Monthly Archives: February 2015
On 9-11 February, I was part of a group in New York, USA, advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development framework. Orsolya Bartha (The International Disability Alliance) and I were quite fortunate this week to collaborate with Andrew Griffiths from Sightsavers who is also an Executive Committee Co-Chair of Beyond 2015.
Beyond 2015 is a global civil society campaign, pushing for a strong and legitimate post-2015 development framework. In NY, we work closely with Beyond 2015 in our joint advocacy as civil society stakeholders at the United Nations. More than 1000 organisations participate in Beyond 2015 from more than 130 countries representing 41 countries in Africa, 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 35 countries in Europe, 2 countries in North America and 26 countries in Latin America. CBM International, CBM Australia, CBM Canada and CBM UK are all participating organisations in Beyond 2015.
We met with an array of Member States, including: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, the People’s Republic of China, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, and the United Kingdom. We received strong support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities from these meetings. In addition, once again we were told that persons with disabilities are a very strong advocacy group at the UN. Specifically, Brazil stated that persons with disabilities are the most organised of all advocacy groups at the UN. Thank you, Brazil!
We were particularly positive about meeting with the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN since it is the first time we had the opportunity to meet with this important Member State. The People’s Republic of China is very supportive of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development process, in particular in areas of poverty eradication, employment, health, and education. In our meeting we learnt that there are approximately 88 million persons with disabilities living in China and that the China Disabled Persons’ Federation is quite active and collaborates with the government. Specifically, Peng Liyuan, the wife of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, has called for a “more just, tolerant and sustainable environment for the development of disabled people.”
In addition to the afore-mentioned post-2015 events, the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development also took place in NY on 4-13 February. Member States that explicitly referenced persons with disabilities include: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, the EU, Finland, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Viet Nam. I had the lovely opportunity to speak with Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities who gave a fantastic presentation at the session. Watch the video of Ms. Devandas’ presentation. We greatly look forward to working with you in the coming months and years!
Elizabeth Lockwood is CBM’s UN Advocacy Officer based in New York. Elizabeth focuses on developing advocacy strategies to raise awareness, network, build capacity, and lobby for the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN level in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Development. This post first appeared on the CBM International blog.
Tobias Pflanz is CBM’s Field Communication Manager. In January 2014, he met 8 year-old Denis, who suffers from Blounts Disease, which makes walking slow and painful. Thanks to CBM supporters, Denis has started treatment to straighten his legs at CoRSU hospital in Uganda, East Africa. Tobias is following Denis’ progress, meeting him regularly and sharing updates. In this blog, he shares his personal response to Denis’ story.
Denis’ story has moved me deeply right from the start. Despite his disability, the pain in his legs, in spite of so many challenges and sadness in his everyday life – other children laughing at his deformed legs – Denis is still a cheerful boy. He enjoys singing and joking around with his nieces and his little nephew. His joyfulness touched my heart immediately.
And then there is his half-sister Roy who adopted Denis into her young family when their father abandoned the boy. Roy and her husband don’t have much and have to care for their own three children. Nevertheless, Roy did not hesitate to take the boy in and look after him as if he was her own son. That impressed me: having a child with a disability would be a curse in the eyes of many people here. But Roy clearly loves Denis.
Still, she couldn’t afford to pay for any intervention. Denis is another strong example that shows why the work of CBM and our partners – like CoRSU Hospital – is so important. Only through one of CoRSU’s outreach clinics did Roy get the information that help was available – and that there was hope.
I showed pictures of Denis from before intervention to my 6-year-old daughter. She asked me: “Daddy, can CoRSU help Denis?” I said: “It will take some time, but in a few months Denis will have legs almost as straight as yours.” “That’s great”, my daughter exclaimed. “Will you then show me pictures of him again?” I certainly will.