Guide to international news, November 2021
Welcome to your curated global guide to what's being done to us, and what we're doing about it. This picks up from where the September update left off.
What's happening here: I'm Peter, and I make Disability Debrief to keep track of how the world is changing for persons with disabilities. You can see previous issues online or search the archive of disability news since 2020. This edition is produced with support from Center for Inclusive Policy.
I love when people get in touch - reply, leave a comment, or find me on twitter @desibility. And do share this newsletter with friends (or enemies) who need disability news in their lives.
We're back, and we've got a lot of links with us. Here are the highlights (some of them are lowlights). Explore after this summary for news in your favourite topic, or for me being interviewed about disability life and policy.
Kicking-off on climate. COP26 has seen more discussion of disability than… all of the previous COPs put together. From the disability sector we're getting our ducks in a row on this issue. See an overview article on why we're so affected by the climate crisis, the disability donor network position on advocacy on climate change or dive into an evidence digest of what we know. From the COP26 side they have a way to go, and you probably saw the news about the Israeli Minister who had access issues at the summit.
Unfortunately, we're being included in what's going wrong. Whether it's a flood in Germany, a heatwave in Canada, or wildfires in the US, persons with disabilities are too often first in line for bad things. As well as these extreme climate events, disability activists were among those threatened by the Taliban in Afghanistan. As a blog grieving a murder of a woman with disability New Zealand says, “We should be able to be disabled, we should be able to be human and not die.”
Mask up again for COVID-19 — readers know this newsletter doesn't get very far without covid — more detail is coming out about what happened to us all over the world:
- A study on the global impact of the pandemic on women with disabilities opens with this powerful quote:
“When I worked in the disability [sector] in 1993, women with disabilities’ situation was worse, because they had to live inside the house. They had nothing to do. They were uneducated…
With the pandemic, that same situation is happening to women with disabilities again, because they are losing their jobs, they have to stay all day and night with the family and can’t contribute to the family. It is a really hard time, especially for women with disabilities.” — Rama, Nepal
- A report on what happened to organizations of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Zambia. At the same time as they were playing a critical role to support persons with disabilities, they had their funding cut.
- Unequal Pandemic, an important study that shows evidence of marginalized groups from around the world, and in the covid section I quote from it.
You won't have seen something like this before… A unique magazine from Feminist Republik, Dzuwa has a volume focussing on disability justice and women with disabilities in several African countries. This really could go in several of the sections below as it combines art, poetry, policy, personal experience and reflections on our COVID-19 world. See more on its launch page, including versions in Swahili, Portuguese, French as well as the English:
The pandemic has shown that an individualistic approach to self-care is not enough as a strategy to resistance. Instead, intrinsically linking the importance of self and community care as profoundly political, whole communities can begin to feel and gain from the ripple effect of care and healing. In this edition, we highlight the importance of collective care as a core component in community organising. It touches on discussions on need for sustainability in our care practices which would in turn sustain the movement. Care and solidarity within the feminist movement is needed now more than ever.
Reflecting on the Paralympics. As well as behind-the-scenes with athletes or a discussion of ableism in the para-sport movement, there's an article taking a deeper look at how sport can advance disability inclusion. It finds that “inspirational” takes still limit the transformative effects, but a shift is happening and athletes can use their own voices for it.
Housekeeping. I love doing this newsletter, and I've been thinking about how I can carry on doing it next year. I've started asking some of you about getting support to be able to do so, and I’ll share with you my thoughts on that soon.
Closing out with further highlights:
- Happy to welcome back… the space exploration section: why we need astronauts with disabilities.
- Would have loved to write about this myself… 10 disability moments in Game of Thrones.
- Quote of the day: “I’ve had it with the pieties of neoliberal inclusionism.” — Jan Grue on living in a disabling world. I would write more about that, if I weren't worried it's a label that could refer to my own work.
- I learned a new word: ‘Crip futurity’ and what we can show technology. See also the piece on cultural visions of the future, in disabling utopia to save it.
- Didn't get time to read but looks interesting: Shadows, struggles and successes, a 250-year history of disability in Australia.
Disability Crosses Borders
Disability Crosses Borders is a new podcast “diving into the stories where Disability, Migration and Culture Meet”. As well as its themes being very close to my heart I was honoured to be Áine Kelly-Costello's latest guest.
In our wide-ranging conversation I got a great chance to reflect on my own disability experience, how I travel as a disabled person, the grassroots Disabled Person's Organization in Bangladesh that brought me into the global movement, my research on disability in Brazil, and the work I've done since then right up to this newsletter.
The topics covered below are:
- Accessibility and Design
- Assistive Technology
- Black Lives Matter and racial justice
- Climate Change
- Civil Society and community
- Community Based Inclusive Development
- Culture, Entertainment and Media
- Data and Research
- Digital Accessibility and Technology
- Disaster Risk Reduction and crisis response
- Education and childhood
- Employment, business and work
- Financial Inclusion
- Global Disability Summit
- History and Memorial
- Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
- Institutions and Deinstitutionalisation
- International Cooperation
- Justice systems and Legal Capacity
- Lived Experience and Opinion
- Mental Health
- Mobility and Transport
- Policy and rights
- Politics and Elections
- Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
- Sign Languages
- Social Protection and costs of disability
- Space exploration
- Sport and Paralympics
- Violence and Harassment
- Water and Sanitation (WASH)
- Women and girls with disabilities
And in closing acknowledgements and farewell.
