Unidad, Desarrollo, Paz y Esperanza en América Latina y el Caribe

(Haga clic aquí para ver el blog en inglés / Click here for the blog in English)

RIADIS, la Red Latinoamericana de Organizaciones no gubernamentales de Personas con Discapacidad y sus familias, tuvo la VI Conferencia Latinoamericana de RIADIS del 13 al 17 de marzo en la Habana, Cuba. El tema era “Latinoamerica Inclusiva en Unidad, Desarrollo, Paz y Esperanza” con un Congreso Internacional, la Asamblea General de RIADIS y eventos paralelos de los Jóvenes con Discapacidad y Personas Indigenos de Discapacidad. RIADIS se fundó en 2002 en Venezuela y tiene 55 OPD en 15 países en América Latina y el Caribe, muchos de los cuales estaban en la conferencia con aproximadamente 250 participantes. La conferencia tuvo un Congreso Internacional, una Asemblea General y eventos paralelos que se centraron en juventud con discapacidad y personas indígenas con discapacidad. También, comisiones sobre personas indígenas, juventud y mujeres con discapacidad se fundieron durante la conferencia.

El objetivo principal de la conferencia era “continuar avanzando en América Latina y el Caribe en la inclusión efectiva de las personas con discapacidad, desde el trabajo unido y coordinado entre las organizaciones, los gobiernos y otros actores claves en la región, usando la CDPD, los ODS y otras herramientas de monitoreo de Derechos Humanos.” La Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) y la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible alineado con los temas “nada sobre nosotros sin nosotros” y “nadie se quede atrás.”

Alt="Presentación del panel en la conferencia"

Presentación del panel en la conferencia

Fue un honor presentar en la conferencia regional por CBM. Pude participar de diferentes maneras. Presenté dos veces durante El Congreso Internacional, fui observadora oficial de CBM durante la Asemblea General y di apoyo como intérprete de lengua de señas y español.

En la primera sesión presenté con Victor Baute de Venezuela sobre “Una mirada a la Agenda 2030 desde la perspectiva de la CDPD, y BRIDGE en América Latina.” La presentación realzó los talleres que pasaron con IDA y IDDC (Panamá) y CBM (Perú), pero al mismo tiempo hablé de la importancia y necesidad de tener más capacidad y talleres regionales para las OPD sobre la Convención, la Agenda 2030 y BRIDGE.

Alt="Intérpretes de la Lengua de Señas de la conferencia de RIADIS"

Intérpretes de la Lengua de Señas de la conferencia de RIADIS

Además, presenté el trabajo de CBM en América Latina y el Caribe. Específicamente, CBM tiene 50 proyectos en 11 países en la región. En Centro América, tenemos proyectos en Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua; en el Caribe tenemos proyectos en Cuba y Haití; y en Sur de América tenemos proyectos en Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay y Perú. Aunque trabajamos en 11 países, los países prioritarios son Bolivia, Guatemala y Haití.

Los siguientes son dos ejemplos de proyectos de CBM en la región. En primer lugar, en respuesta al huracán Matthew, CBM suministró agua a las comunidades afectadas por el huracán en el este de Cuba. En segundo lugar, CBM apoyó un proyecto de recopilación de datos sobre la prevalencia de las personas con discapacidad en Guatemala. CBM, CONADI (Consejo Nacional de la Discapacidad de Guatemala) y UNICEF Guatemala fueron financiadores de proyectos con la London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine brindando asistencia técnica. El grupo de Washington sobre Estadísticas de Discapacidad amplió el conjunto de preguntas para adultos y el grupo de UNICEF / Grupo de Washington amplió el conjunto de preguntas para los niños se utilizaron con más de 13.000 participantes. Haga clic aquí para leer más sobre la encuesta. Para terminar, me emocionó mucho la cálida bienvenida del pueblo cubano y de los participantes. Estoy muy agradecida de volver a trabajar en esta región y de conectar nuestro trabajo global a nivel local, nacional y regional.

Unity, Development, Peace and Hope in Latin America and the Caribbean

RIADIS, the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families, held its 6th international conference from 13-17 March in Havana, Cuba. The theme was “Inclusive Latin America, in Unity, Development, Peace and Hope.” RIADIS, founded in 2002 in Venezuela, is comprised of 55 organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, many of which were present at the conference with approximately 250 participants in attendance. The conference included an International Congress, a General Assembly, and parallel events on youth with disabilities and Indigenous peoples with disabilities. In addition, commissions on Indigenous, youth, and women with disabilities were established at the conference.

The overall objective of the conference was to continue to promote the progress and achievement of the inclusion of persons with disabilities from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were both strongly highlighted throughout the conference as key frameworks for persons with disabilities and their representative organizations for the region with the respective aligned themes of “nothing about us without us” and “leave no one behind.”

Alt="Panel presentation at conference"

Panel presentation at conference

I am incredibly honored for the opportunity to attend this conference on behalf of CBM. The experience was a valuable one in which I was able to participate in various ways. I presented twice during the International Congress, was an official observer during the General Assembly, and assisted as a sign language interpreter when needed.

On the opening day, I presented with Victor Baute from Venezuela on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation highlighted the regional trainings by the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium (in Panama) and CBM (in Peru), but also called for further capacity building and training for regional DPOs linking the CRPD, the 2030 Agenda and BRIDGE.

Alt="Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference"

Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference

Additionally, I presented the work of the CBM regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, CBM has 50 projects in 11 countries throughout the region. In Central America we work in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; in the Caribbean, we work in Cuba and Haiti; and in South America, we have projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay with Bolivia, Guatemala and Haiti as priority countries of focus.

