- October 8, 2018


  1. Highlights
  2. Treaty Bodies Review, Geneva 2017-2018
  3. Activities in the Past Weeks
  4. Upcoming Activities
  5. IDA Members
  6. UN System, Agencies and Mechanism
  7. Others
  8. Job offers

 Obituary: Remembering Kalle Könkkölä

  • Noted disability rights activist from Finland, Kalle Könkkölä passed away on 11 September 2018. He was the first Finnish MP with a disability and belonged to the first generation of activists who steadily defended the rights of persons with disabilities, especially those most marginalized in developing countries through his career and work. Kalle left a big mark in the disability rights movement and IDA, in its obituary to him, pledges to pay tribute to his legacy through its continued advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities. Read his obituary here.

 IDA Secretariat seeks Human Rights Officer, New York

  • IDA Secretariat is seeking a Human Rights Officer to be based in New York. This exciting position is focused on processes and aims to provide strategic support to the Executive Director in creating, maintaining or securing the preconditions for increasing participation of persons with disabilities through existing human rights procedures, mechanisms and agendas under his/her portfolio and/or through engaging with relevant UN agencies. This includes promoting strategic agreements, space or adequate language to advance the rights of persons with disabilities. Deadline for applications is 19 October 2018. More details here.

UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities closes its 20th Session

  • On 21 September 2018, the CRPD Committee closed its 20th session. During this session, the Committee held interactive dialogues and adopted concluding observations on Algeria, Bulgaria, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and as well as list of issues prior to reporting for Austria, Azerbaijan, German, Mongolia, Sweden, under the simplified reporting procedure (not yet published). Furthermore, the Committee adopted a list of issues on Iraq.

All Concluding Observations and List of Issues Prior to Reporting adopted during this session are posted in the Committee's website.

During the 20th session, the CRPD Committee has also: 

  • Adopted the General Comment No. 7 (2018) on the participation of persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations, in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention which will be soon published in the Website of the CRPD Committee. Please, click here to read the General Comment No.7 (2018).
  • Adopted a Joint statement by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on “Guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women, in particular women with disabilities”. Please, click here to read the Joint Statement.
  • Adopted a Statement by calling States parties to oppose the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention. Please, click here to read a Statement.

All public meetings of the Committee including the State party reviews were webcast live by UNTV have been archived for subsequent viewing here.

IDA participates in the high-level panel on UNFPA’s study:

  • On 24 September 2018, during the first week of the General Assembly in New York, IDA joined the high-level panel welcoming the UNFPA’s ground-breaking study “Young Persons with Disabilities: Global Study on Ending Gender-based Violence and Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”. The study aims to highlight gender-based violence  (GBV) and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) among young persons with disabilities. His Excellency Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain, opened the session. Moderated by Ana Palaez, member of the CEDAW Committee, the high-level panel included representatives from the UK and Mozambique, UNFPA Director Dr. Nattalia Kanem, youth representative Vibhu Sharma of the Global Partnership on Youth with Disabilities, and Nyle DiMarco, actor, and Deaf activist. More details here.

Compilation of Human Rights Council Resolutions (2010-2018) relevant to the rights of persons with disabilitie:

  • Aiming to encourage and support Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva and New York to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities across intergovernmental negotiations, IDA has prepared a compilation of relevant HRC Resolutions from 2010 to 2018. This compilation considers the UN agreed language in all HRC resolutions approved at its regular sessions from March 2010 to March 2018. The compilation includes all references that are considered directly or indirectly relevant, of interest or that can be strengthened in the future. The structure of the compilation is divided into: specific resolutions for persons with disabilities, resolutions on specific groups or specific rights, resolutions on specific or general thematic, and country-specific resolutions. Read the compilation, please, click here .

 IDA’s audit report for Bridge CRPD-SDGs now online:

  • The audit report for 2016-2017 expenses managed by IDA on the Bridge program is now online on the IDA website. The report builds on the "Agreed upon Procedure (AUP) Audit" which aims at validating the accuracy of the financial reports, the reception, and allocation of the different funding detailed in those reports, and the accuracy and eligibility of expenditures allocated to Bridge. Read the reports here.