Disclaimer: We all need to be careful about things we see online, even from brilliant newsletters. I organize things to show where they come from, which hopefully helps you to navigate and evaluate the information.
News by area
Accessibility and Design
Zero Project 2022 has shortlisted its awards in the area of accessibility.
Michigan Social Work is offering an Online Certificate in Disability Inclusion and Accessible Design.
In Germany, The school that created a city for the blind (September, BBC)
- Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the Built Environment in Varanasi, India (October, AT2030)
- Only 54% public buildings are disabled-friendly, govt. tells HC court proceedings in Tamil Nadu (September, The Hindu)
In the United States,
- An Access Series (November, Bitch Media)
- Why Accessibility Matters in Mergers and Acquisitions (June, Equal Entry)
Assistive Technology Provider Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic September (Environmental Research and Public Health) Top-line looks like the rest of us: disruption we weren't prepared for, not many positives but maybe the strengthening of digital is useful going forward.
Access to Assistive Technology during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic: Voices of Users and Families (October, Assistive Technology and Support Services for People with Disabilities in Low Resource Settings)
Black Lives Matter and racial justice
In the United States, What it's like to be Black and Disabled in America (September, Atlantic)
A nice overview of the issues in What’s climate change got to do with disability? a radio programme, sadly without transcript but with accompanying article. (October, BBC Ouch)
- Disability and the Climate Crisis, CBM UK page on disability inclusive climate action.
- Evidence digests on Climate Change and Disability Inclusion (link to pdf, October, Disability Inclusion Digest)
The Glad Network Disability Inclusive Climate Action COP26 Advocacy Paper, and see also accompanying inforgraphic.
Summary of discussion on CIP on What do climate-focus agencies need to be doing to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their work, and what should disability organisations need to be doing to ensure a focus on climate in their work? (CIP)
Human Rights Watch People with Disabilities Needed in Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change (November)
From IDA and IDDC, Statement by IDA and IDDC as COP 26 takes place.
IDA has a Disability and Climate Action Caucus Membership Interest Form for NGOs and OPDs.
In the United Kingdom,
- Disability inclusion in UK climate action paper with recommendations to UK work at Cop26 (October, Bond Disability and Development Group )
- Community Climate Action Interesting intervention, and video, by a disability organization to link with local government efforts. "We must be part of this change to make sure that the changes make Bristol better for everyone." (August, Bristol Disability Equality Forum)
Civil Society and community
The Disability and Philanthropy Forum have launched a Disability Inclusion Pledge for foundations and philanthropy-serving organizations (June)
- ‘You Get Proud by Practicing’: The Path to Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy (September, Council on Foundations)
Disability rights groups want funders to boost giving amid decline (August, Devex)
Transforming Communities for Inclusion (TCI) "TCI is an independent global Organisation of Persons with Disabilities [OPD], focusing on the monitoring and implementation of all human rights, for persons with psychosocial disabilities." Members can be individuals or organizations. (July, IDA)
In Sub-Saharan African and South Asia, Disability-related stigma and discrimination in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia: a systematic literature review (link to pdf, May, Sightsavers)
In Afghanistan, The Taliban Is Targeting Disability Rights Activists (September, The Nation) See also statement from IDA.
In the United Kingdom, Understanding the needs of disabled people's organizations in England a research report (Inclusion London) Tells a sad story of funding cuts, and and getting “cut adrift” from local government.
In the United States,
- Ford Foundation Launches First-Ever U.S. Disability Rights Program (October, Ford Foundation)
- Moving From Disability Rights to Disability Justice (September, WID)
Community Based Inclusive Development
Development of a Digital Case Management Tool for Community Based Inclusive Development Program (October, Environmental Research and Public Health)
An Unequal Pandemic is an important study on how COVID-19 “built upon structural inequalities of our societies”. It was developed in collaboration from civil society partners including CBM and Sightsavers. It is based on community voices and highlights the contribution of marginalized groups:
People who have been marginalised have made critical contributions to the COVID-19 pandemic response: providing practical support to families, friends and peers (including food parcels); providing mutual financial aid; and translating or sharing official information. People who have been marginalised have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, adapting to the pandemic’s effects, including finding alternative sources of income.
In contrast to communities’ efforts, official government responses to COVID-19 have often overlooked or excluded people who have been marginalised. The pandemic has exposed considerable gaps and bias in official data published and used by government agencies and public bodies. These data gaps render many people and groups ‘invisible’, in turn excluding them from national responses. The pandemic has built upon structural inequalities of our societies, disproportionately impacting people who have been marginalised.
Effective COVID-19 pandemic responses and recoveries require a comprehensive understanding of both the impact of COVID-19 on people who have been marginalised and the strategies used by communities to adapt to and manage these impacts.
It's hard to summarise a global crisis, but that goes a long way to doing so!
