Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter April 2020

In this newsletter, you will find hand-picked resources on disability rights and information about the COVID19 pandemic. We draw your attention to webinars and other opportunities for (virtual) joining and mingling in times of social distancing and lock down at home. 


  1.  Participate!
  2. Resources
  3. Court Cases
  4. Covid-19
  5. Job Opportunities
  6. Funding
  7. News 

1. Participate!

Webinar: Disabled Refugees and Liberty, 5 May 2020 ⋅ 14:00 – 16:00 CET
Disabled Refugees Welcome, a project of Independent Living Institute, in cooperation with the European Network on Independent Living is holding the webinar   Disabled Refugees and Liberty in celebration of May 5th,  the European Independent Living Day.   The themes will be the situation of disabled migrants in the EU, the work being done for the rights of refugees with disabilities, the importance of the UNCRPD, the impact of COVID-19, and other urgent issues. The webinar hosts speakers from the UNHCR, European Disability Forum, Disabled People International, ENIL and from DRW / Independent Living Institute. Save the Date: 5 May 2020 ⋅ 14:00 – 16:00 CET! More information, program and registration here.

Speakers wanted for DRD Webinar Legal Clinics: A Tool to Promote Disability Rights
For our planned webinar about legal clinics (date to be announced soon) as a tool for combatting disability discrimination we are still searching for speakers, especially persons with disabilities who have received legal aid from a legal clinic. If you know someone who knows someone who has, please, contact drdn@independentliving.org

Online Courses about the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – A global, transdisciplinary vision for the future is an online course offered by the Sustainability Science Centre of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. It is a three weeks course with 2-4 hours per week. All people are welcome to join the course regardless of their education background or work experience. For more information and the registration click here. 

Petition: Train travel for all
The petition in partnership with the European Disability Forum demands better assistance for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility in the EU law on the rights of train passengers during train travel without the need for pre-notification. You can sign the petition here.

2. Resources

Documentation and Report of the DRD Webinar: Aging with Disabilities in the Community
In cooperation with the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), DRD held a webinar on Aging with Disabilities in the Community on the 6th of February 2020. Judy Heumann, Gerard Quinn, Eve Hill, Eric Rosenthal and Ines Bulic spoke about the rights and challenges of aging with disabilities in the community. You can read a summary of the webinar here or watch the webinar on youtube.

Recording of the Webinar on Independent Living 
The European Network on Independent Living - ENIL held a webinar on Independent Living, on 16 March. Dr. Miro Griffiths, Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds, Jamie Bolling, Independent Living Institute, Sweden/ENIL and Nadia Hadad, ENIL spoke about the background, history, theory and philosophy of Independent Living and ENIL. You can watch the webinar again on youtube

Recording of the Webinar: Learning disabilities, coronavirus and International Human Rights law
Oliver Lewis, Doughty Street Chambers barrister specialising in public law and human rights led a webinar on Learning disability, coronavirus and international human rights law. You can watch the webinar on youtube.

Book: Disability Hate Speech: Social, Cultural and Political Contexts
Mark Sherry, Terje Olsen, Janikke Solstad Vedeler and John Eriksen have co-edited a new book entitled Disability Hate Speech: Social, Cultural and Political Contexts. This book makes a contribution to understanding disability hatred and prejudice, and will be of particular interest to those studying issues associated with hate speech, disability, psychology, law, and prejudice. More information on the book here. (There is a 20% discount available if you enter the code FLR40 at checkout.) 

Guide: How to engage with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
The European Disability Forum published a guide on how to engage with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The guide is aimed at organizations with persons with disabilities. In this guide you can learn about  the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, why and how to best engage with them. You can download the guide here.

FAQ on Disability Discrimination
Workplace Fairness collected answers to frequently asked questions on disability discrimination. Workplace Fairness is a US non-profit organization working to defend and promote employee rights. Get to the page here.

UN Report: Involuntary Psychiatric Interventions “May Well Amount to Torture”
In a new report, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture writes that "Involuntary psychiatric interventions based on 'medical necessity' or 'best interests' may well amount to torture." Tina Minkowitz, attorney and psychiatric survivor, wrote an article about the UN report, which you can read here.


Advancing Equal Rights and Inclusion at School and Work for Persons with Disabilities: A Global Assessment of National Legislation
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) has worked with leaders and change agents at the forefront of the disability social movement to build evidence on what policies and laws can advance the realization of the right to education and work for persons with disabilities.  WORLD performed a systematic analysis of the hundreds of constitutions and national laws related to equal rights, disability rights, education and employment discrimination in all 193 UN member states. Read more here. 