The historic event as Robert Martin becomes the first expert with intellectual disability to chair a UN session

  • On 25 September 2018, Robert Martin from New Zealand became the first expert with an intellectual (learning) disability to chair a working session of an international human rights body. The importance of this historic event needs to be highlighted as it contributes to challenging the deeply rooted prejudices, which continue to prevent the full and effective participation of persons with intellectual disabilities, including in the work of UN bodies. It shows that respect for the right of every person with the disability to benefit from reasonable accommodation can effectively contribute to the effective enjoyment of their right to full and meaningful participation as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Here is the link to the tweet and the Facebook post.

CESCR Committee opens its 64th session 

  • The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights opened its 64th session (24 Sep 2018 - 12 Oct 2018) in which it will be reviewing the States’ reports on CESCR implementation of Argentina, Cabo Verde, Germany, Mali, South Africa and Turkmenistan. The public meetings are webcast live by the UN Office of Geneva here. UN Web TB will provide webcast in English and in a second UN language, according to each country. 

79th session of Committee on the Rights of the Child

  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child held its 79th session (17 September – 5 October 2018) in which it reviewed El Salvador, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mauritania and Niger. The public meetings were webcast live by the UN Office of Geneva at and can be viewed here. More details can be found here.

Rwandan DPOs attend the 10th pre-session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

  • During the 10th pre-sessional working group of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held from 24-27 September 2018, the Committee considered Rwanda’s initial State report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  On 25 September 2018, the Committee held a private meeting with delegates from Rwandan organizations of persons with disabilities, to hear from them about CRPD implementation in Rwanda. The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) supported six delegates from four DPOs to attend this meeting. Following the pre-session, the Committee issued a List of Issues, to which the Government of Rwanda must respond before the full review early next year. For more details, please, click here.

IDA participates in Day of General Discussion on “Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders”

  • The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) organized a Day of the General Discussion on “Protecting and empowering children as human rights defenders” on 28 September 2018 in Geneva.  IDA participated in a working group on children as human rights defenders (CHRDs) and disabilities, where James Anderson, a young adult with intellectual disability from Inclusion, Scotland spoke. He stressed the importance of speaking up against bullying. UN Special Rapporteur on Disability Catalina Devandas Aguilar moderated this discussion. More information here.


From 10 - 15 September 2018, the Forum of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities of Mozambique (FAMOD) organized a Technical workshop on monitoring SDGs in line with the CRPD, in Maputo, Mozambique, with support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Light for the World (LFTW) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), in partnership with the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, Humanity and Inclusion (HI), the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and Sightsavers. The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of DPO advocates from Mozambique and Angola to develop a report on the implementation of the CRPD and SDGs in their countries. It is also aimed to foster momentum and opportunities to develop Bridge CRPD-SDGs training to Portuguese speaking countries in 2019-2020. More details can be found here.



  • IDA BOARD MEETING: The IDA Board meeting will be held in Athens from 1-3 November 2018.
  • IDA PROGRAMME COMMITTEE MEETING: The Programme Committee meeting will be held from 2-5 November 2018 in Athens.
  • Bridge CRPD-SDGs TRAINING OF TRAINERS: The next IDA-IDDC Bridge CRPD-SDGs Training of Trainers Module B will take place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates from 18-26 October 2018 during the World Data Forum (22-24 October 2018).
  • UN WORLD DATA FORUM: The UN World Data Forum 2018 will take place in Dubai, UAE from 22-24 October 2018. The event will bring together data leaders from diverse stakeholder groups, including national and international statistical systems, academia, the business community, and civil society. The aim of the forum is to exchange ideas, showcase innovations, identify solutions, discuss future strategies, and provide mutual learning opportunities on a wide variety of topics. More information available on the website of the UN World Data Forum.
  • INCLUSION WORKS CONSORTIUM DESIGN WORKSHOP IN LONDON: The in-country workshops under the UKAid Connect project ‘Inclusion Works’, focusing on livelihoods, will be held as follows: Uganda (10-12 October 2018), Kenya (15-17 October 2018), Bangladesh (28-30 October 2018), and Nigeria (12-14 November 2018). These workshops will define priorities of the project focused on access to employment of persons with disabilities. IDA members have nominated national members to participate in these meetings. Additionally, the following people will be representing IDA at these workshops: Betty Najjemba (ADF) at the Uganda workshop; Fatma Wangari (Inclusion/ADF), Michael Njenga (WNUSP/ADF) and Peter Owaga (WBU) at the Kenya workshop; Dorodi Sharma (IDA Secretariat) at the Bangladesh workshop; and Ekaete Judith Umoh (ADF) at the Nigeria one. (c.f. e-mail from Priscille Geiser to IDA Programme Committee dated 20 September 2018).
  • DISABILITY INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT (DID) COUNTRY WORKSHOPS: The country workshops for the Disability Inclusive Development grant under the consortium being led by Sightsavers will be held as follows: Kenya, 17-18 October 2018 where Fatma Wangari (Inclusion/ADF), Michael Njenga (WNUSP/ADF) and Peter Owaga (WBU) will participate; Bangladesh, 31 October – 1 November 2018 where Dorodi Sharma (IDA Secretariat) will participate; and Nigeria, 14-15 November 2018 where Ekaete Judith Umoh (ADF) will participate. For Tanzania (14-16 November 2018), IDA representatives are yet to be identified. For the Nepal DID workshop to be held from 19-21 November 2018, Priscille Geiser from IDA Secretariat is likely to attend while IDA member representative is yet to be identified. This project focuses on inclusive education, livelihoods, health, stigma and discrimination. (c.f. e-mail from Priscille Geiser to IDA Programme Committee dated 3 October 2018).