Women Enabled have done a series of studies on impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls with Disabilities a global assessment and guidance materials with case studies from Malawi, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Fiji.
In Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. Consequences of Exclusion: A Situation Report on Organisations of People with Disabilities and COVID-19. Describes the critical role these organizations played at the same time as “dramatic reductions to funding and operational capacity”. (link to pdf, September, Inclusive Futures)
- See also a specialist's reaction: “I am completely shocked. I thought we had made good progress with disability inclusion” (September, Inclusive Futures)
In Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda Lives turned upside down in COVID-19 times: exploring disabled people's experiences in 5 low-and-middle income countries using narrative interviews: ‘destabilisation, disorientation and uncertainty’ (Disability Studies Quarterly)
In Bangladesh, Co-exploring the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihood of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh "Since they had no stable income, the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic had affected them badly even leading to household level famine." (Disability Studies Quarterly)
Between Canada and Russia, Emergent Pandemic Strategies among Disabled Adults in Long Term Care 'local histories combine with changing transnational “inclusion” models to create unique formations for living disability otherwise.' (July, Anthropology News)
In Kenya, the blind community health volunteer: personal experience on "being blind, covid times and experiences" (July, Vice Versa)
In Latin America, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with intellectual disabilities and their families (in Spanish and Portuguese, July, Inclusion International)
In the United Kingdom, People with learning disabilities in England ‘have eight times Covid death rate’ (July, Guardian)
In the United States,
- Disability, Health Equity & COVID-19 detailed infographics (September, NICHM)
- Health Risks and Consequences of a COVID-19 Infection for People with Disabilities: Scoping Review and Descriptive Thematic Analysis (April, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Policies and Response
Disability and COVID-19: ensuring no one is left behind commentary on inclusion in the public health emergency (August, Archives of Public Health)
‘I am completely shocked. I thought we had made good progress with disability inclusion.’ reflections on the COVID-19 response (September, Inclusive Futures)
In Australia, Advice on protecting people with disability from COVID-19 (OzSage)
In India, Mobilizing for the Rights of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities in India: (October, Hpod)
In Kenya, Disability inclusive innovation benefits everyone on a UNDP "innovation challenge inviting solutions to the socio-economic challenges experienced by persons with disability as a result of COVID-19." (The Standard)
In the United Kingdom, Deaf woman wins claim over lack of sign language at briefings (July, BBC)
In the United States, Federal Court Blocks Iowa’s Law Banning Masking Requirements in Schools because it violates the civil rights of children with disabilities (September, the Arc)
IDDC event on Build Back Inclusively "Achieving Agenda 2030 through disability inclusive COVID-19 recovery " (July)
WHO short video on Disability considerations for COVID-19 vaccination (October)
In Australia, ‘Just eight weeks left’: Disability advocates warn vaccination rate must lift (September, Sydney Morning Herald)
In India, Vaccine equity for all a campaign by Sightsavers (August, Indian Express)
Culture, Entertainment and Media
Disabling Utopia to Save It: an essay exploring social imaginations of the future and the space that disability could take in it (July, The Nation):
In a culture where disability is unwelcome, its presence in utopia may be unsettling to some, but society can benefit from conjuring worlds that model diversity and inclusion, where differences are celebrated rather than flattened.
In the United States,
- PBS American Masters is doing a series on cultural contributions of persons with disabilities: for example on Kitty O'Neil: racecar driver and stunt legend.
- Kinetic Light Dancers Take Disability Arts to New Heights (November, KQED)
- Ford Foundation to Support The Times’s Disability Journalism Fellowship (July, New York Times)
Film and TV
BBC and Netflix form partnership to develop and co-produce shows from disabled creatives (August, BBC).
‘Why do they have to be brilliant?’ The problem of autism in the movies (September, Guardian)
Coda and the films finally treating deaf people with respect (August, BBC) See also a twitter thread that compiles Deaf reflections and insights on the movie (August, @hearherhands).
‘Eternals’ has the MCU’s first Deaf superhero. Her Deafness is one of her superpowers (October, Los Angeles Times)
No Time To Die slammed as disability campaigners blast Bond villains’ ‘degrading’ facial disfigurements (September, Mail+)
Sex Education: Isaac actor George Robinson gets intimate about disability. I am a fan of this show and it had a steamy disability sex scene. (September, BBC)
10 teachable disability moments in Game of Thrones (October, Forbes)
A critical content analysis of Kuwaiti TV shows and plays on disability representations (August, Arab Media Society)
In Africa, Disability Reporting in the Media on grant support for journalism training workshops (link to pdf, July, Internews)
In Canada, How Disabled Journalists Have to Fight to Get in the Newsroom (October, Canada Land)
Data and Research
The Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (DRG) is recruiting regional fellows from organizations of persons with disabilities (deadline 4 December, IDA)
UNICEF launched a Centre of Excellence on Data for Children with Disabilities (October)
Disability Data Collection in a Complex Humanitarian Organisation - evaluation of World Food Programme (September, Environmental Research and Public Health). Reflections on the challenges and limitations of disaggregating data by disability in a large organization - the article raises some critical points but it seems to come down to data not being enough by itself.
