November/December 2010

The Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) at the United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) with input from UN
offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society. It
is also available on-line at:

In this issue:

§  Holiday Note from the SCRPD
§  Status of the Convention
§  Highlights
§  Upcoming events
§  Other news

Holiday Note from the SCRPD
Available on our website at:


97 ratifications of the Convention
147 signatories to the Convention

Optional Protocol to the Convention

60 ratifications of the Optional Protocol
90 signatories to the Optional Protocol

Recent signatures and ratifications:

European Union ratified the Convention on 23 December 2010
Turkmenistan ratified the Optional Protocol on 10 November 2010
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ratified the Convention and the Optional
Protocol on 29 October 2010


New General Assembly resolution boosts disability-inclusive MDGs
The General Assembly adopted the resolution on “Realizing the Millennium
Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities toward 2015 and beyond”.
The resolution, A/RES/65/186, further promotes mainstreaming disability in
the MDGs towards 2015 and beyond, encourages greater disability-inclusive
international cooperation and enables further participation of persons with
disabilities in development processes. The resolution also urges
Governments and the UN system to strengthen data collection and statistics
on disability. Furthermore, the resolution requests the Secretary-General
to improve accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities
within the UN Secretariat and calls for a High-level Meeting on disability
and development in 2012. More information:

UN Secretariat moves towards fully accessible facilities and services
The newly established Inter-Departmental Task Force on Accessibility
adopted their Terms of Reference to further develop a coherent UN
Secretariat-wide policy on accessibility, including areas of information
and communication technologies, the built environment and human resources.
The first phase of the work of the Task Force would include two working
groups on documentation and interpretation.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemorated
The Day was marked around the world with events to further the inclusion of
persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of
equality, as well as to launch practical action to mainstream disability in
all aspects of development. This year the Day focused on the tools for
action to make the MDGs a reality for persons with disabilities, such as
community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and the new Guidance Note on
disability for UN Country Teams. Events were held at UN Headquarters in
collaboration with the World Health Organization and other partners, as
well as the second DESA Disability Film Festival. A bridge event was held
on 2 December to highlight the linkages between disability and HIV/AIDS,
since 1 December is World AIDS Day (see below). SCRPD participated in a
panel discussion on Ageing and Disability organized by the NGO Committee on
Ageing on 2 December. The event covered issues related to ageing, long-term
disability and disasters. More information:

HIV/AIDS also addressed on IDPD2010 as an emerging issue of concern
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Permanent
Mission of the United States to the UN co-organized a panel discussion on 2
December at UN Headquarters. The Panel highlighted the issue of AIDS and
disability, including their linkages, with a view to foster the
proliferation, integration and development of inclusive HIV policies and
programmes. Participants discussed the need for increased advocacy for
country level work on AIDS and disability and enhanced collaboration
between development actors, donors, national partners, and civil society
etc. Participants included representatives from the US Government, UN
agencies, donor agencies, organizations of persons with disabilities and
civil society. More information: and

Promoting mental health of women and girls with disabilities
SCRPD in collaboration with the World Bank, the UN Development Programme
and the Wellesley Center for Women organized a panel discussion on women
and girls with disabilities in the context of mental health and
development. The panel was held on 6 December at the UN Headquarters in New
York. More information on women and girls with disabilities:

WIPO – Project to facilitate access by VIPs to published works
The 5th meeting of the WIPO’s Stakeholders’ Platform launched an initiative
on 23 October to facilitate access to published works by visually impaired
persons (VIPs) and the print disabled. The meeting held in New Delhi, aimed
to explore the specific needs, and concerns, of both copyright owners and
reading impaired persons and brought together representatives of the VIP
community, as well as publishers. The Platform approved the launch of TIGAR
– the Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources project – which will
enable publishers to make their titles easily available to trusted
intermediaries. These intermediaries will create accessible formats and
share them with each other and with specialized libraries. More

UN official recognized for his work for persons with disabilities
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport and Development, Wilfred
Lemke, was granted the Bobby Award in Berlin for harnessing the power of
sport to foster the social inclusion and well-being of people living with
physical and mental disabilities worldwide. Within the scope of his UN
mandate, Mr. Lemke advocates the greater use of adaptive sport and physical
activity to foster inclusion of persons with disabilities in communities
and society as a whole. Mr. Lemke carried the Convention’s message to the
2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and the 2010 Winter Paralympics in
Vancouver, as well as to the 2009 and 2010 World Special Olympics in Idaho,
United States, and his home town of Bremen, Germany. More information:

