OUR VOICE AT THE UN is a quarterly series that provides information and news about: How we are affecting change at the UN and in global efforts; how to get involved in efforts and initiatives that will impact your communities and your country.
Inclusion International’s advocacy efforts at the UN and in other global discussions are guided by the priorities identified by our members globally. While member organizations in different regions and countries experience different political and economic contexts, the issues of exclusion for families and self-advocates are shared globally. Our members continue to prioritize their advocacy efforts in four general areas:
- Inclusive Education
- Living and being included in the community
- The right to decide
- Inclusive development
From Geneva, to Bangkok, to Colombia, this edition of Hear Our Voices will highlight what we are doing to make sure that what matters to people with intellectual disabilities and their families is being heard at the global level.
This year two of our key advocacy priorities are to influence the interpretation by the UN of the right to live and be included in the community and to gain recognition of the important role of families. Read more about how our network is working to achieve these objectives .
On 23 February 2017, at the UN in Geneva, Inclusion International representatives were the primary speakers at the Human Rights Council Intersessional meeting on the seminar on the role of families in protecting and supporting the rights of persons with disabilities.
Our presentations focused on what families have told us they need: Information – positive disability information, help navigating systems, planning for the future; Help with disability associated costs; short breaks for parents; support for parent who work (including employment protection); and, capacity building for parents and their organizations who provide information and build connections with other families.
Securing the Right to Live and Be Included in the Community (Article 19)
On 24 March, 2017, in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), and Light for the World, we coordinated a side-event at the 17th session of the CRPD Committee on Article 19, the right to live and be included in the community.
The aim of the event was to raise awareness and share with the Committee what Article 19 means in reality for people with disabilities and their families and to develop and understanding of what should be included in the forthcoming General Comment on Article 19.
The robust discussion that took place highlighted the need
for clarification about the role of institutions and how to support people to be effectively included in their communities and presenters challenged the misconceptions behind the questions.
The draft General Comment will be released soon and Inclusion International will host a series of webinars to support the development of our submission and support our members to call for a General Comment that is progressive and positive.
Making the SDGs inclusive
Regional Preparatory Meetings
A series of regional preparatory meetings are being held by the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals. Our council member, David Corner, participated and presented at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok.
David, the only person with an intellectual disability in attendance, urged states parties to ensure people with intellectual disabilities and their families are included through the SDG process and helped to raise awareness about the need for information to be provided in plain language.
also highlighted that the SDGs cannot be considered one goal at a time. They are all connected. In one of his presentations, he remarked:
“Not only should no one be left behind in achieving the SDGs – no goal should be left behind…If we are going to reduce inequality people with intellectual disability have to have equal access to opportunities and have the right support and services in inclusive education, in work and, to enable them to participate and contribute in their communities so they are not isolated”
Upcoming regional meetings
Enhancing MGoS Engagement in National Level Reviews, Bogota, Colombia
From 25 – 26 March, 2017, the United Nations hosted a meeting with Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) to explore how to improve participation of all stakeholders in SDG National Voluntary Reviews. Our Council member from the Americas, Elena dal Bo,
participated and presented at the meeting.
Elena and the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities highlighted the need for MGoS to be inclusive of persons with disabilities and their families and for the provision of information in plain language. An outcome of one group discussion was the need to promote relationships among MGoS so we can learn from each other and have common positions whenever possible.
Upcoming UN events:
- 10 – 12 May, 2017: IDDC Conference, Oslo, Norway
- 22 – 25 May, 2017: Financing for Development Conference, New York
- 13 – 15 June, 2017: 10th Conference of States Parties, New York
- 10 – 19 July, 2017: High Level Political Forum, New York