an equal basis with others.

To celebrate the Convention’s entry into force, three UN bodies in Bangkok will organize a special event on Wednesday, 30 April 2008, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 a.m., at the United Nations Conference Centre.

It is being jointly organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP’s Executive Secretary, will address the event, which will feature a keynote speech by Senator Monthian Buntan of Thailand – who is blind – on the impact of the entry into force of the Convention and the importance of its ratification for countries in the region. Ms. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, a member of the
Government of India’s Planning Commission, will also speak.

A related photo exhibition, entitled “Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities,” will be on display featuring various prize-winning photographs. The special event will also include a live musical performance by a group from Thailand, “The Network of Music and Arts of Persons with Disabilities.”

About ten per cent of the world’s total population – around 650 million people – are estimated to be living with various forms of disabilities. The percentage is even higher among the world’s poorest people, around 20 per cent of them having some kind of disability. People with disabilities are mostly marginalized and among the poorest of the poor, with limited access to education, employment, housing, transportation and health services. They represent a significant, but generally overlooked, development challenge.

Ensuring equality of rights and access for all persons with disabilities would have a beneficial impact on the social and economic conditions of each country, by enhancing their participation in education, employment, cultural, social and political activities and increasing their consumer power.

The new Convention marks a significant step in this direction. It encourages States to stop viewing persons with disabilities as passive recipients of charity, medical treatment and social protection. Instead, it casts persons with disabilities as active members of society and “subjects” who have rights and are capable of claiming those rights, being also able to make key decisions based on their free and informed consent.

NOTE TO THE MEDIA: Media representatives are cordially invited to attend this special event on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. at the Reception Hall, Ground Floor, United Nations Conference Centre, at ESCAP’s headquarters in Bangkok.

***

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Aiko Akiyama
Population and Social Integration Section
Emerging Social Issues Division
ESCAP
Bangkok
Tel: 662-2882315
Mobile: 66-81-8309176
Fax: 662-2881030 or 2881009

or

Mr. Ari Gaitanis
United Nations Information Services
ESCAP
Bangkok
Tel: 662-2881862
Fax: 662-288-1052
Email: unisbkk.unescap@un.org

Aiko Akiyama
Social Affairs Officer
Emerging Social Issues Division (ESID)
UNESCAP
RAJDAMNERN NOK AVENUE,
BANGKOK 10200
THAILAND
Tel: 66-2-288-2315
Fax: 66-2-288-1030
Cellular: 66-81-830-9176
Email akiyama@un.org
http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability/index.asp



This announcement was recently circulated on the Global Partnership for Disability and Development listserv.

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NEWS: Philippine Initiative Promotes CRPD Ratification

Posted on 4 March 2008. Filed under: East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

A disability organization, Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas, Inc.(KAMPI), launched a new initiative in late January that promotes ratifying and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Philippines. The initiative has been dubbed “Ang Maykapansanan: Karapatan at Kinabukasan” (Our Rights, Our Future).

Once the CRPD enters full legal force, it will become the first legally-binding, international treaty to protect the human rights of disabled people. Other international human rights instruments either do not address disabled people, or are not legally binding, or both.

(Side note: I was reminded recently that to some people, “convention” means “meeting.” But not in this context! Here, a “convention” is an agreement! So basically, the CRPD is a legally binding agreement among the ratifying countries to pass and implement laws that protect a wide range of human rights for people with disabilities. Ratifying countries also agree to abolish laws that violate the rights of disabled people. Signing a treaty is not the same as ratifying it: signing a treaty is not legally binding, but is a first step toward ratification.)

KAMPI is a member of Disabled People International (DPI), a global federation of national organizations of people with disabilities in 142 countries and territories. DPI, a cross-disability organization, has been heavily involved in promoting the CRPD. Among other things, DPI has created a ratification toolkit and also an implementation toolkit, both targeted at grassroots disability advocates who want to persuade their governments to sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD.

Read more about the KAMPI initiative in the Philippines at

http://v1.dpi.org/lang-en/resources/details?page=901

Also learn more about the CRPD and global efforts to ratify it at www.RatifyNow.org.



We Can Do learned about the KAMPI initiative through the DPI email newsletter.

This article is cross-posted, with minor modifications, at both We Can Do and RatifyNow.org with permission of author.

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



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.