ILO – Promoting opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities
Persons with intellectual disabilities represent nearly two per cent of the
world’s population, or some 130 million people. Because of stigma and
discrimination, a majority are excluded from education, training and
employment. In this short film, the International Labour Organization (ILO)
examines what is possible for persons with intellectual disabilities, so
that they are able to access opportunities to obtain decent work and a
better life. See the video at:


9 – 18 February: 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development
The Commission for Social Development will meet for its 49th session at UN
Headquarters in New York under the priority theme: “Poverty Eradication”.
This year the Commission will have before it the Report of the Special
Rapporteur on Disability. More information:

4 March: Panel Discussion on International Cooperation in Rights Protection
of Persons with Disabilities
The Panel will feature a presentation by Mr. Shuaib Chalklen, the Special
Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development and
discussions. It will be held during the Human Right Council meeting in
Geneva. More information:

11 – 15 April: 5th session of Committee on the Rights of Persons with
The Committee will meet for its 5th session in Geneva to consider the first
two State reports on the implementation of the Convention: Adoption of
Concluding Observations of Tunisia, and Adoption of List of issues of
Spain. More information:

18 – 19 April: Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities
Entitled, “Humanity: Advancing Inclusion, Equality and Diversity”, the
Conference has sixteen topic areas, pre and post conference forums,
including the International Forum on the Rights of People with
Disabilities. The Conference will provide an opportunity for dialogue and
an exchange of best practices, research, methodology, and advocacy
initiatives in disability. A call for academic proposals has also been
issued. More information:

5 – 8 June: Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving,
Disability, Ageing and Technology
The conference will explore new and exciting strategies to help support our
increasingly diverse population. It will bring together professionals and
experts from around the world to address critical issues and questions
about universal design in a format supporting dialogue and discussion. The
goal of Universal Design is to make the environment more usable for a
broader range of people in more situations. More information:

3 – 8 July 2011: Access Africa, 5th IDP Africa Forum
The 5th IDP-Institutional Development Forum will focus on how the power of
technology can advance equality and rights of persons who are blind and
partially sighted. Participants will include parents, persons who are blind
and partially sighted, representatives from organizations of and for the
blind, universities and Government ministries, international organizations,
vendors, and sponsors of assistive technology. More information:

18 – 24 July: XVI World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf
This first ever WFD Congress in Africa will held in Durban, South Africa.
The Congress will bring together activists, professionals, interest groups
to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise to be used for welfare
and improving human rights of Deaf people in Africa and around the world.
It will also be a time to review achievements through the implementation of
the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. More information:

7 – 9 September: Fourth Conference of States Parties to the CRPD
The next Conference of States Parties will be held at UN Headquarters in
New York from 7-9 September 2011. Information will shortly be posted on the
Enable website at

19 – 24 September: 6th FATO International Seminar
African Federation of Orthopaedic Technologists (FATO) International
Congress to be held in Arusha, Tanzania in September 2011, will be the
first of its kind in English-speaking East Africa. More information: or email:


(The information below is provided by the non-governmental disability
community and other entities for informational purposes only; they do not
constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of
the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The
United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or
content of their statements and opinions.)

Event on HIV/AIDS and disability at US State Department
To commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the US
State Department in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute on
Disability and Inclusive Development (IIDI) and other partners, organized
an event in Washington, DC, to include disabilities in discussions of
HIV/AIDS and development. The event also called for disability advocates to
press for giving disability a higher profile at the next international
HIV/AIDS conference to be held in Washington, DC, in 2012. More

New European Disability Strategy for 2010-2020
The European Commission has just adopted the European Disability Strategy
2010-2020 to break down barriers with a view to tackling inequalities and
social exclusion. The overall aim of this Strategy entitled “A Renewed
Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe” is to empower persons with
disabilities, so that they can enjoy their full rights and benefit fully
from participating in society, as well as in the European economy, notably
through the Single Market. Achieving this and ensuring effective
implementation of the CRPD across the EU calls for consistency. This
Strategy identifies actions at the EU level to supplement national
initiatives, and it determines the mechanisms needed to implement the CRPD
at the EU level, including at EU institutions. More information:


Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(SCRPD), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Department of
Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations.
Mailing address: 2 UN Plaza, DC2-1306, New York, NY 10017, USA.

If you do not wish to receive any further Enable Newsletters, please reply
with “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.