The United Nations hosts an annual Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to review progress on implementation on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Inclusion International representatives participated in the recent 8th CoSP, June 9 – 11, 2015 at the UN headquarters in New York City. The theme of the 8th CoSP was: “Mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda”
In addition to the CoSP, the International Disability Alliance, in partnership with Disabled Persons International and others, hosted a Civil Society Forum on June 8, 2015. The Civil Society Forum is designed as a space for civil society organizations to share information about their efforts to advance the implementation of the CRPD.
II’s delegation was led by II president Klaus Lachwitz, and included Diane Richler, II past-President, Nagase Osamu, II council member; David Corner, II council member; Julia Hawkins, support to David Corner; and, II staff Connie Laurin-Bowie and Anna MacQuarrie. Also II member representatives included: Fatma Wangare, (KAIH) Kenya; Monica Cortes, (ASDOWN) Colombia, Tara Brinston and Tim Stainton, (CACL) Canada.
II’s delegation was active and visible, ensuring that OUR VOICE was heard at the UN. II provided leadership in hosting and participating in many of the side events held over the course of the 3 day CoSP. In particular:
Overcoming barriers to live independently in the community
Overcoming barriers to live independently in the community hosted by the International Disabilities Alliance, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and the governments of New Zealand, Austria, Italy.Diane Richler spoke powerfully about the need to support families and to invest in building social capital and transforming communities. II honourary lifetime member, Robert Martin, spoke about the need to close institutions and that institutions are from “yesterday’s world”. He reminded participants that “it’s not us that has to change; it’s our communities”. Also speaking at the session, Ms Catalina Devandas, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, reflected that poverty has been a driver for both institutionalization and social exclusion.
Post-2015 agenda and Education: Securing Inclusion as the Foundation
Post-2015 agenda and Education: Securing Inclusion as the Foundation, hosted by II in partnership with UNICEF and OHCHR, focused on securing inclusive education in the post-2015 development agenda, in particular in the sustainable development goal on education. Klaus Lachwitz chaired the session which included discussion of the Sustainable Development Goal and Goal #4 on Inclusive quality education. What that goal will mean and how we ensure that governments and world leaders commit investments that will advance real inclusion of children with disabilities
Preventing and eliminating violence against girls and women with disabilities
Preventing and eliminating violence against girls and women with disabilities, hosted by Handicap International, included a presentation from Fatma Wangare. Fatma, the Director, of the Kenyan Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, KAIH, II’s member in Kenya, highlighted the importance of partnership to sustain momentum to end violence. The session also profiled the work of II’s Colombian member, ASDOWN.
Intersectionality between the CRPD and the Convention on the Rights of Children: linkages to the post-2015 development agenda
Intersectionality between the CRPD and the Convention on the Rights of Children: linkages to the post-2015 development agenda, hosted by UNICEF and the International Disability Alliance, included a presentation from Connie Laurin-Bowie, II’s Executive Director. Connie reflected on the link between child participation and self-advocacy. She reinforced the message we heard at our self-advocacy forum in Africa, and from others, that self-advocacy starts at birth and starts at home. She also spoke of the need to ensure OUR VOICE is part of broader education reform efforts. Connie highlighted that real inclusion depends on changing and growing strong communities.
Developing National-Level Disability Data Strategies
Developing National-Level Disability Data Strategies, hosted by II, the Canadian Association for Community Living, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Government of Canada. The session focused on how to ensure adequate data on disability is captured in ways that are useful and effective.
Additionally, two II members (KAIH (Kenya) and ASDOWN Colombia)) were selected as two of the countries profiled at the Disability and Gender Forum of the Making it Work Initiative hosted by Handicap International on Monday June 8th in advance of the CoSP.
The focus of the forum was: Preventing and Eliminating Violence against Girls and Women with Disabilities: Learning from Good Practices in Nine Countries.
Fatma Wangare and Monica Cortes both presented on their efforts.