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: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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PAPER: Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries by Shoji Nakanishi

Posted on 30 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Guest Blogger, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/2eeldt

Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries

by Shoji Nakanishi
Disabled People International (DPI) Japan

It has been many years since experts of rehabilitation recommended training and educations to people with disabilities to enable them to get jobs as non disabled people do. The experts believe that independence means only economical independence. As a result, parents think it impossible for their disabled children to live independently in their communities. Parents tend to put these children into a residential institution for them to live permanently. Following these ideas, the government is promoting to build more institutions and to train more experts for people with disabilities.

The Independent living movement by severely disabled people in America denied institutions that lead to isolation and discrimination. In 1972 The First IL center was established in Berkeley, the second one in Houston, in 1974 the third in Boston. A lot of IL centers have come into the world in a very short time. All disabled people in the whole country were united, and then won the amendment of rehabilitation law in 1978. As a result, IL centers got great opportunities to get subsidies from the federal government. “Independent Living: From Social Movement to Analytic Paradigm”, An academic paper written by Gerben DeJong, published in 1978, drastically changed the way of thinking toward disabilities, from rehabilitation to independent living. With this paper, the philosophy of independent living was accepted as a social movement on a academic basis. These two events rapidly promoted the establishment of IL centers nationwide.

Independent Living Movement In Developed countries

The IL movement, which gave dreams and wishes to disabled persons, has grown to service provision systems by disabled peoples themselves and advocacy activities by IL centers in these 30 years in all developed countries, except the Oceania region.

Ed Roberts, the founder of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley and other activists with disabilities said, “People with disabilities should live in communities.” “People with disabilities are neither patients to be cared for, children to be protected, nor Gods to be worshipped.” “People with disabilities themselves can identify their necessary assistance and manage it.” “People with disabilities are the victims of social prejudice rather than victims of disabilities.” This philosophy was soon accepted in many parts of the world. On the grounds of this philosophy, IL centers are providing these services below:

  1. Dispatch of Personal Assistants.
    • There are two ways of dispatching personal assistants; one is the way of direct dispatching like in Japan, another in the way of introducing through IL centers like in the U.S.
  2. Peer Counselling
    • Counselling, talking or sessions among peers who have the same or similar experiences of disabilities.
  3. Independent Living Skill Training
  4. Advocacy Activities
  5. Providing information
    • Housing and social welfare referral are included.

Now the organizations of IL centers are established in each country and region, such as NCIL in America, CAILC in Canada, JIL in Japan, and ENIL in Europe. In 1999 The first summit of World independent Living was held in Washington D.C, U.S.A . Since then, three summits have taken place in different areas where a great number of disabled leaders, including leaders from developing countries became involved.

Conditions concerning Independent Living in developing countries

The Idea of independent living, which insists on self-decision and self-management, also fascinated people with disabilities in developing countries. But because of lack of social resources, it is thought to be difficult in developing countries to achieve environments where there are enough services and accessibilities. Moreover, quite a few people thought by mistake that independence means only economical independence, so that they believed that nobody can live an independent life except for a lightly disabled person. It is nearly impossible for people with disabilities to get jobs in Asia, where only 5 or 10 percent of disabled children can have school education.

As a result, almost all developing countries tried to get disabled people to be independent through CBR (Community based rehabilitation) produced by experts, in the same period of the IL movement. Services based on institutions could be only beneficial for disabled people living in urban areas. The main target of CBR is for disabled people who live in rural areas, occupying 7 or8 percent of the total population. Non-disabled people in their communities were voluntaries trained as CBR workers, and then they did some simple rehabilitation work and help the daily lives for disabled people. Indeed, the quality of life for disabled persons might get improved to some extent, through basic physical training, walking training, sign language education, inclusion by CBR workers, and financial aids of private companies like Micro Credit. But CBR did not necessarily bring independent living for disabled persons though disabled persons had joined as official members since the beginning of providing services. That is because CBR was firstly positioned as extentions of institutions, so that disabled persons were kept under control or management of experts without disabilities.

It is often the case that disabled people who have loved the idea of IL also name their activities IL in some developing countries. For example, a certain disability organization In Mexico established a new organization named “International Organization of Independent Living for People With Disabilities”, arranging the curriculum for disabled people which included lessons about fitness, physiology, swimming, manipulation of wheelchair, driving of remodeled cars, sexuality and family life, urology, training of daily living activities etc. In Thailand, one of the staff with disabilities working at Sirindorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center suggested the Independent Living Unit, providing much the same program as Mexico’s organization did. Even though these trials may not always share the same meaning of original independent living, it indicates that there are also many disabled people having a try at independent living by themselves, in developing countries.