Research Methods and Practices of Doing Disability Studies in the Global South "The global perspective to disability simultaneously teaches us the global structures of inequalities beyond country borders." (July, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)
Interrogating and Reflecting on Disability Prevalence Data Collected Using the Washington Group Tools: Results from Population-Based Surveys in Cameroon, Guatemala, India, Maldives, Nepal, Turkey and Vanuatu (August, Environmental Research and Public Health)
Facilitating the inclusion of adults with intellectual disability as direct respondents in research: Strategies for fostering trust, respect, accessibility and engagement (September, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities)
Direct participation of people with communication disabilities in research on poverty and disabilities in low and middle income countries: A critical review. (October, Plos One)
Persons with disabilities and data inclusion (July, International Civil Society Centre)
Disability among Older People: Analysis of Data from Disability Surveys in Six Low- and Middle-Income Countries (June, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health)
Protocol for an upcoming review on effectiveness of interventions for improving social inclusion outcomes for people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries (July, Campbell Systematic Reviews) See also a protocol to review effectiveness of interventions for improving livelihood outcomes.
What does disability bring to sociology? "This paper makes a case for sociologists to centralise disability in their work." (Human Figurations)
In Argentina, Syndrome of Numbers: "Help us create the first dynamic database of persons with down syndrome (in Spanish, ASDRA)
In Australia, Census 2021 breaks ground on accessibility (August, Innovation Aus)
In Kenya, No more pushing us back! Towards Better Data By and For People with Disabilities in Kenya (ICSC)
In India, Clarity on timeline for digital census of people with disabilities missing (August, Outlook)
In Tanzania, Disability status and multi-dimensional personal well-being among adolescents in the Southern Highlands Region of Tanzania: results of a cross-sectional study (May, BMJ Open)
In Pakistan, Persons with disabilities in Pakistan (October, Business Recorder)
In Singapore, Provision of disability-related data in national census a step towards inclusivity census using Washington Group questions finds nearly 100,000 persons with disabilities (June, Channel News Asia)
In the United States, The Census Bureau and Disability Data (July, RespectAbility Report)
Digital Accessibility and Technology
Microsoft's Accessibility Team has a training on Digital Accessibility for the Modern Workplace on Linkedin.
G3ICT has a scholarship fund open for persons with disabilities to get certified as accessibility professionals.
94% of the Largest E-Commerce Sites Are Not Accessibility Compliant Most frequent access compliance issues are with images and links (June, Baymard Institute)
Zoom Auto-Generated Captions Available to All Free Users (October)
What Can Tech Learn from Crip Futurity? "Guiding the Tech Future with Disability Wisdom" (July, Society for Cultural Anthropology)
Technology can’t solve the problems ableism creates (October, Stanford Daily)
Vox Media has built a visual way to experience podcasts. "It’s accessible to deaf audiences — and gorgeous." (October, Nieman Lab)
In Australia, an ICT Tender Tool launched by an Accessible Procurement Taskforce (July, AND)
Accessible Virtual Reality: Advice from a Deaf Person on How to Make It Better (September, Equal Entry)
Virtual Reality in the Dark: VR Development for People Who Are Blind | Accessibility VR Meetup Recap (Equal Entry)
On Twitter, a thread of accessibility bots (June, @Tinu)
Black Deaf Creators Are Pushing For Inclusivity Through TikTok Videos (September, Teen Vogue)
Disaster Risk Reduction and crisis response
From earlier in the year, see the feature issue on crisis management for people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities (Spring 2021, Institute on Community Integration) I enjoyed Building a Firm Foundation the story of how the 2010 earthquake in Chile led Carlos Kaiser to create ONG Inclusiva, which works on these issues:
“It was impossible to stand, impossible to even move your body. It was in this moment that the idea for ONG Inclusiva was conceived. I wanted to help.”
When Disasters Strike, people with disabilities must not be left behind (September, Prevention Web)
In Canada, Canada: Disastrous Impact of Extreme Heat Failure to Protect Older People, People with Disabilities in British Columbia (October, HRW)
In Haiti, Statement on the Situation in Haiti (IDA)
In Germany, Floods kill 12 residents of assisted living home (July, Independent)
In Indonesia, Is localisation the key to making disaster preparedness more inclusive? "This blog explores Yakkum Emergency Unit’s work to improve inclusion in disaster management in Indonesia, particularly for people with disabilities and older people" (August, Community-led Innovation Partnership)
In the United States, ‘We Didn’t Have a Plan’: Disabled People Struggle to Evacuate From Wildfires (September, New York Times)
Education and childhood
Disability Evidence Portal brief on What works to support girls with disabilities reaching and staying in school? (September)
From the World Bank:
- Pivoting to Inclusion Leveraging Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis for Learners with Disabilities (July)
- Learners with Disabilities and COVID-19 School Closures Findings from a Global Survey Conducted by the World Bank’s Inclusive Education Initiative (September)
UNICEF has a Resources Catalogue for teaching and learning resources for professionals and parents working with children with disabilities (link to pdf)
- Policy brief on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the education of persons with disabilities: challenges and opportunities of distance education. It suggests the development of a “UN Global Initiative for e-Inclusion of Students with Disabilities”.
