NEWS: El Salvador, Mexico Ratify Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 21 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release from Rehabilitation International (RI)
Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD

(United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.

Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.

“We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable

Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.

The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications.

For more information, also consult the recent We Can Do post entitled “12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty. Background information on the CRPD, a list of signatories, and a visual map of ratifying countries, can also be found at the United Nations Enable web site. Resources and ideas for how to become involved with the global campaign to ratify the treaty can be found at the RatifyNow organization web site.

# # #

For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (sg@riglobal.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (shantha@riglobal.org), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.

About RI
Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and was an active member of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

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



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CONFERENCE: 21st World Congress of Rehabilitation International

Posted on 6 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Events and Conferences, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Rehabilitation International (RI) will be holding its 21st World Congress next year, August 25 to 28, 2008, in Quebec City, Canada.  More details are available in English, French, or Spanish at the conference web site.  Conference organizers are accepting submissions of abstracts through October 31, 2007.

The following text is taken from RI’s conference web site:

Disability Rights and Social Participation: Ensuring a Society for All

The international community is facing a unique opportunity to drastically improve the living conditions of hundreds of millions of people with disabilities by implementing the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty provides the framework for the development of good policies, actions and projects which can have a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities all over the world. People with disability, their family and friends, human rights advocates, experts, government representatives, service providers and civil society leaders from all over the world will gather in Quebec City, Canada from August 25-28, 2008, for the 21st RI World Congress to discuss key disability issues and build partnerships. The event will take place at the Quebec City Convention Center.

The theme of the Congress “Disability Rights and Social Participation: Ensuring a Society for All” is in accordance with RI priorities as well as Canadian and Québec social policy objectives in the field of disability.

The reality of disability is not only the problem of a social minority since disability affects almost every person in society at some point in their lives.

Goals

The aim of the RI World Congress is to share concrete good practices at the local, regional, national and international levels. Such achievements are founded on partnerships that encompass specific responsibilities assumed by public authorities and society in making significant progress in disability-related areas.

The purpose of the RI World Congress is also to act as a catalyst for concretely implementing human rights for people with disabilities by creating a society that is accessible for all.
http://www.riquebec2008.org/


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Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs UN CRPD

Posted on 2 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release was put out yesterday by Rehabilitation International (RI); We Can Do has made some modifications to RI’s text.

Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs the UN Disability Rights Convention:

Rehabilitation International (RI) Urges Governments to Continue Momentum Toward first 20 Ratifications

(New York , United States , October 1, 2007): RI applauds the Governments of Gabon and India for ratifying, and Cambodia for signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as part of the UN Treaty Event that began last week. In addition, Cambodia also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

“The ratifications by Gabon and India further build momentum toward the 20 ratifications required for the treaty to become international law. It is estimated that in India alone there are over 100 million people with disabilities — the fact that India has ratified has an enormous impact on the world’s disability community,” said RI President Michael Fox.

After receiving this press release, We Can Do received word that Japan was to have signed the CRPD; however, I have not yet seen a press release (in a language I can read) or any other official confirmation. I will make an announcement here when I know more.

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI continues to urge all countries to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol as soon as possible and without reservations, understandings or declarations.

“I am very pleased that there has been so much interest in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol during the UN Treaty Event. Several countries have come forward to sign the treaty, and I am especially pleased that two States — Gabon and India — deposited their instruments of ratification today. I very much look forward to the rapid entry into force of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol,” said Mr. Nicolas Michel, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Shantha Rau, RI Senior Program Officer, said, “RI recognizes the hard work of NGOs at the national level, who continue to work tirelessly to promote the equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities. In fact, RI is set to launch a new initiative to implement the Convention in India , together with Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre. This project seeks to empower women with disabilities in eastern India through training in disability rights and assistance with micro-credit enterprises.”

The CRPD was open for signature on March 30, 2007 and to date, 117 countries have signed the Convention, 66 have signed the Optional Protocol, seven states have ratified the treaty and three states has ratified the Protocol. CRPD signatories form the majority of the 192 United Nations member countries. The CRPD is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted.

You can read the original text of the convention in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, or Chinese at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm. A “plain language” version of the convention is availabe at We Can Do at http://tinyurl.com/36ofsl. The plain language version rewrites the official version of the convention into easier English for use with people who have difficulty understanding legal language, or for people who wish to use it as a resource in translating the convention to other languages. You can find out if your country is among the signatories at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/convbycountry.htm.

If you wish to become involved in encouraging your country to sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD then you may find it helpful to consult the ratification and implementation toolkits developed by DPI) at http://www.icrpd.net. Both toolkits are available in English, Spanish, and French and can either be read on-line or downloaded in Word document format. The ratification toolkit explains why it is important for countries to not only sign but also fully ratify the CRPD. It guides advocates through the process of persuading their governments to both sign and ratify the CRPD. After your country has ratified the CRPD, the implementation toolkit guides advocates through the process of helping your governments put the CRPD into real-life practice.

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 over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 96 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.


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