Tag Archives: human rights

Human Rights and Development Cooperation

During day 3, June 12th, of COSP CBM was actively involved in three side events. See — for the side event we co-sponsored. Read below for the other two.

Diane Mulligan and our partner Risna Utami, Risnawati Utami, Chair, Indonesian Consortium for Disability Rights both presented at the side event “Linking Human Rights, Disability and Development.” The event was Co-Sponsored by Human Rights Watch and Light for the World.

Iain Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Program, Human Rights moderated the event and in addition to Diane and Risna, other panellists included:

  • Yetnebersh Nigussie, Executive Director, Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development, and Global Ambassador, Light for the World
  • Francesca Corbacho, Fellow, Business and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

The event presented an interactive dialogue, including a discussion of concrete strategies for disability-inclusive development policies and was engaging and interesting.

Alt="Diane at the side event on human rights"

Diane at the side event on human rights

Directly afterward, Diane presented at another side event. This event covered the theme of  “European external action – continuing the opportunity to promote the Human Rights of persons with disabilities in the world through development cooperation.” The European Union and European Disability Forum co-sponsored the event and CBM was very grateful to be invited to speak and be involved in this work.

Diane elaborated on the European Union’s external action service with the African Union, which CBM has been supporting in conjunction with the African Decade. Judith van der Veen who is actively involved in this project graciously provided background and detailed information.

Countries in the project include Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Project summary points:

  • It has been easy to work with all of the countries in the project
  • Malawi and Zambia have had the quickest progress because of coordinated disability groups and strong coalitions, as well as different funding sources

Learning experiences from the project:

  • The main partner in the project is the African Decade (with DPOs) and CBM plays a supporting role. This collaboration is going well and CBM is strategically learning from this experience
  • It takes time to build trust with some countries in order to collaborate

Challenges of the project:

  • The entire structure is a bit slow and bureaucratic and there is a need for a significant lobbying efforts
  • The continental DPOs need capacity building to engage at the continental level, but there is a lack of resources at the regional DPO level. Thus there is a need to focus on capacity building of these DPOs.

Diane closed with pearls of wisdom: “Let’s ask for a bigger cake than fight over smaller pieces of the cake.”


Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities at UNICEF

On 9 June, International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA) organised a lunchtime side event during the President of General Assembly’s High-Level Event (PGA HLE) on Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The topic of the event was over “the intersection of human rights and development within the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)” and took place at UNICEF House. Atlas Alliance generously funded the event with food (including cookies!) with the support of ILO, OHCHR, and UNICEF.

Over 130 participants attended the side event and actively interacted with the dynamic panellists and charismatic moderator Ignacio Saiz, Executive Director, Center for Economic and Social Rights. The dialogue was held in “Davos Style” and included engaging speakers including:

  • Diane Mulligan, Deputy Director of International Advocacy and Alliances, CBM International who spoke as a Member of the CRPD Committee and as the IDDC representative
  • Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, Deputy Head of Office, OHCHR, New York
  • Paul Gulleik Larsen, Senior Advisor, Project Manager on Post-2015 Agenda in the Norwegian MFA
  • Yannis Vardakastanis, Chair of IDA
  • Nicholas K. Alipui, Director of Programmes, Senior Advisor- Post 2015 Development Agenda, UNICEF
  • Vinicius Pinheiro, Deputy Director, ILO New York
  • Hyung-shik Kim, Professor, Korea University of International Studies
Alt="Diane Mulligan speaking at IDDC-IDA PGA side event"

Diane Mulligan speaking at IDDC-IDA PGA side event

The PGA HLE plays an important role in encouraging Member States to further develop their perspectives on the human rights-based approach in the post-2015 development agenda. As such our side event was timely in drawing the attention of Member States to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda from both human rights and development perspectives. The side event also connected the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

This was a wonderful side event and another fantastic example of fruitful collaboration between IDDC and IDA.

Additional Resources:

Open Working Group on SDGs Session 11

President of General Assembly website

Blog on Open Working Group on SDGs session 11 Summary

Blog on OWG 11 official statements that included persons with disabilities

Moving towards a rights based approach to EU development cooperation

It has been a long time since I wrote my last blog. I think it was exactly one year ago when I attended the 66th World Health Assembly. And now one year later I’m in Brussels and I would love to talk you through the biggest EU spring forum on human rights!

Each year the European Commission organizes a spring forum dedicated to the reality of human rights on the ground and in particular to the implementation of the European Instrument for Human Rights and democracy (EIDHR).

This year the forum was once again an excellent opportunity to exchange with the EU institutions and meet more than 300 NGOs from all over the world.

It is always so powerful to hear and feel the passion and the vibrating energy of each discussion across this Forum!

This year’s forum saw in particular the launch of the “EU Toolbox on a Rights Based Approach encompassing all human rights in EU development”. On behalf of Concord and as co-Chair of the Task Force on a Human Rights Based Approach, I was one of the panelist during the presentation of the toolbox. Other panelists included:

  • Ms. Wan-Hea Lee, Head of OHCHR Cambodia
  • Ms. Paola Simonetti, International Trade Union federation
  • Ms. Nele Meyer, Amnesty International

The lively debate, which followed the presentation of the toolbox, brought on the table interesting points on the implementation of the toolbox, amongst others: how do we ensure the participation of rights holders beyond Europe? And how do we empower them? And what’s the role for advocacy in the implementation of the toolbox?

All the panelists stressed the crucial role that the advocacy component can and will play in its implementation. In particular, it will be central to raise awareness and build the capacities of both duty bearers and rights holders. Although the toolbox gives a prominent role to transparency and accountability, we all called on the importance of holding duty bearers accountable, including Member States, and to define how and in how far.

2016 is foreseen as the first assessment of the toolbox.

Finally, the toolbox will be a great tool that will allow the further implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In fact, the CRPD is not only referenced in the document, but I am also pleased to see that participation and non discrimination, access to information – including in accessible formats – and equal access to development are central to the document and its core principles.

Now I very much look forward to see how this tool, which for the time being is not yet binding, will be turned into practice and to what extent the focus on inclusive development will be kept in future trainings and workshops on the toolbox.

This is all by now, but you will read from me very soon, and next time around it will be from another part of the world…

Not just a side event


To compliment Elizabeth’s blog, which gives a good overview of the attention paid to persons with disabilities in the UN deliberations last week, I will give you a quick overview of the side event which took place as part of our advocacy, on Thursday 6th, at the UN Headquarters. Titled ‘Include Persons with Disabilities in the Sustainable Development Process‘, and hosted by IDA, IDDC, together with the Permanent Missions of the EU and Greece.

Include Persons with Disabilities in the Sustainable Development Process - side event at the 8th Open Working Group - a packed room

Include Persons with Disabilities in the Sustainable Development Process – side event at the 8th Open Working Group – a packed room- Photo Eleni Vardakastani

There was a completely packed room, with an estimated 80 countries represented, in addition UN agencies and members of the IDA and IDDC. Many of the member states representatives, who we personally invited during our face to face meetings with week were in attendance.

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