- Violence and bullying in educational settings: the experience of children and young people with disabilities. Children with disabilities in different countries 2 to 4 times more likely to be bullied than peers without disabilities.
From DCDD a Quick Guide: Towards Disability Inclusive Education (November)
See the Inclusive Education Initiative September Newsletter.
USAID brief summarizing USAID investment " in ensuring children and youth with disabilities gain access to quality, inclusive education" (September, USAID)
Inclusive Practices: Collaborating with People Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (May, Chemonics International)
Learning from the Multi-Country Study on Inclusive Education (July, Purdue University and USAID) From reviews based on Cambodia, Malawi, and Nepal:
“Common challenges and gaps across the three countries profiled include education systems that depend heavily on segregated classroom placements; unreliable disability prevalence data and scarce reporting on student learning outcomes for children with disabilities; insufficient teacher training, resource provision, or specialist supports to match the need of all students; limited to no support for children with learning, intellectual, or “severe” disabilities; and large quantities of out-of-school children with disabilities.”
- Inclusive Education is at Risk in Brazil "Repeal New Segregated Education Policy for People with Disabilities " (August, HRW)
- A mirror and musical alarm: how a regular school includes students with disabilities (in Portuguese, August, Folha de São Paulo)
In Eastern and Southern Africa, Guide on Access to Education for Children with Disabilities in the Pandemic Context (July, UNICEF)
In Jordan, ‘I Wish Someone Would Ask Me Questions’: The Unheard Voices of Adolescents with Disabilities in Jordan (September, European Journal of Development Research volume)
In India, How online education worked in favour of people with disabilities (October, The Week)
In Mali, Sightsavers Pushes for Inclusive Education (August, Borgen Magazine)
- Nigerian Civil Societies Demand Quality Education For Girls With Disabilities (August, Sahara Reporters)
- Documentary on The Blind Mathematician "A blind teacher teaching deaf students" (on youtube, October, Plus TV Africa)
In Pakistan, The myth of educational inclusivity (October, Pakistan Today)
In Senegal, a Study of Incidence of Disability Among Early Grade Learners in Senegal (link to PDF, July, USAID)
In Tanzania, Removing Barriers to Inclusive Education for Tanzania’s Deaf Learners (November, IEI)
In the United States, Massachusetts school wins court battle to use electric shock therapy on self-harming disabled students this has been called 'torture' by a UN expert and disability organizations (July, Yahoo!News) See reaction in To stop a controversial electric shock therapy, the disability community is owed better alternatives (August, Boston Globe)
Academia’s ableist culture laid bare (October, Nature)
Employment, business and work
The UN Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has a consultation on a draft of its General Comment on the Right to Work I've been honoured to provide some technical support to this process (OHCHR, feedback by 6 December)
The ILO GBDN is hosting Business Opportunities in Asia and the Pacific, register for online participation (23 and 24 November)
The Harkin Summit in Belfast in June 2022 is calling for expressions of interest (closes 19 Nov)
Report by G3ICT and Steelcase, Creating the Inclusive workplace of the future based on a global survey (Insightful Environments)
Make It Safe for Employees to Disclose Their Disabilities I appreciated that "The Space to Be Creative" was one of the guidelines. (June, Harvard Business Review)
More Companies Are Looking to Hire Accessibility Specialists (September, WSJ)
How our Accessibility Centres are helping Accenture accelerate a culture of equality (September, Accenture)
In Bangladesh, Labour Market Assessment – Bangladesh 2021 Refresh, argues for more focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (link to pdf, Inclusive Futures)
In Brazil, Inclusion: What is it, how, and why to do it? (in Portuguese, October, ILO) Tracks an increase in labor force participation of persons with disabilities from 2008 to 2018.
- Our workplaces don’t work for people with disabilities (September, The Varsity)
- A penny a poppy commemoration poppies made in workshops (November, Briar Patch)
- Government invests in training for persons with disabilities to create a more inclusive workforce and stronger economy. Including through establishing standardized profession of 'accessibility professionals' (August, Cision)
In Europe, Proposals for amendments to the Pay Transparency Directive asking for an intersectional approach to apply the principle of equal pay for work of equal value (EDF, June)
- An Expiry Date Against Treating the Disabled Unfairly Supreme Court offers a blueprint for dignity at the workspace for the disabled (August, VIDHI)
- Nixing 4% quota for specially-abled in police force is grave injustice (August, ETV Bharat)
In Ireland, Disability, Work and Inclusion in Ireland "Engaging and Supporting Employers " (OECD)
In Japan, Tokyo robot cafe offers new spin on disability inclusion (persons with disabilities control robots from home) (August, France24)
In Philippines, Moving towards disability-inclusive recovery in employment and livelihood in the time of COVID-19 a study from the Business and Disability Network (October, GBDN)
In Uganda, Labour Market Assessment 2021 Refresh: 95% of employees were let go over lockdown. “However, though most layoffs were largely temporary" Also argues for more attention to small- and medium-sized enterprises (link to pdf, Inclusive Futures)
In the United Kingdom, a new Disability Employment Charter, a multi-stakeholder initiative making specific requests of government to improve employment opportunities.