Scheme for spreading IL in developing countries

In 1980, American disabled people who had got involved in the IL movement began to act in other countries to spread the philosophy abroad. Nowadays, Japan is taking charge of propagation of IL in the Asian region, while in America, IL centers or other organizations like Mobility International are inviting other countries’ disabled leaders to their training seminars.

One of 4 activities is often adopted as a way of spreading the IL philosophy in developing countries; first is promoting theoretical framework of IL, second, advocacy, third, participation of severely disabled persons in self-help organizations, and the last, showing a role model as an example of IL.

1. Activity to promote the theoretical framework of IL
  Firstly it is necessary to correct the mistake about IL that independence means doing everything alone without any help. In spite of someone’s help, it is regarded as IL, if only self-decision and self-management can be done. This idea welcomes people with disabilities as “very good news”. But, in most cases, this acceptance does not immediately bring grassroot activities. For instance, a lot of disabled people were excited to meet American activists who came to Japan for an IL promotion tour in 1982, but the IL movement in Japan did not start untill the first IL center was established in 1986. It is very important to follow up on their experiences.

The first IL seminar in Asia was held in Bacolod, the Philippines in 1994, mainly promoted by STIL, Sweden and the Human Care Association, Japan. Three Asian persons with quadriplegia joined this seminar. After the seminar, Motab from Bangladesh tried to expand his job at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed to the activity of independent living but in vain because of his death 3 years ago. Male participants from the Philippines, all of whom had already married, got quite interested in the IL movement, but they found it difficult to make a movement in their own country, because they had to prepare for their family before they join the movement. On the other hand, Topong from Thailand, on the grounds of the ideals of the IL movement, held a demonstration for better access of Sky Train, and educated other organizations in local areas. The Human Care Association supported his activities, and then offered him to come to Japan for training

Famous disabled activists participated in the 1999’s seminar in Malaysia held by the Asia Disability Institute. One of them was Christine Lee, who had staged a demonstration for access of the mono railway at the risk of being arrested. All participants were wildly enthusiastic on the last day of the seminar, and promised each other to promote the IL movement more actively from now on. But actually, few of them were able to increase their activities in the IL movement. There may be two reasons. One is most of the participants have their own jobs and have no time for the IL movement; the other is that severely disabled persons who really need IL have not joined the movement yet.

Promoting activities are very essential to support and spread the IL movement

2. Advocacy
   The IL movement in Brazil was based on advocacy. Rosangela Berman Bieler, a Brazilian woman with quadriplegic who happened to visit an IL center in America was so impressed with its philosophy that she joined the IL movement. In 1988 CVIRJ, the first IL center in Brazil, was establish by her in Rio de Janeiro. CVIRJ began to start a movement for easy access to the city, such as getting rid of steps on side walks. The problem of accessibility is very meanful not only because it is a problem that applies to all kinds of disabled people, but also because it will bring visible outcomes as advocacy. The IL center in Brazil made the movement more powerful by keeping contact with IL centers in America. Now in Brazil, there are 25 IL centers established, and the national union of IL centers has been united.

In South Korea, the IL movement has made rapid progress in a short time, because the Korean people getting involved with the IL movement have already created activities of advocacy on a large scale. Chon Manfu, a severely disabled person who applied for the role model of IL in 2000, was empowered through the experiences of joining big demonstration in 2001 and a long-term hunger strike in May 2002, triggered by the death of a wheelchair user at a subway station. These events were arranged by Pack Gyoung Souk, the principal of a night school for the disabled people. A lot of his students, who have studied IL, are taking part in the IL movement, which is one of the reasons why the Korean IL movement has such power. Now, the main issue in Korea is to train disabled people as peer counselors. The physical and mental conditions for developing IL in Korea are being prepared; 3 IL centers in Japan, Human Care Association, CIL Tachikawa, and HANDS Setagaya, collaborated with each other to establish a new project team that dispatches peer counselors to Korea several times a year and provides long-term training in Japan for Korean disabled leaders. As a result, some of them have reached the high standard of peer counselors that JIL is setting. There are 5 IL centers in Korea.

3. Participation of severely disabled persons in self-help groups

In Thailand, many disabled people used to sell lottery as a job, which made enough money to prepare for their own family. But because of this job, the disability movement did not grow among people with disabilities in Thailand. Under these circumstances, Topong, as I said before, thought it was only the IL movement that would change the environment of disabled people in Thailand. He tried to promote the IL movement in collaboration with 3 organizations of disabled people, Nontabri,Chonbri,Nakonpatom, three of which were very conscious about the rights of people with disabilities. To support his activities, the Human Care Association invited him to come to Japan for an IL seminar.

