May 3, 2011


April 2011


The Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society. It is also available online at: http://www.un.org/disabilities.


In this issue:


§        Status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

§        Highlights

o       CRPD Committee concludes its 5th session

o       CRPD Committee calls for papers

o       Promoting autism awareness at the United Nations

o       New web resource page on disability and sport

o       United Nations Enable on Facebook

o       Launch of the first  World Disability Report

o       New UN resolution addresses discrimination against persons affected by leprosy

o       Greater support for victims of landmines in Afghanistan

o       Conference adopts declaration on non-communicable diseases

o       WIPO launches accessible publishing guidelines

o       Decade for Road Safety launched in Belgrade

o       Regional consultation on access to HIV treatment

o       Global Contact Group on AIDS and Disability

§        Upcoming events

§        Other news





99 ratifications of the Convention

147 signatories to the Convention


Optional Protocol to the Convention


61 ratifications of the Optional Protocol

90 signatories to the Optional Protocol


Fourth Conference of States Parties to be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 7-9 September 2011.




CRPD Committee concluded its fifth session

The fifth session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities took place from 11 to 15 April 2011 and opened with a welcome note by Mr. Ronald McCallum, the re-elected Chairman of the Committee. The opening also included a swearing-in of the new members of the Committee: Ms. Theresia Degener, Mr. Gabor Gombos, Ms. Fatiha Hadj-Salah, Mr. Hyung Shik Kim, Mr. Stig Langvad, Ms. Silvia Judith Quan-Chang, Mr. Carlos Rios Espinosa, and Mr. Damjan Tatic. Ms. Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Ms. Edah Wangechi Maina and Ms. Jia Yang were elected as Vice-chairs, and Ms. Theresia Degener was designated by acclamation as the Rapporteur. A statement was delivered by Ms. Marcia Kran, Director of the Research and Right to Development Division of the OHCHR. Ms. Kran encouraged the Committee to make clear and targeted recommendations which, in the experience of other treaty bodies, make them more likely to be implemented. DESA held a dialogue with the Committee members and provided a briefing on its initiatives in promoting the implementation of the Convention, as well as updates on developments regarding the upcoming 4th Conference of States Parties. Brief statements by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) followed, including a briefing on the situation in Japan after the earthquake. The Committee was also briefed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Mr. Shuaib Chalklen. The Committee adopted its first concluding observations in relation to Tunisia and also a list of issues relating to its dialogue with Spain. The concluding observations are available on the Committee’s website under the 5th session: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Session5.aspx. Learn more about the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspx. For more information about the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, please visit: http://www.srdisability.org/index.html.


CRPD Committee calls for papers

The CRPD Committee has sent out a call for papers on the “Practical and Theoretical Measures for the Implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”. Submissions are requested by 17 June 2011. More information: http://www2.ohchr.org/SPdocs/CRPD/Call_for_papers_art12.doc.


Promoting autism awareness at the United Nations

Multiple events were organized over several days at the United Nations to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day - 2 April. Events included film screenings about autism, a book signing and a panel discussion entitled “Solving the autism public health puzzle: Regional and international collaboration”. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message to observe the Day, said that although the recognition of autistic conditions among the scientific, health and care-giving communities was improving, public awareness remained low. More information: http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/index.shtml.


New web resource page on disability and sports

The new Disability and Sports web page on the United Nations Enable website highlights the unique ability of sport to transcend linguistic and cultural barriers making it an excellent platform for strategies for advancing inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities in society and development. It also draws attention to the universal popularity of sport and its physical, social and economic development benefits that make it an ideal tool for fostering the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities. The web page also provides links to publications and other documents on the issue, as well as links to related websites. Along with Member States and civil society, DESA will organize a panel discussion on 27 June at UN Headquarters to discuss issues on how to tap the potential of sports to promote disability-inclusive development and raise public awareness about disability issues. More information: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1563.


United Nations Enable on Facebook

A new Facebook page, United Nations Enable was launched to inform users of this social network to find out more about the work of the United Nations for persons with disabilities, as well as upcoming events. More information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Nations-Enable/196545623691523


Launch of the first World Disability Report

A new publication, the first ever World Report on Disability, produced  jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, reviews evidence about the global situation of persons with disabilities, and offers directions for policy and practice to address exclusion. The report will be launched at UN Headquarters on 9 June. It contains chapters on health; rehabilitation; assistance and support; enabling environments; education; and employment. Importantly, the report also includes the first new disability prevalence estimates since the 1970s and makes the case for better data collection. This pioneering report demonstrates how removing barriers, investing in rehabilitation and more accessible environments can enable millions of persons with disabilities to participate in education, employment and wider society. At the intersection of human rights, development, public health and disability studies, the World Report on Disability is an important publication for policy-makers, professionals, persons with disabilities and their families. More information: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/en/index.html.