In the United States,
- America's Recovery: Labor Market Characteristics of People with a Disability spotlight on statistics (October, Bureau of Labour Statistics)
- 2021 Best Places to Work Disability Equality Index rates companies with their "benchmarking tool for disability inclusion" (Disability:IN)
- When Is Covid a Disability? Courts Tackle Issue in Bias Cases (September, Bloomberg law)
In the United States, US to erase student loan debt for borrowers with severe disabilities (August, Guardian)
Global Disability Summit
The Global Disability Summit is coming in February 2022, hosted by IDA and Norway. It will be mainly online.
In Europe, a European Regional Disability Summit will precede the global event (EDF)
Sightsavers have launched a campaign to Take urgent action for disability rights with a petition ahead of the summit.
Social health protection to improve access to health care for people with disabilities (August, Bulletin WHO)
In Europe, World Patient Safety Day 2021: Patients with disabilities seeking cross border healthcare continue to face difficulties (September, EDF)
In Ghana, Health facilities urged to expand disability inclusion (October, Ghana Web)
In South Africa, Access to healthcare for people with disabilities in South Africa: Bad at any time, worse during COVID-19? (July, S Afr Fam Pract)
In the United Kingdom, ‘We’re a rare breed’ the challenges facing a disabled doctor embarking on a medical career. "After my injury, it took me a good while to truly believe that I still belonged in this profession." (August, GMC UK)
In the United States, Disabled Doctors Were Called Too ‘Weak’ To Be In Medicine. It’s Hurting The Entire System. (July, Huffington Post)
History and Memorial
In Australia, a report on the history of disabled people, from the formation of the nation to present day: Disability in Australia: Shadows, struggles and successes (November, Royal Commission)
In Belgium, Remembering François Carbonez [1984 – 2021] (LFTW)
Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
In Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Tanzania, lessons learned about including people with disabilities in humanitarian aid (link to pdf, September, Inclusive Futures)
From DCDD, a quick guide on Towards Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (link to pdf, August)
In Latin America, Disability and Human Mobility a regional study (in Spanish, UNHCR)
In Sudan, Tigray Refugees with Disabilities in Eastern Sudan Camps (IDA)
In Syria, People With Disabilities Are Syrian War’s Most Deprived, Excluded, And Vulnerable (July, Billion Strong)
Institutions and Deinstitutionalisation
A Call to action to "protect the right to family life and prevent institutionalization for all children" from IDA and others (August, IDA)
In Canada, Quebec abandons pilot project to take adults with disabilities out of CHSLDs — and blames key advocate (July, CBC)
In the United States, Seniors and People with Disabilities Want to Live in Our Homes, Not Nursing Homes. Will Congress Let Us? new campaign from ACLU (September)
Disability Evidence Portal brief on core principles to consider in policies and programmes related to persons with disabilities in LMICs (July)
Fund tracker of global foundation grantmaking has a useful summary of foundation funding on disability. In 2018, Comic Relief was top - who knew?
- Reversing the trend: The time is now to fund disability rights (November, HRFN)
The United Nations, as part of implementing their Disability Inclusion Strategy:
[While] more resources are being invested in disability inclusion than in the past, reporting continues to highlight the need for entities and country teams to dedicate further human and financial resources, particularly in the areas of accessibility, reasonable accommodation and staff capacity development. These needs were magnified by the strain placed across the system by the pandemic response.
- A series of webinars on Becoming employers of choice for people with disabilities: Challenges and opportunities for global intergovernmental organizations.
Congratulations to colleagues and friends at ILO for adoption of the Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy 2020-23 (September). See also a blog from one of these friend-colleagues on Leave No One Behind: The "Why" and "How" of disability mainstreaming in Development Cooperation projects (Jürgen Menze, October)
A new collaboration between CBM and WFP World Food Programme’s Disability-Inclusive Path to Zero Hunger (October, CBM)
The UN Youth Envoy has made a Call to Action (link to pdf) for Meaningful Participation of Young Persons with Disabilities, for participation in the disabiliyt and youth agendas in the UN.
Bridging the gap project finalized with reports on capitalization of experiences, inclusive social protection, and inclusive education (links to pdfs).
CBM Global Inclusion Advisory Group develops Accessible Meetings Toolkit (July)
Able Child Africa discussion on disability inclusion in safeguarding (August, Safeguarding Support Hub)
The International Disability And Development Consortium (IDDC) Annual Activity Report 2020/2021 (July)
In Europe, External evaluation of our work in international cooperation 'influence on the EU has largely increased ' (July, EDF)
In Lao PDR, Efforts of UNDP to Make its Workplace Disability-Inclusive.
