The 12th Conference of States Parties (COSP) took place June 11-13th at the United Nations in New York City, following a one-day civil society forum. Three roundtables addressed the t opics related to Technology and Digitalization; Social Inclusion through the right to the highest standard of Health and the Participation in Cultural Life, Leisure and Sports. The cross-cutting theme was Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the CRPD.
Our network was very well represented from self-advocates and members; our President, council members, staff team, as well as member organizations from Peru, USA, Mexico, Canada, UAE and Kenya participated in COSP.
Inclusion international’s delegation was involved in:
The Civil Society Forum
On 10th June, a civil society forum was hosted by the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism. The Civil Society Forum is an opportunity to raise the issues that are not addressed during COSP. Moreover, it is an additional space for civil society representatives to discuss together about current standing issues related to the CRPD’s implementation and the 2030 agenda.
Our council members, Sue Swenson and Luis Gabriel Villareal, co-moderated an interactive dialogue session on Protecting the rights of children with disabilities to live with their family through deinstitutionalization inclusive education, and access to health and adequate medical services alongside Vibhu Sharma, a youth advocate from India.
The Conference of State Parties – Main sessions
This year, people with intellectual disabilities and their families were well represented during the plenary sessions. Each day, at least one representative from our network were among the speakers:
Our President, Sue Swenson delivered a statement during the opening session.
She highlighted the continuous issues and challenges related to institutions and children with intellectual disabilities. She shared our Calls to Action and emphasized the crucial role of families in our movement.
On 12 June 2019, during the second roundtable on Social inclusion and the right of the highest attainable standard of health, Kory Earle, People First Canada President and member of the Empower Us team, delivered a statement on a panel along with Catalina Devandas, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of people with Disabilities and other official representatives from States and UN agencies.
He explained what social inclusion means for persons with intellectual disabilities and the challenges that people with intellectual disabilities face in enjoying their right to health.
The last day of the Conference, Jaime Cruz, Empower Us fellow and member representative from Peru, was among the panellists of the third roundtable on Inclusion of persons with disabilities in society through participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sports. He shared his experience as a sportsman and actor and highlighted the importance of the culture and sports for people with intellectual disabilities to be included in the society.
Luis Gabriel Villareal, our Council Member from Colombia, spoke during the interactive dialogue session on behalf of the civil society organizations.
The Conference of State Parties – Side events
This year, Inclusion International organized two side events:
- Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Institutions: Lived Experiences and Ways to Achieve Deinstitutionalization
This side event, moderated by our President, Sue Swenson, was a great success thanks to insightful presentations from self-advocates sharing their lived experiences and the quality recommendations given by Robert Martin, CRPD Committee member.
The event was attended by more than 70 people.
- Digitalization, Empowerment and Decision-making: How can we ensure that persons with intellectual disabilities are included?
This side event, moderated by our President, Sue Swenson, and led by expert panelists from the digital and academic research world, discussed the risks and hidden sides of technologies. Tia Nelis, Policy Advisor and Self-Advocate from TASH, shared her efforts on making access to technologies easier for people with intellectual disabilities through an introductory guide on how to use technologies.
We also co-hosted two side events related to political participation of people with intellectual disabilities with the UNDP as well as an event on deinstitutionalization in the Arab Region with the UN ESCWA.
In addition to these events, II representatives were involved as panellists in some other side events such as: Autism and motherhood, Social inclusion through Sports, Feminist Leadership within the Disability Movement and Inclusive Education.
In parallel, our self-advocates took the opportunity of the COSP to make connections and to share their work with the members States representatives of their respective countries and with the UN experts such as Cataline Devandas, the Special Rapporteur on the rights on People with Disabilities, and Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, the Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility.
The COSP was also an occasion for our self-advocates to meet and discuss as part of our Empower Us program.