The following are two examples of CBM projects in the region. First, in response to Hurricane Matthew, CBM provided water supplies to hurricane-affected communities in East Cuba. Second, CBM supported a data collection project on the prevalence of persons with disabilities in Guatemala. CBM, CONADI (National Disability Council of Guatemala), and UNICEF Guatemala were project funders with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine providing technical assistance. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics extended set of questions for adults and UNICEF/Washington Group extended set of questions for children were used with more than 13,000 participants. Click here to read more about the survey.

In closing, I was very touched by the warm welcome from the Cuban people and the participants. I am so grateful to be working in this region again and to connect our global work to the local, national and regional levels.

Four years and 41 countries later…what it all meant for CBM

Today the Expert Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) meets for its 17th session.  After working as the UK’s elected member of the Expert Committee of the CRPD for the last four years, what has it all meant for CBM? This summary may give you a flavour of some of the achievements:

  1. The CRPD is a human rights treaty that underpins CBM’s work and our mission statement to contribute to an inclusive world where persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential. The Committee is the monitoring and evaluation tool of the CRPD, so having a staff member on the Committee gave CBM the inside track and a global overview of issues, policies and practical implementation of disability rights in a number of countries we work in such as: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Paraguay, Thailand and Uganda.  These countries now have concrete recommendations for the government to implement over the forthcoming years.  This means CBM and its partners can hold governments to account to meet their obligations in areas CBM specialises in such as: disability-inclusive development, especially at a community level, mental and physical health, education, livelihoods and emergency response to name a few.  CBM can also demonstrate to governments as duty bearers the important links between human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals in realising Agenda 2030.
  2. CBM supported the work of the Committee by showcasing our partners and their valuable work and ensuring the voices of persons with disabilities from the global South were heard. This has strengthened their capacity to claim their rights and entitlements.  Read more here

    Nassozi Kiyaga from Deaf Link Uganda participates in 15th session of CRPD Committee

    Nassozi Kiyaga from Deaf Link Uganda participates in 15th session of CRPD Committee

  3. Our Member Associations  contributed to the Committee’s work, and these countries now have very strong recommendations on international cooperation and humanitarian action, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 – see Germany, Italy and Australia. These governments must honour their commitments to ensure disability is at the heart of their development cooperation.  CBM is considered a serious player in disability-inclusive development, disaster risk reduction and emergency response, and through working on the Committee I was able to provide expert opinion to guide recommendations on articles 11 and 32 (international cooperation and situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies).
  4. CBM had immediate access to the Committee which consolidated its role in building the capacity of both mainstream NGOs and members of the International Disability and Development Consortium to engage in the work of the Committee.
  5. CBM had the kudos and credibility of having a staff member as one of 18 world-recognised Experts on disability, which reflected very positively on the profile of the whole organisation.
  6. CBM were able to open doors that were previously closed with a range of stakeholders including governments. CBM was mentioned by many UN agencies and bodies during the opening of the Committee’s sessions, demonstrating CBM’s leadership especially in relation to the links between human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  7. CBM supported accessibility requirements of Committee’s side events (briefings) by funding sign language interpretation, amongst other things, and raised awareness to celebrate 10 years of the Committee by assisting with the production of a UN video.
  8. Finally, I was one of six women on the Committee, which ensured gender representation and supported the work of CBM on gender equality.  For the next two years, there remains just one woman on the Committee of 18 Members, but please support and advocate for more here.

I wish the Committee and all its Members many great years, and await its fruitful recommendations for the future.  I also thank CBM for supporting me to have the opportunity to engage with and serve the United Nations.

 

 

UN disability rights committee to review 8 countries

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is meeting in Geneva from 20 March to 12 April 2017 to review the following countries:  Moldova (21-22 March); Iran (22-23 March); Cyprus (23-24 March); Bosnia and Herzegovina (27-28 March); Jordan (28-29 March); Armenia (29-30 March); Honduras (30-31 March) and Canada (3-4 April).

CBM will present a statement in the Committee’s opening session highlighting the importance of retaining a focus on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals in its final recommendations to each country.

The eight countries to be reviewed are among the 172 States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and so are required to submit regular reports to the Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent experts.  CBM’s presence in Canada enabled critical input into shaping how Canada will deliver disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals, so we hope this will be reflected in recommendations on international cooperation.  In the same light we hope the recommendations for Jordan will highlight the additional barriers faced by refugees with disabilities in camps who have fled from Syria.

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During the meetings in Geneva, Committee members will hold question and answer sessions with the respective State delegations. They will also hear from organisations representing persons with disabilities, NGOs and national human rights institutions.

Venue: Room 17, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Time: Each review runs from 15:00 to 18:00 Geneva time and continues the following day from 10:00 to 13:00.  The public sessions will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/

The issues likely to be discussed, the States’ reports, plus information from civil society organisations can be found here.
The Committee will publish its findings here on 13 April 2017.

What is CRPD and why is it important?

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a human rights treaty designed by representatives of the international community – including people with disabilities, government officials, representatives of non-governmental organisations and others – to change the way people with disabilities are viewed and treated in their societies.

The Convention lies at the heart of what CBM strives for in its vision to contribute to an inclusive world where persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

Rather than considering disability as an issue of medicine, charity or dependency, the Convention challenges people worldwide to understand disability as a human rights issue. The Convention covers many areas where obstacles can arise, such as physical access to buildings, roads and transportation, and access to information through written and electronic communications. The Convention also aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, which are often reasons why people with disabilities are excluded from education, employment and health and other services.

There are around 1 billion people with disabilities in the world. They are often the poorest of the poor. The stigma and discrimination they are subjected to are common in all societies. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is important because it is a tool for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the same rights and opportunities as everybody else.

The CRPD commmittee is the international monitoring body that currently exists to guarantee that States that have ratified the treaty (CRPD) will promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities.

More information on the CRPD

– See more here