Policy Briefing: The Impact of the CRPD on Global Commerce and International Accessibility
Thank you to everyone who attended last week's policy briefing in the Senate: The Impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on Global Commerce and the International Accessibility Eco-System. The briefing was a tremendous success with over 200 attendees! We would like to share with you some photos and key statements - please share with others who may not have been able to attend! Please also take a moment to support U.S. ratification efforts for the treaty by taking action below:
What can YOU do to help pass the disability treaty?
|Axel Leblois (G3ict) with Tony Coelho|
Tony Coelho, former U.S. Congressman and primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act: "The CRPD is a blueprint of the globalization of the ADA... The U.S. contributed to CRPD legal definitions such as reasonable accommodation to the whole world. Today 57% of over 125 CRPD ratifying countries have incorporated a definition of reasonable accommodation in their legislation. Just three or four had a definition only 10 years ago. That's tremendous leadership on our part that we have done that. We now need to do it in our participation in the treaty."
|Audience fills CRPD Business/Tech briefing in U.S. Senate|
Frances West, IBM, Director of Human Ability & Accessibility Center: "Right now the United States actually holds the leadership position in terms of technology for accessibility. And I can tell you that since the convention in 2006, for the countries that have signed or ratified, especially in the emerging countries, many of them are actually aggressively trying to vie for that leadership position...IBM [is] a global company, [that operates] in 170 plus countries, with close to 500,000 employees worldwide. And we generate about 100 plus billion dollar revenue a year. As a global company, we try to really look at areas and places where we can add significant value, which, of course, in the business world translates into profit and revenue opportunities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when it was passing, from the very beginning, we saw this as an opportunity to really further the objectives of business such as IBM."
Eric Rosenthal To Win Charles Bronfman Prize
USICD is please to congratulate USICD Board Member and Disability Rights International Executive Director Eric Rosenthal for being this year's recipient of The Charles Bronfman Prize. The Charles Bronfman Prize recognizes humanitarians whose work is inspired by their Jewish values and is of universal benefit to all people. It's goal is to bring public recognition to their humanitarian accomplishments and provide inspiration to the next generation.
Through DRI, Rosenthal has provided global leadership and effected worldwide change to protect a vulnerable and overlooked population. He documents human rights abuses, has trained activists in 25 nations, and works with governments to end abusive practices. He was instrumental in the United Nations' adoption of a new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – now ratified by 130 countries – and through DRI recently launched the Worldwide Campaign to End the Institutionalization of Children.
USICD Executive Director Statement on CRPD at NCD Meeting
On Tuesday, April 23, USICD Executive Director David Morrissey presented public comment at a hearing for the National Council on Disability (NCD) about how they should engage with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. Morrissey requested that NCD help to combat the campaign of misinformation about the treaty and provide education on why the treaty is important to the American disability community. He also shared quotes from disability leaders abroad who emphasized the need for U.S. ratification:
By ratifying the CRPD, the United States can share the American experience of protecting and promoting disability rights with the world. Our influence is sorely needed. The world’s people with disabilities look to the United States on this issue. Hear these voices calling for U.S. ratification:
From Mongolia: “Many countries see US action in human rights as an example. We, persons with disabilities, always take examples from the United States. If the US ratifies the CRPD that will have a huge impact in other countries and will facilitate our advocacy.” Ya.Avirmed, Aivuun NGO for Persons with Disabilities, Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia
From Trinidad: “US disability rights laws are the standard bearer and the fact that the United States Senate is taking steps to ratify the CRPD is further evidence of the importance of this treaty.” Debbie McKell, Trinidad and Tobago Paralympic Committee
Join USICD in 2013
The year ahead promises to be an important time in international disability rights. There are 128 ratifications of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites and the USICD community is committed to seeing the U.S. become the 129th!
USICD has entered 2013 with a vision for serving our community and the global disability rights movement. We have a renewed vigor to continue our ratification effort and are introducing a new initiative to get youth involved in international disability rights. We look forward to a big year, and hope that you will be a part of it!
Visit our membership page to read more about membership in USICD and to download a member information form. If you or your organization are already a member, now is the time to renew. If you've never been a member before, now is the time to join!
Introducing the YiD Internship Program!
With the vital support of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF), USICD is launching its first internship program focusing on youth with disabilities who are interested in international development and foreign affairs careers. The project follows from a vision, core to USICD's mission, to increase disability inclusion in U.S. foreign affairs by supporting future generations of Americans to invest their skills and talents in this field.
The Youth in Development Program (YiD) will bring a handful of talented college students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities to Washington, DC this summer for nine weeks to expose them to the international affairs and development arena. Interns will receive a stipend, travel expenses, and fully-accessible housing.
To learn more about YiD and how to apply, please visit USICD's Youth in Development Initiative page.
Application Deadline: February 18, 2013
USICD Reflects on the Passing of Roger Ebert
The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) deeply mourns the loss of film critic and Chicago Icon Roger Ebert, who passed away on April 4, 2013. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his beloved wife Chaz.
Over the past few years, many people have praised Ebert for continuing to pursue his passion of writing and film criticism after acquiring cancer and dealing with the side effects of cancer. Praise also came from within the disability community. By continuing the work he loved after acquiring a disability, Ebert sent a message to the world that disability is a natural part of life that will impact everyone in some way at some point in his or her life. Just as important, Ebert sent the message that disability doesn’t change who we are and doesn’t stop us from pursuing what we love.
Marca Bristo, president of the USICD board, said, "Roger was a dear friend and I will miss him greatly. He always said that I taught him everything he knew about the disability rights movement. The truth is he taught millions of people what it's like to live with disability with grace, humor, and a love of life!"
When it comes to empathy and disability, Ebert alone changed the minds of many people.
A long time friend and supporter of many in the disability community, Ebert will sadly be missed and will always be remembered.
CRPD Senate Hearing July 12
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, July 12, at 9:00 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50. USICD was thrilled to see a strong turnout by the disability community!
Read the full testimonies of CRPD hearing witnesses at:
From the Archive: United States signs the CRPD
July 24, 2009, President Barack Obama signs the order for the United States to become a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the East Room of the White House. Read USICD's media release about this event here. Photo Courtesy Rehabilitation International.