Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter January 2020


  1. Participate
  2. Resources
  3. Interviews and Speeches
  4. Court cases
  5. Job opportunities
  6. News
  7. Fundings

1. Participate

DRD Webinar on "Aging with Disabilities in the Community"
Disability Rights Defenders and ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living are holding a webinar focused on aging with disabilities in the community. The webinar will take place on 6th February at 15:00 - 17:00 CET.
About the webinar: Article 19 of the CRPD states the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others. Even though this right applies to people of all ages, many elderly people with disabilities are forced to live in institutions. In this webinar we want to present and discuss examples of good legislation and practice for giving older persons with disabilities real choices regarding services and housing in the community. We invite disabled people, DPOs, lawyers, law professors, law students and everyone interested in disability rights to join the webinar.
More information and registration here. Further, you are welcome to join the Facebook event

Disability Rights Super Seminar & Disability Rights Defenders Network Meeting in Turku, Finland
We kindly invite you to the Disability Rights Super Seminar and the Disability Rights Defenders Network Meeting, organized by the Law Firm Kumpuvuori Ltd in Åbo/Turku, Finland in May, 25th and 26th 2020.
The Disability Rights Super Seminar will take place on Monday 25th May 2020 from 8.30 until 17.30 CET. The morning will be held in Finish and the afternoon will be carried out in English, chaired by Mr. Paul Lappalainen, Swedish and US Lawyer.
The Disability Rights Defenders Network Meeting will take place on Tuesday 26th from 9.00 to 15.00 CET.
Place: Scandic Julia, Eerikinkatu 4, Turku, Finland.
There is a registration fee for the 25th, so to get the early bird offer, registration by 31st January is recommended. The DRDN Meeting on Tuesday will be at no charge.
More information concerning the program and registration here.
Further, you are welcome to join the facebook events on the Disability Rights Super Seminar and the Disability Rights Defenders Network Meeting.

Survey on Remedies

There is a need for deeper discussions on tools for strategic litigation, including effectiveness of legal and injunctive remedies, different forms of compensation for violations of human rights and procedural strategies for impact, as important tools in the fight against violations of disability rights.
With this survey, we want to obtain an overview of the topic of remedies to see where and what law systems in general are lacking or which remedies can be transferred from one country to another for better effectiveness in using the law as a tool for social change and individual justice.
In order to support this survey, please answer the questions in this form. Answers until Friday 28th of February 2020 will be included in an analysis.
You’ll be informed about the results of the survey in one of the following newsletters. Thank you very much for your support! 

Call for inputs to the report of the Special Rapporteur on IDPs: Protection of IDPs with disabilities

The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Ms Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, will dedicate her upcoming thematic report to the Human Rights Council to the protection of internally displaced persons with disabilities.

The Special Rapporteur is calling for inputs from organizations of persons with disabilities to contribute to the preparation of her report, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2020. Inputs shall be sent by email to idp@ohchr.org by 15 February 2020.

Find the full call for inputs with the questionnaire in English, Spanish and French here. 


Conference at Ohio State University: Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion & Disability - Building Blocks for the Future

Date: April 6-7, 2020

ADA Coordinator at Ohio State University: "As we look forward to the thirtieth anniversary of the ADA, I invite you to reflect on the themes from past Multiple Perspectives conferences as Building Blocks for the Future of Access, Inclusion & Disability."

More information about the conference here. 


Santiago de Chile: Seminar on Intellectual, Cognitive and Psychosocial disability in Latin America: Legal Approaches and Reforms

The School of Law of the Universidad Austral de Chile, with the support of the FONDECYT Project 1190434 and the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Inequality and Human Rights(DesDeh-UACh), invites academics and postgraduate students working in the field of intellectual, cognitive and psychosocial disability and its relations with the law, to present works in the Seminar on Intellectual, Cognitive and Psychosocial Disability Latin America: legal approaches and legal reforms in June 2020.

Read more about it here.


Launch of the first call for applications to evaluate an Inclusive Education project in Bangladesh

PENDA launched the first of four calls for applications to deliver an impact evaluation on a disability inclusive development programme. PENDA will accept submissions from applicants, preferably led by research institutions from low- or middle-income countries, to deliver this impact evaluation. The first programme to be evaluated is an Inclusive Education Programme in Bangladesh. Read more about PENDA and the call for applications here. 

2. Resources

Recording and report of the DRD webinar ‘Law for Accessibility’ 

In cooperation with the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), DRD has held a webinar focused on ‘Law for Accessibility’ on the 25th of November 2019. The theme of the webinar was how to use the law for better accessibility as a key for participation and inclusion in society. We took up a High Court case from Ireland about the right to cast a ballot unassisted and discussed accessibility legislation -  the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the European Accessibility Act (EAA). Thank you for your participation, your interest and the lively discussion. 

