More like persecution than support

Protests in Poland, ways to cheat inclusion, and news from over 50 countries.

Hello Debriefers,

This edition curates news on disability from over 50 countries. It highlights the protests in Poland, elections in Nigeria, and ways to cheat inclusion.

The latest research and resources include the situation of disabled people after one year of war in Ukraine and ways our sector is rethinking care and support.

We will carry on remembering Judy Heumann for some time. There will be more in future editions, and in the meantime you can catch-up with her memorial, full of love and laughter. In her honour, we start with news about occupation of a government building.

This edition was produced with backing from Sightsavers and Center for Inclusive Policy. Thanks to new contributions from Chris, Claire, Lucy, “K-Dawg”, Phil and Youmna. Join them to help us cover disability news.

More like persecution than support

From Poland, news that reminds us of Judy's legacies: disabled people are staging a sit-in protest demanding an increase in benefits for adults, which are currently less than the minimum wage. The situation is made even worse by “record inflation and the cost of living crisis”.

Economic challenges As I explored in relation to Bangladesh, economic downturn can puts the progress we've made at risk. Reports on the costs disabled people face in Turkey shows the expenses putting people's health and wellbeing at risk. In the UK, disabled people are among the hardest hit by the cost of living crisis, leaving us more likely to cut back on heating and food.

More like a persecution. Other news on benefits in Poland says that the procedure for getting a carer's benefit “sounds more like a description of persecution than an example of supporting citizens in a difficult situation.”

Inclusion, but cheating

Do you want to deploy security forces to public spaces, but make it look friendly? Follow Mexico City's example by responding to accusations of militarisation through “cripwashing”. Just share some photos of them helping disabled people up stairs.

Do you need to fill an employment quota, but you don't like hiring disabled people? Follow the example of companies in Japan who comply with quotas through proxy agencies “hiring them to work for unrelated farming projects”. Around 5,000 disabled people have been placed in 85 farms through this tactic, “with the produce often distributed to company employees instead of being sold”.

WTF of the month

“I later found out she was routinely put in a dark bathroom” There's news from Texas about parents finding out their children were restrained at school from their visible injuries and camera footage. It doesn't enter the running given last time's WTF winner was a US school arresting its pupils.

Cut off at the STEM. This month's runner up: I was appalled to find that in India, many students with visual impairments are prevented from studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. It's unclear how widely this applies, but it could be for a majority of visually impaired students from grade 8. It is phrased as an “exemption”, as if limiting young people's life chances was doing them a favour.

Five francs. Five francs barely gets a soft drink in Switzerland, but it does get this month's WTF. A contract of a disabled teenager in a sheltered workshop was leaked on social media, showing that was his monthly salary. The director of the workshop defends this by asking how they can pay their “beneficiaries”? They have to pay their staff first, and also, the “beneficiaries” already receive a state benefit. For its part the State has declared the teenager can “almost totally” work and gives a minuscule benefit.

Earthquakes and elections

In Bangladesh, school enrolment of children with disabilities is worse than I thought: 60% of those aged 5-17 are not in school.

In China, experiences of disabled youth during the wave of Omicron infections.

In Nigeria, there were high hopes for its most competitive general elections since the end of military rule. There was disappointingly low turnout and this first-person description documents the experience of going to vote with a disability (see also a series of photos by the author).

There were some initiatives to help disabled people vote in the election but, among other things, braille ballots were missing. Challenges to vote reflect wider challenges to political participation. Last year for example, one disabled person won a state election and he “was substituted for the second runner-up because I am a physically challenged person”.

In Turkey and Syria, the earthquake saw over 50,000 casualties, mostly in Turkey. There's little information about how disabled people were affected by this, although this expression of solidarity gives some context, and in Turkey local activists are working to create a network of disabled citizens affected. Humanity and Inclusion and Age International made appeals to support their teams or partners in the region.

Annoying or impressive?

Maybe artificial intelligence can help with accessibility, although hype about automated web accessibility provokes automatic scepticism from me. AI-powered audiobooks, however, might be good for accessibility: “sometimes annoying, but mostly impressive.” And, as the article points out, bad for human voice actors.

The problem is the humans. New Artificial Intelligence chatbots have already been used for mental health counselling, without the consent or knowledge of the people receiving it.

Rescued by robots? Japan's experiments in using robots in care for older persons have, so far, shown that they “tend to end up creating more work for caregivers.”

Everything created was destroyed

A year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the situation of disabled people is documented through the voices of disabled people and their families. Inclusion Europe's updates from supporting people with intellectual disabilities and their families is that “everything created was destroyed”.

Reports with further information:

Reflections on the international community's response include around sustainability and decolonizing disability.

Reports for rethinking

The disability sector is rethinking services and care. Two recent reports take debate forward:

  • Gerard Quinn, UN Special Rapporteur, wrote on transformation of services for persons with disabilities, “a framework to rethink these services with personhood, autonomy and human rights at their center.” See selected highlights.
  • OHCHR, a UN agency, explores support systems to ensure community inclusion, placing disability in wider debates around care.

“A new international embrace of human rights” Somehow Human Rights' Watch 2023 report picks out a positive message from the range of crises the world is in. There are many references to disability in each of the country profiles.

Practicing what we preach, or at the very least making a policy about what we preach. UNICEF, perhaps the UN agency that has done the most substantial internal work on disability, launches its Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy. See notes on how this is intended as a model for disability-inclusive policy.