BRIDGE CRPD-SDGS UGANDA: The second cycle of the national Bridge CRPD-SDGs training in Uganda will be held in November 2018. The training is being organised by ADF, in partnership with CBM, IDDC and IDA, supported by a grant from DFID and the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) in the UK.



  • EDF announced the 2018 Photo Competition with the theme  ‘Equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities’. The competition was open to everyone and from the nominations received; there will be a selection of 20 finalists. All 20 final photos, including the three winners, will be exhibited during various events and in other European countries, including the European Day of Persons with Disabilities and Brussels Photo Exhibit. The winner’s name will be revealed on the 2nd of November. The three final nominees will receive a cash prize of 500, 300 and 200 euros respectively. For more details, please, click here.
  • The third installment in the EDF webinar series on the regional coordination mechanisms for persons with disabilities and their participation at the Regional Sustainable Development Forums will be held on 11 October 2018 from 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm Belgium time. Speakers will be discussing the work done in South America in relation to the Regional Forum for Sustainable Development. The webinars are part of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Department for International Development (DFID) Catalyst programme. (SDGs). The webinar will have real-time captioning and the recording will be shared later for people who cannot join.  Please click here to register for this webinar. If you have any questions, please email Deirdre McBride, EDF Assistant for this project: deirdre.mcbride [at] The second in the series focused on the Asia Pacific and Europe was held on 25 September 2018. Recording can be viewed here.
  • Read about the EDF and UNICEF’s project titled ‘Protecting children from violence and promoting social inclusion of children with disabilities in Western Balkans and Turkey’; and other news in the latest edition of the EDF newsletter here.


  • The Nippon Foundation and the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia organized an event in Tokyo on 23 September 2018 to commemorate the first occasion of the International Day of Sign Language. With the support of Google Japan, the event was broadcast live on YouTube. The event can be watched here.
  • WFD highlighted the many ways in which people could support the International Week of the Deaf (WDeaf) celebrating the first IDSL. This information can be found here.

World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB)

  • WFDB had published the first initial global report on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness. It seeks to start a dialogue between international disability rights and development stakeholders, and is based on research undertaken by WFDB combining the largest population-based analysis of persons with deafblindness conducted to date (disaggregation of 22 population-based surveys from low, middle and high-income countries), an academic literature review, two surveys conducted among members and partners of WFDB and Sense International. Read more and download the report here.
  • World Federation of the Deafblind organized a side-event titled “Persons with deafblindness and inequalities: What the data say, what the reality is, and the road ahead”, in cooperation with Sense International and IDA and the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UKAid, on 14 September 2018 in Geneva at Palais des Nations. The event had the objective of sharing with the CRPD Committee members and the members of the Human Rights Council key findings and recommendations of the initial global monitoring report on the situation of persons with deafblindness. More details can be found here.
  • The World Federation of Deafblind adopted a resolution during its 5th General Assembly in June this year urging UN State parties, civil society and others to fully and universally recognize deafblindness as a unique and distinct disability. The resolution also called for the report on the progress of inclusion of, and participation by persons with deafblindness in the implementation of the CRPD and the SDGs. Read the full resolution here.


