SMRC RI Global Member of the Month - August 2017

August 2017: Focusing on People - the Fall GAs 

Preparing for two GAs: RI Global and the UN GA

The annual September gathering of world leaders in Manhattan's Turtle Bay, known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has been grabbing worldwide headlines and stalling midtown traffic since 1945, when thousands of diplomats from around the world gather to set the world’s agenda. The incoming president of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia has chosen as the theme of the 72nd session “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.” He has set peace-building, migration, climate change and human rights along with sustainable development in his statement of priorities. Migration of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and their care in the various migrant camps has been a grave concern of RI Global and throughout the year, it and other human rights experts have fought for dedicated human and financial resources made available for PwDs, in the new Global Compact for Migration. “We are deeply concerned about the precarious situation of persons with disabilities in the current migration crisis,” said Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She added that many countries lack formal procedures to identify migrants and refugees with disabilities and fail to provide them with essential services.

RI’s 2017 GA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
During the UN’s three-month deliberations, Rehabilitation International will convene its Annual General Assembly from 13-15 November in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The GA this year will focus on Africa with field visits to local rehabilitation centers, workshops on the African Region and of course, the yearly evaluation of the Commissions and RI Foundation, as well as planning sessions for the future. For those who have not yet paid their 2017 dues, the RI Constitution states that dues have to be paid no less than three months from the date of a GA in order for members to exercise their right to vote. The venue of the various meetings and the GA is at theUN Conference Center for Africa, Menelik II Ave, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. RI Global is currently negotiating for a special rate for RI members with one of the nearby hotels. Details to come.


RI GLOBAL: Around the World

IPC candidate Zhang calls for access to sporting opportunities for all disabled

Rehabilitation International President Zhang Haidi is currently locked in a four-way race with three other candidates to replace Britain’s Sir Philip Craven as president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Zhang, also a longstanding chairperson of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), was considered a surprise contender for the top job in Paralympic sport, but the former 10-meter wheelchair air pistol shooter also serves as Executive President of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee. “As a Chinese woman living with an impairment, I share the hope, fear and pain of my fellow men and women living in this condition,” Zhang told inside the games, a website devoted to Olympic sport. “We have laid solid foundations,” Zhang said. “But the challenge has just begun, and it will not be complete until all those living with impairment enjoy access to better lives through sport.”

The candidates running against Zhang are Andrew Parsons, the former SG of Brazil’s Paralympic Committee, John Petersson, a Danish gold-medal swimmer in five Paralympic games and Patrick Jarvis, a Canadian Paralympic track star and former President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The election will take place on 8 September at the IPC General Assembly in Abu Dhabi. 

RI collects survey data on disability and climate

As part of a joint initiative, researchers from Rehabilitation International and Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre are conducting a study on disability and climate resilience. Led by Dr. Maria Kett at Leonard Cheshire Disability, the overall purpose of the project is to increase understanding of the links between disability and climate resilience and to support delivery of policy and program work that builds the abilities of PwDs to handle climate shocks and stresses. So far, Kett, aided by RI Global’s EC Member Mathieu Simard, have sent out a survey of questions around the relationship between disability and an individual’s vulnerability/resilience to climate change. The survey also evaluates the interventions available to PwDs who have already undergone significant disruptions to their lives due to climate change. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.
Meanwhile, the UNGA has designated 13 October as International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) with the theme of “Home Safe Home”. Last year, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon launched “The Sendai Seven Campaign” to promote each of the seven targets over seven years. This year’s target is prevention, protection and reducing the number of all people affected by disasters –  particularly those at greater risk, including women and children, people living with disabilities and older persons. Promote your efforts on 

RI GLOBAL: Upcoming UN Events
18th session of the CRPD Committee
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by the States Parties, on how the rights are being implemented. The Committee will meet in Geneva to examine each report and will make such suggestions and general recommendations on the report
14 to 31 August, Geneva, Switzerland 
23rd Conference of Asian Federation on Intellectual Disabilities (AFID) 

Organized to pursue the well-bring of people with disabilities in Asia by exchanging information and strengthening networks base of the Asian people with intellectual disabilities. During a time of larger nation-wide and global change through ACID, the 23rd AFID Conference aspires to grow and adapt, remaining always motivated, responsive and open to innovative ideas
18-24 November, Dhaka Bangladesh 
3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf: Convened to elaborate different themes on the occasion of plenary, section and board meetings: bilingual education, sign language in the families, deaf employees at employment market, communication without barriers, new IT revolution, and participation in the decision-making process.
8-10 November, Budapest, Hungary
International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities(IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
3 December, UN Headquarters, New York, NY


Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (SMRC) recently completed the Building Capacity of Women with Disabilities in India: Promoting the Right to Health and advancing Zero Tolerance for Violence, a two-year project that helped teach women with disabilities across India their rights under the UN CRPD. Through the project, SMRC, a leading voluntary disability organisation also established Gender Disability Resource Centres in four states –  Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana – and reached nearly 1,500 women with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence, providing them with defense training and access to disability entitlements from State and National Governments.
While an unbelievably large and diverse project, it’s all in a day’s work for SMRC. With 30 years of practice, SMRC knows its community: disabled women in Indian society are severely marginalized, denied their rights and subjected to widespread discrimination. This deeply entrenched disempowerment has a serious fallout: violence, both physical and emotional, becomes an inherent part of their life. SMRC takes these women at their most vulnerable and helps them rebuild. But it also aims to prevent the vicious cycle. The most important outcome of the Building Capacityproject was the development of a database on types of violence perpetrated against women with disabilities. Those cases now belong to a Gender Watch virtual platform accessible by other organisations across India with the same aim: repairing and restoring.

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