Advancing Equality: How Constitutional Rights Can Make a Difference Worldwide
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) has published a book on Advancing Equality: How Constitutional Rights Can Make a Difference Worldwide. Freely downloadable and published in January 2020 by the University of California Press, Advancing Equality combines a comparative analysis of equal, social, and economic rights in the constitutions of all 193 United Nations member countries with inspiring stories of activism and powerful court cases from around the globe. Read more about the book and download it here. Download the Fact Sheet on Constitutional Equal Rights of People with Disabilities here.

Guide: How to Webinar
DRD has developed a guide on how to plan, organize and hold webinars. In times like these when meeting in person is often not possible, webinars are a great opportunity to keep up the networking, collaborations and rich discussions on how to combat disability discrimination. Please feel free to use and share this guide with your colleagues and friends. You can download the guide here.

*Spanish* Interdicción vs toma de decisiones con apoyo: 7 cambios de la Ley 1996, Colombia
DescLAB publicó un artículo sobre 7 cambios centrales sobre la capacidad legal en Colombia que vale la pena conocer para personas con discapacidad, familiares, líderes o abogados de familia. Lee el articulo aqui.

3. Court Cases

Disability Rights International (DRI) filed a case to stop torture on children with disabilities
DRI successfully filed an ‘urgent appeal’ to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to stop a barbaric practice at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Now, the US Food and Drug Administration - FDA has banned an electric shock machine that is used to zap children and young adults with special needs in a school outside Boston – the only institution in the world known to practice the controversial punishment “treatment”. Read the article about it here.

German court case: Guide dog is allowed to cross doctor’s waiting room
A blind woman was refused to cross the waiting room of a medical practice with her guide dog to get to her physiotherapist’s office. She filed a lawsuit against the doctors of the medical practice but her case was dismissed. Now, the constitutional court in Germany admitted the claim as well founded. Read more about the court decision in German here

4. Covid-19

COVID 19 and the disability movement
In the light of the COVID19 pandemic and with the aim to support a disability-inclusive response to the crisis, International Disability Alliance (IDA) has launched this hub-page to share the most recent updates and resources as they become available. Visit the page here.

COVID 19 Monitor: Survey about the situation of people with disabilities in different countries 
A coalition of six leading disability rights organizations has launched an initiative to monitor disability rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Initiative seeks to gather information about the experiences of persons with disabilities and how states are responding to emergency situations in relation to this specific population. Read more about it here and complete the survey here.

Survey: Evidence for Transformative Change: UNRISD Survey on Responses to Covid-19 and Vulnerable Communities
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is conducting a survey on national "Responses to COVID-19 and Vulnerable Communities", including persons with disabilities. The survey is available in English, French, or Spanish, but submissions in other languages are equally welcome. You can complete the survey here.

Pod: Disabled Refugees Welcome (DRW) and Corona
DRW, a project of the Independent Living Institute working with disabled migrants in Sweden, shows that information about Corona is not reaching all migrant groups. The first pod is an attempt at spreading more information about Corona to Amharic speaking persons. Jamie Bolling, project leader of DRW first speaks in English and Rahel Abebawe Atnafu translates into Amharic. Read more about it and listen here or listen to the pod on facebook.

5. Job Opportunities

Disability Rights Fund /Disability Rights Advocacy Fund is hiring: Director of Development
The Director of Development (DoD) is responsible for growing and diversifying the funding of DRF/DRAF to ensure that the organization can thrive and has the financial resources required to fulfill its mission and obligations. Read more here. 

Disability Rights Fund /Disability Rights Advocacy Fund is hiring: Assistant for Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) Program Officer
The main objective of this consultancy is to provide personal, logistical, and administrative assistance to the Disability Rights Fund’s Program Officer (PO) for the Pacific Island Countries (PICs), who is based in Samoa. Read more here.

6. Funding

Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in South America and Panama
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) announces an open source competition for a program for disability advocates and organizations in South America and Panama to more effectively ensure governments meet their obligations to protect all people in accordance with the CRPD and its Optional Protocol, including but not limited to implementation, enforcement or revision of local and national laws. Read more here.

7. News

Disability Rights Super Seminar and DRD Network Meeting in Turku is cancelled
Due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, the Disability Rights Super Seminar and the DRD Network Meeting organized by the Law Firm Kumpuvuori Ltd in cooperation with DRD had to be cancelled. Those who paid the registration fee will be refunded. For more information, please click here. Thank you for your understanding.

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