New UN resolution addresses discrimination against persons affected by leprosy

A new General Assembly resolution, “Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members” (A/RES/65/215), calls for the treatment of persons affected by leprosy and their family members as individuals with dignity who are entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms.More information: http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/gadocs/a_res_65_215.pdf.


Second Pacific Regional Conference on Disability

Members of the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), including Governments of countries in the Pacific region, as well as development organizations, non-governmental and civil society organizations and human rights institutions in the region attended the Second Pacific Regional Conference on Disability.  The Conference was held from 4 to 7 April in Auckland, New Zealand, under the theme “Promoting Actions on the Convention on the Rights of Personswith Disabilities (CRPD) in the Pacific Region”. The outcome document included a list of recommendations to all stakeholders to take significant and tangible steps to further implement the Convention and empower persons with disabilities and their organizations. More information: http://www.pacificdisability.org/newsReader.aspx?newsId=215.


Greater support for victims of landmines in Afghanistan

In an effort to further mainstream support to victims of landmines into broader national disability frameworks - the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Afghanistan has developed an alternate mechanism to channel funding provided to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for victim assistance. At the request of UNMAS, UNOPS Afghanistan Operations Centre (AGOC) has established the United Nations Afghanistan Disability Support Programme (ADSP), covering the spectrum of disability support including landmine victim assistance. The ADSP became fully operational in April 2011 - providing technical advice, training and capacity development and financial support to the Afghan Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, and Ministry of Education. Initially funded by mine action funds, ADSP will look to draw funds from other sources as the programme expands. More information: http://www.mineaction.org/overview.asp?o=22


WIPO launches accessible publishing guidelines

The Enabling Technologies Framework is a three-year project funded by WIPO and endorsed by the Stakeholders Platform of WIPO that was started in June 2010. This joint project involving both EDItEUR and the DAISY Consortium aims to further develop mainstream publishing processes so that they can deliver digital publications that are fully accessible to persons with reading disabilities. At the end of the first year of the project, EDItEUR launched the “Accessible Publishing, Best Practice Guidelines for Publishers” that are available in HTML, Word and PDF at http://www.visionip.org.


Regional consultation on access to HIV treatment

Delegates from the 24 Asia-Pacific countries met in Bangkok from 30 to 31 March 2011 to review progress and challenges to the region’s efforts to ensure access to HIV services for all. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) organized the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on Universal Access to HIV Treatment, Care and Support that brought together 200 representatives from Governments, the UN system, development partners and communities most affected by HIV. More information: http://www.unescap.org/sdd/meetings/hiv/index.asp.


Global Contact Group on AIDS and Disability

The Global Contact Group on AIDS and Disability are coordinating efforts to include a disability perspective in HIV/AIDS advocacy and programming efforts at the international level. The Group is currently engaged in efforts to promote the inclusion of issues that affect persons with disabilities at the upcoming High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on AIDS to be held from 8-10 June. For more information or to participate in the group, please email: GCGAD@listserv.syr.edu.



(We welcome information from the general public on key international disability events for inclusion in the list below.)


10 to 11 May: The Big Event 2011 – In Control Australia

Presented by the NSW Chapter of In Control Australia, the theme of this year’s BiG Event is: Self-directed Support: Making it Happen. The event brings over twenty inspiring and highly experienced speakers together with people living with disability, families, carers, advocates, policy makers, support services, government, and administrators. More information: http://www.incontrol.org.au/coming_events.asp.


23 to 29 May: African Youth with Disabilities: Raising our Voices for Inclusion

Organized by the Open Society Foundations’ Youth Initiative and Disability Rights Initiative, "African Youth with Disabilities: Raising our Voices for Inclusion", will respond to the growing youth with disabilities movement on the African continent. The meeting, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, aims to strengthen the African youth with disabilities network and develop partnerships that will help mobilize, empower and coordinate youth with disabilities’ initiatives. The Initiative will provide 50 youth with disabilities an opportunity to learn, collaborate and plan strategies for a more inclusive Africa. More information: http://www.youthpolicy.org/disabilities.