This report briefly summarizes the webinar. A recording of the webinar can also be watched on youtube.


Resources on Disability Inclusive Education

USAID’s EducationLinks is a resource for all education practitioners to learn and share knowledge to create and implement successful, effective education and skills development programs.

Find Resources on Disability Inclusive Education here.


International case studies collection 2019: Inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action

Art. 11 of the CRPD states that State Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies. The case study report collects 39 examples of field practices inclusive of persons with disabilities in humanitarian context and disaster risk reduction (DRR) from 20 countries of intervention.

Read and download the report here.


The Routledge Handbook Of Disability Activism

Edited by Maria Berghs, Tsitsi Chataika, Yayha El-Lahib, A. K. Dube with many different authors from all around the world.

This comprehensive handbook emphasizes the importance of everyday disability activism and how activists across the world bring together a wide range of activism tactics and strategies. It also challenges the activist movements, transnational and emancipatory politics, as well as providing future directions for disability activism.

Read more about it and view the handbook here.


Analysis of gender-based violence against persons with disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The analysis presented is the result of a study conducted under the project "Gender-based violence against persons with disabilities" supported by the MyRight office in Bosnia and Herzegovina together with coalitions of organizations of persons with disabilities. The focus of the attention was pointed towards gender-based violence against persons with disabilities by the Committee for the Implementation of the CRPD having recognized the general trend of increasing gender-based violence against women and girls and by emphasizing the importance of comprehensive prevention of gender-based violence against persons with disabilities.

Download the analysis here.


ENIL Myth Buster on EU Funds and Independent Living

ENIL published a Myth Buster on EU Funds and Independent Living. The booklet challenges the most common misconceptions about how EU taxpayers’ money is used with regard to disabled people. It is aimed at all those advocating for EU Funds to be used to support disabled people’s right to live independently and to be included in the community.

Read and download the Myth Buster here.

Article on Website Accessibility & ADA

Interesting article on website accessibility and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Read the article here


Multimedia presentation on Equality for Women and Young Persons With Disabilities

“The Path to Equality for Women and Young Persons With Disabilities: Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Ending Gender-Based Violence”is a multimedia presentation that describes the necessary policy changes and investments needed for women and young persons with disabilities to fully realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and be protected from gender-based violence. The goal of this product is to enable women and young persons with disabilities to engage policymakers, program planners, and their families and communities to join them as they lead efforts to access their rights.

Watch the accessible multimedia presentation here.


IAAP White Paper on Organizational Accessibility
This report is based on a research conducted by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), a division of G3ict. IAAP conducted a survey of organizations and individuals to learn what resources and tools are being used by organizations and individuals to manage and grow their own accessibility programs and outcomes. This report summarizes the findings from that survey. The report is provided as part of IAAP’s mission to define, promote, and improve the accessibility profession globally through networking, education, and certification to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services. 

Download the paper here.

3. Interviews and Speeches

Interview with Catalina Devandas: Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities are frequently overrepresented in detention settings around the world. When detained, these persons are extremely vulnerable to abuse, including different forms of ill-treatment or even torture. The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) recently spoke to Catalina Devandas, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, to discuss the prevalence of this issue and her recommendations to ensure rights of persons with disabilities are better respected, as outlined in a report to the UN Human Rights Council published earlier this year.
Watch the interview here.

For German Speakers: Interview with Theresia Degener, former chairwoman of the Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disability
Interesting interview in German: Raul Krauthausen, German disability activist, interviewed Theresia Degener, former chairwoman of the Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disability, about the CRPD and Theresia Degener’s work and activism for disability rights.
Watch the interview here.

Erich Kofmel, president of Autistic Minority International, at WHO
Erich Kofmel, president of Autistic Minority International, held a speech at the World Health Organization (WHO) on countering vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation about autism by involving actually autistic persons in public campaigns and communication on vaccine safety. An oral intervention at the Global Vaccine Safety Summit at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 3 December 2019.
Watch the speech here.

4. Court Cases

NGOs Take European Commission to Court for Funding Segregation of Disabled Persons in Bulgaria
For the first time in history, three disability rights organisations have initiated Court proceedings against the European Commission for failing to halt EU infrastructure funding being used by Bulgaria to build institutions for persons with disabilities. Case T-613/19, pending before the EU General Court in Luxembourg, challenges the Decision of the European Commission not to suspend EU funding to Bulgaria.
Read the full article here.
Background: A major two-part documentary on Al Jazeera English investigated on the ongoing segregation of people with disabilities in institutions in Europe, and the role of the European Union and EU funding. Watch the documentary here.

