Key to Post-2015: Hold Donors to Account

September 23, 2013
Source: Disability Rights Fund



Key to Post-2015: Hold Donors to Account

SEPTEMBER 23, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director

Telephone: +1-617-261-4593



BOSTON, MA – Today, the United Nations General Assembly convenes a High-level Meeting on Disability and Development at the level of Heads of State and Government, with the overarching theme "The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond."As governments and UN agencies meet, it is critical to ensure that the next development agenda elevates participation of people with disabilities – not only as recipients but as decision-makers,” said Diana Samarasan, Executive Director of the Disability Rights Fund.


Inclusion of people with disabilities into human rights and development funding is still marginal. People with disabilities make up one billion people around the world – one in seven – and yet receive only 3-4% of human rights and development funding and are largely absent from the donor decision-making table.


Since 2008, with the pooled resources of 7 donors - and with people with disabilities themselves in majority at governance, advisory and staffing levels - the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and its sister fund, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), have given out $10 million for rights advancement by organizations of people with disabilities (DPOs) across the developing world. According to a report on human rights grantmaking by the Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders’ Group, DRF is now one of the top 15 foundations by number of human rights grants and at the top in terms of number of grants to disability rights.[1]


With the participation of people with disabilities as decision makers, DRF and DRAF have been able to fund extraordinary rights advances. In May, a delegation of 12 indigenous leaders with disabilities established a caucus and presented an expert report on conditions for indigenous persons with disabilities at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Across the Pacific, where treaty ratification is poor, governments are signing and ratifying the CRPD due to the advocacy of disabled persons organizations. In Nicaragua and Peru, new national legislation – placed before government through citizen’s initiatives - protects and promotes the rights of persons with disabilities. Other civil society organizations - like the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust which is partnering with the National Council of Disabled Women to bring cases of violence against women with disabilities to court - are taking up the cause.


By ensuring that people with disabilities drive funding strategies and decisions, and by supporting disabled persons organizations to use the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), DRF and DRAF are helping to ensure that rights – not charity – set the frame for an approach to disability. The post-2015 process must do the same – ensure that no one is left behind by mandating inclusion and equity in all stages of development.

[1] “Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking,” The Foundation Center, 2013, p. 9 and p. 103.