30 to 31 May: Conference on Disability in Conflicts and Emergencies

The Conference on Disability in Conflicts and Emergencies: “Reaching the most vulnerable” will be held in Oslo, Norway from 30-31 May 2011. The conference is being hosted by the Norwegian disability umbrella organization, The Atlas Alliance, in cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Conference aims to address the issues related to persons with disabilities in disasters and crises, who are among the most vulnerable, both on account of disability and poverty. More information: http://www.atlas?alliansen.no/Faktaark?html?versjon/Disability?in?Conflicts?and?Emergencies.


30 May to 17 June: 17th Session of the Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The 17th session of the Council will include a debate on the Council President's Open-ended Informal Consultations on draft resolution on the Outcome of the HRC Review. More information:  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/17session/index.htm.


8 to 10 June: High-level meeting on AIDS

The United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS will be held at UN Headquarters from 8 to 10 June 2011. The Assembly will conduct a comprehensive review of the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Representatives of non-governmental organizations in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council, civil society organizations and the private sector, will also be included in the list of speakers for the plenary meetings of the High-Level Meeting. The Global Contact Group on AIDS and Disability in partnership with UN agencies, civil society and other development partners will hold a side-event on AIDS and disability at the meeting. More information: http://www.unaids.org/en/aboutunaids/unitednationsdeclarationsandgoals/2011highlevelmeetingonaids


9 June: Launch of World Disability Report 2011 at UN Headquarters

(Please see above for more details)


26 June: 9th Annual Hope and Possibility Race

Organized by Achilles International each year in New York City’s Central Park, this five-mile race for all athletes, including athletes with disabilities, draws celebrities, volunteers, supporters and spectators to join in a celebration of the human spirit. More information: http://www.achillesinternational.org/news/hope-and-possibility.


3 to 8 July: 5th IDP Africa Forum: Access Africa

The 5th IDP-Institutional Development Forum will focus on how the power of technology can advance equality and rights of persons who are blind and partially sighted. Participants will include representatives of Government ministries, international organizations, organizations of and for the blind, universities, as well as parents, persons who are blind and partially sighted, vendors and sponsors of assistive technology. More information: http://www.perkins.org/international-programs/localexpertise/idp.html#Access_Africa_The_5th_IDP_Africa_Forum.


4 to 7 July: ECOSOC High Level Segment

The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) of the 2011 High Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to be held in Geneva will focus on implementing the internationally-agreed goals and commitments in regard to education. The meeting will also assess the status of the implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda with a focus on its education-related goals and objectives. As the 2011 ECOSOC AMR will focus on “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”, it provides an opportunity to highlight the marginalization faced by children with disabilities with regard to their access to education. DESA along with its partners will organize a side-event panel discussion on realizing the MDG of universal primary education for children with disabilities. More information on the 2011 ECOSOC AMR: http://esango.un.org/irene/?page=static&content=statements2011 and http://www.un.org/ecosoc.


18 to 24 July: XVI World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf

This first-ever WFD Congress in Africa will be held in Durban, South Africa. The Congress will bring together activists, professionals and interest groups to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise to be used for welfare and improving the human rights of Deaf people in Africa and around the world. It will also be a time to review achievements through the implementation of the CRPD. More information: http://www.wfd2011.com/information/letter.html.


25 to 26 July:  General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Youth
As part of the International Year of Youth, the General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on youth and will have as its overarching theme “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”. The high-level meeting will comprise of two consecutive informal interactive roundtables on 25 July 2011 and two plenary meetings on 26 July 2011. The round tables will be chaired by Member States at the invitation of the President of the Assembly. DESA in collaboration with other partners will organize a side-event on youth with disabilities at the meeting. More information: http://social.un.org/youthyear.


7 to 9 September: Fourth Conference of States Parties to the CRPD

The next Conference of States Parties will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 7-9 September 2011. The theme and subthemes of this Conference will be announced later this month.More information will be posted on the Enable website at http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1535.


10 September: Child Rights and Sight Conference 2011

The 3rd Annual Conference on Child Rights and Sight will be held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The Conference is being organized by Distressed Children and Infants International (DCI) in partnership with the Yale UNICEF, Rights and Sight for Children (RSC) and Eye Surgery Associates. The goal of the Conference is to raise awareness of children’s rights in local, national, and international communities; to discuss key issues of poverty in the 21st century; and to provide a forum for discussing creative, community-driven methods for alleviating child labour, hunger, and poverty around the world. More information: http://www.distressedchildren.org.