Domino Pizza Case

“The US Supreme Court denied a petition from pizza giant Domino’s on Monday to hear whether its website is required to be accessible to the disabled, leaving in place a lower court decision against the company. The case was originally brought by a blind man named Guillermo Robles, who sued the pizza chain after he was unable to order food on Domino’s website and mobile app despite using screen-reading software. The decision not to grant the case is a loss for the company and a win for disability advocates, who have argued that if businesses do not have to maintain accessible sites, disabled people could be effectively shut out of substantial portions of the economy.” Read the full article here.


Persons with disabilities and the European Convention on Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights published a fact sheet which contains a collection of court cases concerning disability rights. 

Read and download the fact sheet here.

5. Job Opportunities

Project Manager at Validity

Validity is an international non-governmental organisation which deploys legal strategies to promote, protect and defend the human rights of persons with mental disabilities internationally. Validity is hiring a Project Manager forAccess to Justice (Budapest) and a Project Manager for Child-Friendly Justice for Vulnerable Children (Budapest).

More information here.


Accessibility Consultant at Harvard University

University Disability Resources (UDR) at Harvard University is hiring an Accessibility Consultant.

More information here.


Program Officer for Myanmar

The Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund is currently hiring a Program Officer to manage the grantmaking portfolio in Myanmar. Preference for Myanmar-based candidates. The main objective of the Program Officer consultancy is to strengthen and manage Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund grantmaking in Myanmar. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled early in the new year.

More information here.


Regional Inclusive Governance Technical Specialist

Humanity & Inclusion in partnership with the International Disability Alliance are looking for a Regional Inclusive Governance Technical Specialist focusing on support of civil society, policy-making and inclusive local development in the three countries of the project implementation (Benin-Rwanda-Ethiopia). 

More information here.


6. News 

Concerns about  the process of deinstitutionalization in Spain

FVID – the Independent Living Forum in Spain has expressed concern about  the process of deinstitutionalization in Spain, following asuccessful submission FEVI – the Independent Living Federation – sent to the Committee on the  Rights of Persons with Disabilities earlier this year and the Committee’s recommendations to Spain on Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Read the full article here. An article in spanish is available here. 


Legislators with severe disabilities at Japan Parliament signal changing attitudes

"Like it is in India, people with disabilities in Japan are not encouraged to come out of the shadows. Which makes the election of two severely disabled legislators to Japan’s Upper House welcome news. This is being seen as a sign that the country is finally making a significant shift away from traditional stereotypes regarding disabled people."

Read the whole article here.


Support Team for an inclusive university

TheUniversity of Greenwich (UK) has an interesting initiative to support the inclusion of disabled people.The STAART Team is a disability and diversity focused initiative at the University of Greenwich that provides information and guidance to disabled and diverse students who may not feel university is for them, or who have concerns about going to university.

Read more about this initiative here.


Her Abilities Award winners 2019

Her Abilities is the first global award honouring women with disabilities who have achieved greatness in their life or field of work. It is a pioneering initiative, launched in 2018 by Light for the World along with Right Livelihood Award winner Yetnebersh Nigussie.

The winners of the Her Abilities Award 2019 are:

  • Dr. Liisa Kauppinen: a "true disability rights hero" from Finland with a three decade long record promoting human rights
  • Nguyen Thi Van: Vietnamese businesswoman, disability pioneer and national changemaker
  • Maysoon Zayid: US actor, disability advocate and comedic star, fighting discrimination through laughter 

Read more about the award and the winner here.

7. Fundings

Disability Rights Fund

The Disability Rights Fund is a grantmaking collaborative that supports persons with disabilities around the world to build diverse movements, ensure inclusive development agendas and achieve equal rights and opportunity for all. The selected countries in 2020 are:

Round 1: Indonesia, Malawi, Myanmar and Nigeria 

Round 2: Haiti, Rwanda, Uganda and the Pacific Island countries: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu

More information here.


Funding opportunity to support deaf and disabled LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe is inviting organisations and groups from Europe and Central Asia to apply for this new funding opportunity to support D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activism. The last day to submit your application (deadline) is Monday 10 February 2020. 

More information here. 



© Disability Rights Defenders is a project of 

Independent Living Institute

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

Staff:  Selina Griesser, Adolf Ratzka , Annemarie Isbert

Content contributors and volunteers are most welcome!

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



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