  • Online consultation on a review of UN system on rights of persons with disabilities: The UN Secretary General's Executive Committee decided in April 2018 to review the UN system's current approach to both accessibility and to mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the organization's operations. To support this effort, Dr. Valerie Karr and her team from the University of Massachusetts Boston are conducting a study titled United Nations Disability Research Roadmap: Strengthening the United Nations (UN) System to Make it Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities. Once concluded, the report will serve as the basis to inform and assist key stakeholders and decision-makers within the UN system to improve the capacity of the UN System to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a disability rights perspective. The final two online consultations will be held 12 October and 15 November 2018, 9 am Eastern Time. Join the 12 October consultation here, and the for the 15 November consultation click here. For any queries, contact: Callie M. Brusegaard, Ph.D., callie.brusegaard001 [at]
  • UN Launches first campaign to eliminate violence against children and adolescents with disabilities in Asia-Pacific: Countries in Asia-Pacific have pledged to accelerate efforts to promote the rights of, and eliminate violence against, children and adolescents with disabilities. This came as part of the regional launch of the Global Campaign for the ‘Good Treatment of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents with Disabilities in the World’ held in Bangkok on 25 September 2018. Jointly organized by the Special Envoy to the UN Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the launch brought together policymakers, advocates, and persons with disabilities to introduce 10 principles for protection, well-being and development for children and adolescents with disabilities, who are at greater risk of experiencing violence. More details here.
  • Workshop on establishing an Arab Disability Indicator Framework: The Inter-Agency and Expert Group Meeting on Improving Disability Statistics in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Cairo, Egypt from 18-20 September 2018. This was the 3rd meeting of a series for the Disability Statistics Programme launched in 2016 by ESCWA in its Statistics Division. The workshop brought together 55 participants who represented statistical offices, policy-making bodies, UN agencies, and organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs). ‘The Regional Guidebook to Improve Disability Data Collection and Analysis in Arab Countries: Implementing the Washington Group Questions on Functioning’ was launched at the workshop. More details here.
  • UNESCAP Stakeholder Engagement Webinar Series: The next installment in the UNESCAP Stakeholder Engagement Webinar Series, entitled ‘Institutionalizing Engagement for the 2030 Agenda’ will take place on Tuesday, 16 October 2018 at 16:00 Bangkok time. UNESCAP is producing this webinar series on stakeholder engagement as part of its wider efforts to help build the capacity of governments in the Asia-Pacific region as to better engage key national stakeholders towards the successful realization of the 2030 Agenda.  More information about this webinar series can be found on UNESCAP's here and the concept note for module 2 can be read here. Please use this link to register. Please contact Christopher Dekki (dekki [at], with any questions or concerns.
  • Thematic report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights: The thematic report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights on the cultural rights approach to the universality of human rights and the close interrelationship between universality and cultural diversity, is now available. It can be found on his link. In the context of the 10-year anniversary of the creation of the mandate, the next thematic report will take stock of the impact of the work of the cultural rights mandate since its creation. Contributions to the study are now being invited.  Submissions of maximum 2500 words should be submitted no later than 26 October 2018 to srculturalrights [at] Responses are also being sought on a questionnaire on the implementation of cultural rights and sustained emerging issues that could be found here, here and here. More details can be found here.
  • Special Rapporteur on the right to health – call for inputs ahead of the visit to Canada: The Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health will pay an official visit to Canada from 5-16 November 2018. During his visit, he plans to hold meetings with different interlocutors and to visit different sites and facilities in Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia and Québec. In this context, the Rapporteur is currently requesting partners and stakeholders to send information on the current status of the realization of the right to health in Canada. For more details, please click here. Please note that the information received for the attention of the Special Rapporteur in connection with this visit will be treated as confidential and will not be made public. Suggested deadline to send inputs is 5 October 2018. However, inputs sent after the deadline will still be considered for the elaboration of the report. Information may be sent to the Special Rapporteur at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at srhealth [at]
  • President of 73rd UNGA calls for work on rights of persons with disabilities: María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, in an interview said that disability is going to be one of the 7 priorities of the 73rd UN General Assembly. "We will be working for the rights of persons with disabilities. This is also going to be among the seven priorities [for the 73rd session]. We will work to have all Member States to sign the Convention and to commit to the rights of persons with disabilities. Alongside, we will also work on accessibility and on issues of access to decent work for persons with disabilities." Read the full interview here.
  • Consultation on engaging civil society and other stakeholders in the UNDAF: To help make people's engagement the norm, the UN Sustainable Development Group is developing common minimum standards that will apply to UN country teams throughout the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). A two-part consultation is being held that will feed into these minimum standards. The first consultation hosted by UNDESA was held on 2 October 2018 and the second consultation hosted by UN DOCO took place on October 4 2018.  More details here.
  • European Commission: Web accessibility survey: The European Commission is conducting a survey on web accessibility of websites and apps of public sector bodies. This survey will be instrumental in the application of the Web Accessibility Directive. It is open until the 14 October 2018. The survey can be filled on the links provided below based on the language preference.
  • English: 
  • Bulgarian:
  • Croatian:
  • Czech:
  • Danish:
  • Dutch:
  • Estonian:
  • Finnish:
  • French:
  • German:
  • Greek:
  • Hungarian:
  • Icelandic:
  • Italian:
  • Latvian:
  • Lithuanian:
  • Norwegian:
  • Polish:
  • Portuguese:
  • Romanian:
  • Slovak:
  • Slovenian:
  • Spanish:
  • Swedish:


  • TCI Asia Pacific Campaign #WhatWENeed Full CRPD Compliance on the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities: With the approach of the World Mental Health Week 2018, TCI Asia Pacific has launched a campaign to bring together the voices of persons with psychosocial disabilities, users and survivors of psychiatry, people with “mad” identities and other identities thereof. This is also in the run-up to the Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit in London on 9-10 October 2018 and related concerns that it is being designed and conducted without the participation of persons with psychosocial disabilities and users and survivors of psychiatry. More details on the campaign can be found here.
  • The Bali Declaration was adopted at the Plenary meeting of TCI Asia Pacific on 29 August 2018. The Declaration highlights the continued discrimination and exploitation of persons with psychosocial disabilities and the failure of the current policy responses in ensuring full inclusion. It calls for actions that recognize inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities involves a paradigm shift and reframing of policy environment from medical to social model and calls to place inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities as the purpose, process and outcome of all social, legislative, policy, program, service actions, across all sectors, involving all actors. Read the Declaration here.
  • Free online training platform on accessible tourism: The “Tour4All” project, which was recently concluded, has established a free online training platform for tourism professionals to learn about accessibility. The aim is that both tourists, as well as the tourism industry, will benefit from better service and accessibility. The different modules cover for example legislation, good practices, user experience, the economic and social potential of accessible tourism, identifying possible barriers, as well as technical aspects of accessibility. More details here.
  • Inclusion, Innovation, and Smart Cities: G3ict (the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs) and World Enabled, launched a new initiative to redefine the innovation process so it works better for persons with disabilities. They have created a short, 3-minute survey, and would very much like your thoughts on this important topic. Here is the link to the survey. More information on initiative here.
  • Report on Human Rights and Disability in Spain: The Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI) has prepared for the tenth consecutive year the Annual Report on Human Rights and Disability. The report includes information about the rights of people with disabilities in Spain and on measures that contribute to correct this deficit in citizenship. The Report records almost 300 complaints of violations of rights, 45 advances and 25 proposals for improvement, figures that show a still very negative balance in the matter of human rights of persons with disabilities. Read the full report here (in Spanish)
  • Airports Councils International (ACI) World launches new handbook to enhance accessibility: Airport Councils International (ACI) World launched a new handbook to help airports enhance the accessibility of air travel for persons with disabilities. This guidance document is intended to help airports enhance the accessibility of air travel for persons with disabilities, including those with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities, and was launched at the first ACI Customer Excellence Global Summit, hosted by Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Read more and order a copy at this link.


  • EUROPEAN DISABILITY FORUM (EDF) is seeking a Policy Assistant on e-accessibility, who will report to the EDF Policy and Accessibility Coordinator. The purpose of the job will be to support the advocacy work of EDF in the area of accessibility to information and communication technologies (e-accessibility). Deadline to apply is 31 October 2018. More details here.

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