In Switzerland, a Fact Sheet on Disability Inclusive Development "Its current policies, capacities and processes do not place a strong emphasis on disability, and engagement with organisations of persons with disabilities is very limited." (CBM Swiss)
Justice systems and Legal Capacity
In Colombia, Legal guide to access legal capacity (link to pdf in Spanish, UCNC)
In Singapore, Halt Execution of Man with Intellectual Disability (November, Human Rights Watch)
In the United Kingdom, A “staggeringly high” number of autistic people are referred to the government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent programme (July, Guardian)
Lived Experience and Opinion
In Finland, Narrowed Lives "What is day-to-day life like for people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities who live in group homes?" (open access, Stockholm University Press)
In India, The Vicious Ability of Ableism: What do you do when you’re explicitly told that you’re unlovable, over and over again? (July, Agents of Ishq)
From Norway and beyond, from Jan Grue:
- The high cost of living in a disabling world (November, Guardian) “I’ve had it with the pieties of neoliberal inclusionism.”
- I Live a Life Like Yours “An exquisitely written memoir of a life lived with disability” (Macmillian)
In the United Kingdom, ‘Never apologise for being you’: disabled celebrities’ letters to their teenage selves (July, Guardian):
Do not get the pink wheelchair. You won’t be able to afford a new one until you’re 17 and no one wants to go to sixth form looking like Barbie on acid.
In the United States,
- Emily Ladau: Disability is Part of the Human Experience (September, Meteor) See also Emily Ladau's new book, Demystifying Disability.
- Voices of Disabilities "Our real stories" series (Refinery29)
Disability Evidence Portal brief on What works to improve mental health for parents of children with disabilities? (September)
Reimagining Crisis Support, a new book that "aims to shift the conversation about personal crisis from one based in mental health discourse to one based in a social model of disability and human rights." (available online)
In Australia, Right to Information for People with Intellectual Disability in Australian Mental Health Policy (October, Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities)
In Europe, EDF's Disability Voice newsletter focusses on mental health in its October edition.
Mobility and Transport
In India, Sudhaa Chandran being made to take off prosthetic leg during airport security checks is no new, isolated incident (October, First Post)
In Nigeria, Nigerians living with disabilities tell tales of anguish accessing public transportation (September, Punch)
In the United Kingdom, Equal Pavements Pledge addressing worries that the 'new normal' will be inaccessible. '#PaveTheWay and ensure our streets are accessible to everyone.' (July, Transport for All)
In the United States,
- Why We Can’t Afford to Ignore the Needs of Non-Drivers With Disabilities (August, Streetsblog USA)
- Disability Activist Engracia Figueroa Dies After United Airlines Destroys Her Custom Wheelchair (November, Yahoo)
Policy and rights
The Special Rapporteur has shared a report on rights of persons with disabilities in conflicts and war see also an easy-to-read version (July)
Disability, Human Rights Violations, and Crimes against Humanity arguing that human rights violations against persons with disabilities should be treated by international legal system as crimes against humanity (August, American Journal of International Law)
A Manual on Getting governments to spend for inclusion of all persons with disabilities Budget advocacy based on experience in Asia Pacific, including guidelines for CRPD-compliant budgeting. (August, IDA)
Government ownership is critical for disability inclusion in developing countries (September, CIP)
In Bangladesh, Disabled development stunted by tussle of two organisations (August, Prothom Alo)
In Europe, EDF and IDA welcome decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the Oviedo Convention and call States to #WithdrawOviedo (September, IDA)
In Japan, Action Research on Meaning-Making at Residents' Meetings for Local Disability Policy (August, Japanese Psychological Research)
In Kenya, How much do counties in Kenya invest in disability inclusion? "In all counties reviewed, there is a critical resource gap in the disability sector" (link to pdf, June, Inclusive Futures)
In New Zealand, reaction to formation of a Ministry for Disabled People: 'Really good start' but there are omissions (November, RNZ)
In Peru, Peruvian Advocate for People with Disabilities Honored (September, Human Rights Watch)
In the United Kingdom,
- Disabled councillors blocked from accessibility vote — because they are disabled (July, iNews)
- Critics give mixed response to ministers' £1.6bn disability strategy (July, BBC)
Politics and Elections
ECHR v. UNCRPD: ending restrictions on voting rights of persons with disabilities (link to pdf, September)
In Canada, How accessible is voting for people with disabilities? (September, CBC News)
In India, Marked rise in registered voters with disabilities; EC to make upcoming state polls more 'accessible' (September, Times of India)
In Iraq, All Eligible Iraqis Should Be Able to Vote! People with Disabilities Must be Included (HRW)
In Malawi, Malawian campaigner makes history as country’s first elected MP with albinism (November, Guardian)
In the United States,
- The Era of Easier Voting for Disabled People Is Over "when you reduce access for voters of color, voters with disabilities are shut out too" (August, The Atlantic)
- Biden can be the best president on disability rights or be bipartisan, not both (July, Independent)
Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
In Nepal, For queer people with disabilities, the path to acceptance is more arduous (September, Kathmandu Post)
In the United Kingdom, a new Queer Disability Studies network and blog.
From the United States, Focusing on the woman, not just the disability, could improve reproductive care creating patient-reported outcome measures (July, Michigan Medicine)
A nice evidence digest from the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk. Keep that up and I won't need to do this newsletter so much :)
- Education Digest.Also in an easy-to-read version. (Links to pdf, July)).
- Engaging with Organisations of People with Disabilities (link to pdf, September)
- Climate Change and Disability Inclusion (October)
Disability Evidence Portal is calling for contributions to a global repository of evidence on disability from people in low- and middle-income countries.
