Alradi Abdalla, Open Society Foundation Fellow

January to July 2017, Geneva

Alradi Abdallah from Sudan at the Human Rights Council Chamber at the United Nations in Geneva.

Alradi Abdalla is a disability rights advocate and scholar, he holds bachelor of law, LLM from University of Khartoum and another LLM from the University of Leeds, he worked as human rights lawyer and involved with Action on Disability and Development (ADD International) in role of advocacy and research. He is currently conducting a fellowship with the International Disability Alliance, through support from the Open Society Foundation (OSF). Moving to Geneva to conduct the fellowship, Mr. Abdalla - who is originally from Sudan, participated in the UN Mechanisms, specifically in advocacy within the Human Rights Council and conducting research on Article 13 of the CRPD on Access to Justice.

“I received the Disability Rights Scholar through the OSF, and was specifically looking to conduct the work with an organisation of persons with disabilities (DPOs), as oppose to one that supports and provides to persons with disabilities. I knew that working with IDA would allow me to have direct experience with the Human Rights Council, and to understand further how the mechanisms at the human rights arena work. My country of Sudan ratified the CRPD in 2009, and recently amended their disability legislation, in 2017, to be more in line with the CRPD. Yet, persons with disabilities continue to face discrimination and lack of access to education, work, healthcare and transportation.

One of the aims of this fellowship is to conduct a piece of research on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities. This research will support IDA’s submission for the annual study of the OHCHR - which will be on Article 13 of the CRPD and which will be submitted to the Human Rights Council 37th session. The research will also be published by IDA as a Human Rights Publication series, in order to provide good practices that makes change on guaranteeing participation in access to justice by persons with disabilities.

As a part of my advocacy role in the HRC, I have participated in a number of meetings with delegations who have provided me with background information on their countries and how their States observe the rights of persons with disabilities. I have also attended a number of side-events and meetings which have allowed me to get a sense of the human rights advocacy and to also network with colleagues. Further, I am supporting IDA’s advocacy towards Human Rights Council resolutions - including proposing relevant language, following High Level Segment (at ministerial level) at the Council, meeting Special Rapporteurs, UN officials, States delegates and people involved in different work regarding human rights.

It was great to learn that IDA has fought for a more inclusive environment at the United Nations. Through IDA’s work, there are now four seats at the Human Rights Council dedicated to persons with disabilities. This is a testament to IDA’s work as a DPO to provide equal interventions and have an active seat at the table. Yet, four seats is not enough. Not when there are 1 in 7 persons with disabilities. These seats need to be continue to be filled, and persons with disabilities need to continue having a seat at the table and to be more exposed to the human rights agenda and work.

I am here adding value to the conversations. I brought to the Human Rights Council my expertise as an advocate with a disability, and I am here not only to take, but to also give. I am both an academic and an activist, so this fellowship allows me to practice and enhance both these skills, and being in Geneva as an advocate is providing a great opportunity to be a strong activist in the disability field. Through my experience at the Human Rights Council, I am thinking more about political advocacy to raise the disability agenda, and to have more of an impact. For example, I want to have those conversations with policy makers and legislatives  to really raise their understanding of disability in line with the CRPD. When the situation of persons with disabilities is clear, they will count us in when making legislations and policies.”

Alradi Abdallah from Sudan meeting with Ikponwosa Ero, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism and other delegates at the United Nations in Geneva.    Alradi Abdallah from Sudan with Tchaurea Fleury from the IDA Secretariat.