Inclusion, but captivating

This section has links to videos without image descriptions, sorry.

Shine bright like a diamond. The Super Bowl in the US saw a magnificent interpretation of Rihanna's music into American Sign Language (here's a video). See a side-by-side comparison of interpretation into Brazilian sign-language. There were three sign-language performers, but they were given limited air-time on the broadcast.

“Am I ugly?” a short joyful video of animal figures acting out inclusive friendships, in turns insightful, lighthearted and quite the twist at the end.

Discussions to go deeper

“Ableism has been used for generations to degrade, oppress, control” a vital conversation exploring how ableism structures our societies and is the frame for many forms of oppression.

The global struggle for women’s rights. A conversation on my new favourite podcast Strength and Solidarity, explores tensions on the frontlines of the global feminist movement. Important lessons for us in the disability movements about how rights frameworks don't always work the way you think they will.

Freedom to fly

Movements on airline accessibility are being consolidated in guidance on accessibility from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Health check-up. If you didn't see it, catch our feature on healthcare. There are recommendations for the US's National Institutes of Health to promote disability inclusion and anti-ableism. There is a deep, complicated, look at the complicated dynamics of a “disability rights movement in autism research”. In India, insurers deny or exclude people with intellectual disabilities from health insurance.

“Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.” Elon Musk got into a public twitter fight with Haraldur Thorleifsson. Haraldur, known as Halli, seems a cool guy who uses a wheelchair and has a side-project of building ramps across Iceland. The definitive take comes from satirists at Squeaky Wheel.

Thanks to Joanna for keeping me up to date on news from Poland. If you see disability news I should know about from countries I don't cover so often, let me know! Press reply, leave a comment, or find me elsewhere.



Curated News


Accessibility and Design

Back to contents.

In Colombia, Meet The Blind Birder Reimagining Accessibility In The Outdoors (Jan, Science Friday)

In Iceland, Access all areas: Meet the man building a thousand wheelchair ramps. (Feb, Euronews)

In India, Disability rights activist and doctor highlights unusable infrastructure in public places – “ramps made at many public properties are poorly made or inaccessible for disabled people.” (Jan, Indian Express)


Back to contents.

In International News:

Still Kicking a “workshop is designed to inform the emerging conversation around the intersection of ageism and ableism”. (Dec, Old School)

In the United States, Ageist? Ableist? Who, Me? “Think what older people could learn from them about asking for help, adapting to impairment, and age pride! Think what younger people with disabilities could learn from olders about moving through life. Think how we’d all benefit if hearing and mobility aids were stripped of stigma. Let’s get interdependent!” (Jan, Generations)

Assistive Technology

Back to contents.

In International News:

HearX hearing care by community health workers using digital technologies. (Feb, AT2030)

AT Venture Fund Playbook “This playbook was designed to help current and future fund operators and ventures learn from the work of the Assistive Technology Impact Fund (ATIF). It aims to share lessons from launching a fund in a nascent sector and working with a small portfolio of assistive technology ventures.” (Jan, AT Impact Fund)

In Kenya, Self-taught Kenyan cousins invent bio-robotic prosthetic limbs. (Jan, Mail&Guardian)

In the United States, A Bride’s Prosthesis Made Not to Blend In, but to Shine. (Jan, New York Times)


Back to contents.


In International News:

An issue of Social Inclusion journal dedicated to Disability and Lessons from the Pandemic. (Jan, Social Inclusion)

In China,

In Iceland, Risky Obliviousness Within Fragmented Services: Experiences of Families With Disabled Children During the Covid-19 Pandemic:

“During the pandemic, the gaps in the already fragmented services widened, and the families were left to navigate this new reality on their own. Preventive measures enforced by municipalities and healthcare services centred on non-disabled people’s experiences and needs. Unprepared service systems distanced themselves from the families while maintaining governance and supervision over defining their need for support.” (Jan, Social Inclusion)


In the United States, What to Do if You Have COVID A guide for preparing for illness, preventing spread to others, managing symptoms, and recovery (Jan, People's CDC)

Civil Society and Community

Back to contents.

In International News:

Centering the Voices of Disabled Youth Activists (Jan, Women Enabled)

In India, In Bihar, People with disabilities launch ‘satyagraha’ “Thousands of people with disabilities from all the 38 districts of the state have launched an indefinite protest at Gandhi Maidan in support of their 46-point demands for their rights and welfare.”

In Poland, Disabled people begin protest in Polish parliament seeking rise in benefits to level of minimum wage. (Mar, Notes from Poland)

In Sierra Leone, Integrating Disability Justice into Girl-Centered programming. (We are Purposeful)

In South Korea,

In Spain, Greens call Spain prohibit ableist show of persons with dwarfism (Jan, Katrin Langensiepen, MdEP)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States, Autism research at the crossroads “The power struggle between researchers, autistic self-advocates and parents is threatening progress across the field.” (Jan, Spectrum)

Climate Crisis and Environment

Back to contents.


In International News:

The role of the scientific community in strengthening disability-inclusive climate resilience. “We discuss how the scientific community could advance and hasten the development of disability-inclusive climate resilience, and which areas should be prioritized.” (Jan, Nature Climate Change) See also a blog summarising the comment (HPOD).

In Australia, Eco-ableism? Banning Straws’ Impact on Disabled People. “This month, