Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter October 2019

Dear Disability Rights Defenders

here comes our Fall 2019 Newsletter, as usual, with news, resources and case reports concerning disability rights, plus information about opportunities to participate in conferences and evaluations. You are most welcome to join our closed Facebook group Disability Rights Defenders where we share our expertise and experiences. Right now, we are planning our next webinar for November. More information on that soon in an extra mail. So stay tuned and pass the word on to your friends and colleagues!

Adolf Ratzka

1. Cases and Court Decisions

European Court of Human Rights

Switzerland: denied access to cinema is not discrimination
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has thrown out a complaint by a Swiss man who is paraplegic about his inability to gain access to a cinema in Geneva. He had taken the cinema company to a Swiss court that had denied him access. In the case Glaisen vs. Switzerland the Court did not see any discrimination. Morgane Ventura writes in the Strasbourg Observers: “In my opinion, the Court missed an opportunity to recognize a structural discrimination and to consolidate its case law about substantive equality by granting the right to have a reasonable accommodation”. Read the full article here

France: the right to marry is only for persons with full legal capacity

In October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued its first substantive ruling under Article 12 regarding people placed under guardianship. Delecolle v. France involved an elderly man who was not allowed to marry a long-time friend, the reason given that he was not able to understand the financial implications of marriage. The Court held that the right to marry and to form a family under Article 12 referred only to persons possessing full legal capacity. Read the full article written by Constantin Cojocariu here.


Turkey: accessible university buildings and the right to education

The ECHR case Enver Şahin v. Turkey, from January 2018, concerned a person with paraplegia who could not study at the university due to the lack of suitable facilities. The Court found  that the Turkish Government, and in particular, the university and judicial authorities, failed in their responsibility to ensure Mr Şahin’s right to education on an equal basis with other students. Read more about this case here.


United States: class action lawsuits

Lack of appropriate medical and mental health care for immigrants
A nationwide class action lawsuit addresses the US Federal Government’s alleged failure to ensure detained immigrants’ with disabilities appropriate medical and mental health care, denial of accommodations as well as abusive isolation in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was filed by several public law groups including  Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a nonprofit disability rights legal center. Read more about the case and DRA here.

Accessible sidewalks and pedestrian routes

On August 26, 2019, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that the City of Philadelphia discriminates against residents and visitors with disabilities by failing to make its sidewalks and pedestrian routes accessible. Read the full article here.

South Africa

Inclusive Education
The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) plans to take the Department of Education to court over its failure to accommodate some 600 000 children with disabilities into the schooling system. Read the full article here.

2. Ressources

Supported decision-making legislation in Canada, Serbia and Bulgaria
Lazar Stefanovic from MDRI-S in Serbia published a paper which analyzes supported decision-making legislation in the  Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta and its compliance with CRPD art. 12. Also,  Serbia's and Bulgaria's guardianship policies are presented and discussed in the paper. Download the publication here.

Handbook on  European non-discrimination law - updated edition

European Court of Human Rights and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights published an updated edition of their handbook on European non-discrimination law. This handbook is designed to assist legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of non-discrimination law, serving as an introduction to the key issues involved. Download the handbook here.


Sustainable Development Goals and disability

How will the life of disabled people improve if we achieve seven of the Sustainable Development Goals? The European Disability Forum published seven short videos to underline that persons with disabilities need to be included in the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch the videos here.

3. Participate!

European Disability Strategy 2010-20 – evaluation questionnaire

The European Commission wishes to know citizens’ and stakeholders’ opinions on the activities carried out by the EU since 2010 for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at EU level, and for the better inclusion of persons with disabilities into society. The information collected will be used to assess what has been achieved during the 2010-2020 period. It will also help the Commission to draw lessons on how to improve disability policy in the future, making it more effective and focused. Fill out the questionnaire here.


Webinar ‘Innovation to Inclusion’

The European Disability Forum (EDF) holds the first webinar series on the 29th of October, to present the Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) project: a new programme focusing on inclusive employment in Kenya and Bangladesh. Date: Tuesday 29 October 2019, 11 AM to 12 PM (Brussels time). The webinar will provide real-time captioning and international sign language. Click here to register for this webinar and here to open the flyer with more information.


Conference Deinstitutionalisation of Childcare: Investing in Change

The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria,  and others,. organize a three day conference which aims at sharing and discussing relevant data and experience, promising practices and challenges in the field of Deinstitutionalisation (DI). The event will take an EU perspective, focusing on the reform’s specific national characteristics and on bridging the gap between the accumulated knowledge and decision-making in DI. Date: 6-8 November 2019 Place: Sofia, Bulgaria. More information and registration here.


Conference ‘Future of Work’

ILO Global Business and Disability Network will hold its “Making the Future of Work inclusive of persons with disabilities” conference on 21 and 22 November 2019, at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss how companies can shape a world of work which fully harnesses the potential people with disabilities offer. Get more information here.


Conference ‘Inclusive Development now!’

The Swiss Coalition for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in International Cooperation (SDIC) will hold its conference “Inclusive Development now!” on Tuesday, 3 December 2019, 13.30-17.30 at Kursaal Bern in Switzerland.

By ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2014, Switzerland committed itself to its full implementation. According to Article 11 and Article 32 CRPD, this also applies to humanitarian aid and international development cooperation. Where do Swiss actors stand today in their implementation of these two articles? What are the challenges? How can and how must Switzerland contribute to disability-inclusive development (DID) in international cooperation? The fifth anniversary of the CRPD ratification is a good time to take stock and discuss how to move towards the full implementation of these two articles. More information, agenda and registration here.


Call for Chapters: Routledge Handbook on Children’s Rights and Disability

This handbook will survey the topic of disabled children’s rights taking into account historical perspectives, core issues and topics new debates, critical standpoints and global perspectives. The Handbook will thus provide a thorough overview of both the fundamental and new directions of knowledge on this topic. It will be aimed primarily at researchers, professionals in relevant fields, graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. Authors are invited to propose chapters that consider disabled children’s rights from various disciplinary perspectives. Find more information here.

*Spanish* Llamado a recepción de artículos
La Revista Latinoamericana en Discapacidad, Sociedad y Derechos Humanos hace su llamado para recibir contribuciones para su sexto volumen (Vol.4, Nº1), a publicarse en Enero 2020. Se recibirán artículos hasta el 01 de Noviembre de 2019. Leer mas aqui.

4. News and Articles

ENIL’s 30th anniversary Freedom Drive
Congratulations! ENIL - the European Network on Independent Livingrecently celebrated its 30th anniversary! Here you can read about ENIL’s history and the Independent Living philosophy.  In the beginning of October,  ENIL organized its 9th Freedom Drive Since 2003, the biannual Freedom Drive is one of ENIL’s key campaigns. It provides members of the Independent Living Movement with the opportunity to meet Members of the European Parliament (MEPs),  promote human rights issues, and to share experiences and ideas with colleagues from around Europe. During ENIL’s Freedom Drive hundreds of disabled people and allies from all over Europe gathered in Brussels to demand an end to segregation of disabled people. Read more about Freedom Drive and this year’s protest here.

Electric Wheelchair and Scooter Restrictions at Museums
Silvia Longwire, author and publisher of the award winning travel blog ‘Spin the Globe’ wrote an article on how electric wheelchair and scooter restrictions at museums affect disabled visitors. Click here to read the article.

*Spanish* El Tratado de Marrakech en América Latina
La directora de la fundación Karisma, Carolina Botero, escribió acerca del Tratado de Marrakech en El Espectador. Además se presenta las opiniones de dos mujeres expertas en el tema sobre esto: Virginia Inés Simón, Coordinadora del Observatorio del Tratado de Marrakech en América Latina y Luisa Fernanda Guzmán Mejía, estudiante de doctorado en Derecy Ex-becaria del programa sobre Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad de Open Society Foundations. Lee el articulo aqui.


© Disability Rights Defenders is a project of 

Independent Living Institute

Storforsplan 36  10.floor, 123 47 Stockholm-Farsta, Sweden

Staff: Selina Griesser, Adolf Ratzka 

Content contributors and volunteers are most welcome!

This Newsletter is supported by the Bente Skansgårds Independent Living Fund.

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