19 to 20 September: High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases
The High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly will address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide, with a particular focus on developmental and other challenges and social and economic impacts, particularly for developing countries. The Assembly in its resolution 65/238 also requests the President of the Assembly to organize an informal interactive hearing, scheduled for 16 June 2011, with non-governmental and civil society organizations, the private sector and academia to provide input to the preparatory process for the high-level meeting. More information: http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/65/issues/ncdiseases.shtml


11 to 13 October: ESCAP meeting on a New Asian and Pacific Decade to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) will hold a consultation conference in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss strategies to further promote disability rights agenda by extending the Asian and Pacific Decade. More information: http://www.unescap.org/sdd/meetings/meetings.asp.


10 to 13 October: DPI’s 8th World Assembly

Disabled Peoples International (DPI) will hold its 8th World Assembly in Durban, South Africa. The theme of the Assembly is “Disability United Movement in creating a society for all through the UN Disability Convention and the Millennium Development Goals.” More information: http://www.dpi2011.co.za/


12 to 20 November: Fourth Parapan American Games

The Fourth Parapan American Games will be held in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, with thousands athletes with physical and sensory disabilities participating from the Americas in 13 paralympic sports. More information: http://parapan.guadalajara2011.org.mx/en.  


29 November to 1 December: 2nd Asia Pacific CBR Congress

The 2nd Asia Pacific Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Congress will be held in Manila, Philippines, on the role of Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) in CBR, as well as climate change and disability, corporate business in disability, harmonizing CRPD with domestic laws, CBR as a strategy in building communities for everyone, including older persons, accessibility and CBR, UNESCAP and CBR, the WHO CBR Guidelines and the CRPD. More information: http://www.ncda.gov.ph.


3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2011

This year, the Day will be commemorated under a general theme with supporting sub-themes to draw attention to key areas that would work in synergy to mainstream disability in all development processes. The theme for 2011 is: “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”. For sub-themes and more information: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1561.



(The information below is provided by the NGO disability community and others for informational purposes only. This does not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.)


Accessibility Standards Council Information
Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (AODA) 2005 on June 13, 2005, making it the first jurisdiction in Canada to commit to creating comprehensive and mandatory accessibility standards in key areas of everyday life. The AODA was enacted to provide for the development, implementation and enforcement of accessibility standards to achieve the goal of an Ontario that is accessible for persons with disabilities by 2025. More information: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/OntarioAccessibilityLaws/2005/index.aspx.


New disability services directory in Pakistan

This directory provides details on accessible workplaces, restaurants and services, as well as schools, Government institutions, etc. More information: http://directory.nowpdp.org/


FIA Guide for the Disabled Traveller

An FIA Foundation funded project on disability parking permits around the world has recently been completed. The output is the FIA Guide for the disabled traveller. The Guide explains the parking rules for disability parking permit holders in about 130 countries and federal states, and highlights whether or not the parking permit of a disabled visitor can be used in another country. The FIA Guide is a new resource and is freely available on-line at: www.fiadisabledtravellers.com.
Call center empowers people with a range of disabilities

Call Yachol (www.callyachol.co.il) is a one-of-a-kind Israeli call center employing 180 Jewish and Arab disabled adults. In Hebrew, the name means “Everyone Can.”  Psychologist Gil Winch, founder of the venture, says that there is no reason for mental or physical limitations to keep their employees from excelling on the job. Most have previously suffered from being shunned by mainstream employers and lack self-confidence. The centre implements a parent-based management model where workers are given affection and have scheduled time for team fun. The arrangement has generated interest from employers in several countries looking to replicate the idea. Now based in Rishon Lezion, future Call Yachol centres are planned for Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. More information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wip61zrjGZs


Deaf people in tough war against HIV

The Citizen Correspondent in Tanzania reports that deaf people are often marginalized and consequently subjected to unemployment and endless poverty, and do not have access to society on an equal basis with others. They face many problems in accessing health information and services, which increases their hardship and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Read the article: http://thecitizen.co.tz/magazines/26-thebeat/10205-deaf-people-in-tough-war-against-hiv.



 Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Division for Social Policy and Development

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

2 UN Plaza, DC2-1306, New York, NY 10017, USA.

Website: http://www.un.org/disabilities, Email: enable@un.org.