Each of these three organizations were democratic self-help groups, which provided home visiting services for disabled persons. Leaders of these organizations were willing to accept the idea of IL. The first step of a three year project is to open a seminar by Japanese disabled leaders, ten participants from three organizations were all studying hard, but none of them were severely disabled. So, the project team gave a task for them that they should find at least five severely disabled persons and take them outside their homes until the next years’ seminar was held.

After this, three organizations began to train students to be a voluntary staff, and ask them to take severely disabled persons outside. Some of disabled persons went outside for the first time in their lives; some of them were strogly opposed by their families, so that they were forced to refuse staff visits; some of them gave up to go outside because of their bad health; some of them had lifters fixed in their bathroom by staff who saw families lift the disabled person with great difficulty. As a result, many of them attended the peer counselling workshop held in 2002 empowered physically and mentally. As they are finished learning skills of managing an IL center in 2003-2004 year, the real activities are ready to start.

4. Showing role model of IL

Young disabled persons who belongs to the MileStone Society in Pakistan came to Japan for the Duskin Training Program, including the 9 month IL seminar at several IL centers, such as Human Care Association and Main Stream Association. It is almost a year since they have gone back to Pakistan and begun to start the IL movement. They looked around Lahore to discover severely disabled persons confined in their homes, and persuade them to attend training workshops held at an office. They asked some promising participants to experience IL in a room in the corner of the office.

In the end, a young girl with muscular dystrophy made a decision to live independently. She learned various IL skills such as how to take proper care from others and how to tell personal assistants what she wanted her PA to do by actually living in a special room arranged in a corner of her house. In the day time, now she works as a member of the Life IL Center the renamed office, riding in a power wheel chair taken from Japan. It is very meaningful that she began to live independently for the first time in Pakistan, moreover in such an Islamic society, where women are likely to be conservative. After her independence, two male disabled persons, who have been encouraged by her, want and even practice now to live independently.

Spreading the correct philosophy of IL

It is true that more and more people have heard about IL, and especially in developing countries, where their expectation toward IL is getting bigger and bigger. Nevertheless, most of them have given up their dreams, making excuses like these: “We have no resources to use in our country.” “Prejudices against disabled people are still deeply rooted.” “Government does not still prepare sufficient welfare systems.”

  One of the strategies to achieve the targets of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action is “Strengthened community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities.” It says that “Many developing countries in the region are now beginning to augment and replace traditional institutional and centralized rehabilitation programmes and projects with approaches better suited to their social and economic environments of poverty, high unemployment and limited resources for social services. Community-based rehabilitation programmes form the hub of such strategies. The community-based approach is particularly appropriate for the prevention of causes of disability, early identification and intervention of children with disabilities, reaching out to persons with disabilities in rural areas, raising awareness and advocacy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all activities in the community, including social, cultural and religious activities. Education, training and employment needs could also be met by this approach. It is essential that persons with disabilities exercise choice and control over initiatives for community-based rehabilitation..” It even recommends in Strategy 10 that “Governments, in collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society organizations, should immediately develop national policies, if that has not yet been done, to promote community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, for rehabilitation and for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Community based rehabilitation (CBR) perspectives should reflect a human rights approach and be modeled on the independent living concept, which includes peer counselling.”

Many people tend to think it nearly impossible to introduce IL to their countries. Naturally the idea of IL can apply to all disabled people in all countries by all ages. The problem is whether you can have the courage of doing what you have not done yet, and whether you have many peers and friends who will support your activity. Pioneers have a lot of difficulties, but have a great impact on other people. Nowadays a variety of IL programs and seminars are prepared for such people. People in developed countries including US are ready to assist you to be a leader of IL movement. We are showing the achievements and good news of IL at all times.



Thank you to author Shoji Nakanishi for granting permission to publish this article at We Can Do. Shoji Nakanishi is currently Chairperson of DPI Asia Pacific and Treasurer DPI World Council. He founded the Japan Council on Independent Living Centers.

I first learned about this paper when Ghulam Nabi Nazimani passed it along.

Have you written an article that you think would be appropriate for publication at We Can Do? Please review the We Can Do Wish List for Written Materials and Resources and contact me. You may either leave a comment somewhere at this blog or sent me an email to ashettle [at] patriot.net.

To find more academic papers or research related to people with disabilities in developing countries, click on Academic Papers and Research under “Categories” in the right-hand navigation bar.



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