The International Centre for Evidence in Disability has a resource page on COVID-19 Research for both UK and global research.
From UNICEF, in Eastern and Southern Africa, guidance on Sign Language for Deaf Children’s Education and its Use in Accessible Digital Teaching & Learning Materials (September)
Creation of sign language storybooks expands world of reading and storytime to deaf children and their families (September, All Children Reading)
Sign Language Is Key to Real Inclusion Governments Should Make Information Accessible to All (September, HRW)
In South Africa, Poet fights for the right of deaf people to be heard Official recognition of SA Sign Language paramount (September, Sowetan Live)
Social Protection and costs of disability
The CIP discussion question in November is how data can be used to address the gap in accessible affordable housing?
The Handbook on Social Protection Systems has a chapter on disability inclusion and social protection by friend of the newsletter Alexandre Côte (August, Elgar Online):
Making social protection systems inclusive requires first understanding the diversity of persons with disabilities, the inequalities and barriers they face and the support they require. Second, delivery mechanisms must be fully accessible. Finally, it requires investments in a blend of cash transfers, in-kind support, including services.
The ILO World Social Protection Report 2020-22 includes a section on social protection for persons with disabilities (September) “The share of people with severe
disabilities worldwide who receive a disability benefit remains low at 33.5 per cent. Importantly, several countries now have universal disability benefit programmes in
In India, Have we progressed? A monitoring report of the social protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic for persons with disabilities in India (link to pdf, August, CIP)
In Nepal and Vietnam, Does disability increase the risk of poverty ‘in all its forms’? Comparing monetary and multidimensional poverty in Vietnam and Nepal (October, Oxford Development Studies)
In the United States,
- The Extra Costs Associated With Living With a Disability in the United States "The Extra Costs Associated With Living With a Disability in the United States [...] to obtain the same standard of living as a comparable household without a member with a disability." (September, Journal of Disability Policy Studies)
- How Ableist Federal Laws Allow Discrimination Against The Disabled Community "Disabled people can be paid less and forced into poverty. " (July, Refinery29)
Why We Need Astronauts With Disabilities "Specific concerns over space travel's affects on the human body are something many people with disabilities don’t have to worry about." (September, Gizmodo)
Sport and Paralympics
WeThe15, Leveraging Sport to Advance Disability Rights and Sustainable Development (October, Critical Junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion)
The Weird and Wonderful Tokyo Paralympics behind the scenes look with five athletes (November, New Mobility)
Why This Paralympic Athlete Is Calling for Inclusive Girls' Education in Malawi “I want to be a champion and an example for other girls with disabilities,” (August, Global Citizen)
Why businesses should back Paralympians "As Malawi’s first Paralympian, I struggled to get funding from private businesses." (August, Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Refugee athletes blaze a trail for disability inclusion through sport (August, UNHCHR)
The Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020 can be the catalyst for change in how we view life with disability (September, ABC News)
In Canada, Grappling with Ableism in the Para-Sport Movement (August, Rooted in Rights)
In China, Paralympic medals reflect human rights success some bold statements in this article, including that "people with disabilities enjoy all basic rights " (October, China Daily)
In the United Kingdom, Ali Jawad: ‘Paralympians are forgotten about until the next Games’ (October, Guardian)
Violence and Harassment
Gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities: on the various forms of violence against women and girls with disabilities (June, Foundation for European Progressive Studies)
In New Zealand, Lena Zhang Harrap, bone-deep grief, and disabled lives "We should be able to be disabled, we should be able to be human and not die. " (September, The Spin Off)
In the United States, California once forcibly sterilized people by the thousands. Now the victims may get reparations. (July, Washington Post)
Water and Sanitation (WASH)
Not sure if I'd seen this: Resource Page on Disability-Inclusive WASH (IDA).
In Bangladesh and Cambodia, Translating disability inclusive WASH policies into practice a project by WaterAid and LSHTM.
In Nepal, Are water, sanitation and hygiene and menstrual hygiene policies and supporting documents inclusive of disability? "there are consistent gaps in attention to disability and Menstrual Hygiene Management in policies and practice" (July, International Journal for Equity in Health)
In Vanuatu, “I'm scared to talk about it”: exploring experiences of incontinence for people with and without disabilities in Vanuatu (September, Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific)
Women and girls with disabilities
Still Living the Edges: A Disabled Women’s Reader. Featuring women's voices from around the world. (September, Inanna)
Updated guidance note on Family Planning for Women and Girls with Disabilities (link to pdf, April, Disability Inclusion Helpdesk)
The Gender Equality Agenda Must Be Inclusive of Women with Disabilities (October, Women Enabled International)
At the World Blind Summit, Ghanaian disability activist wins first ever ‘Women’s Empowerment Award’ July, (Modern Ghana).
The source for news here is all of you sharing disability news, especially those sharing on twitter. Thanks to everyone for spreading the word about what's going on, and to people who send me links directly.
These newsletters are produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Any opinions or mistakes are mine. Many thanks for Center for Inclusive Policy's support to this edition.
Thank you (and well done) for getting here and until next time - stay tuned for an interview on disability and data,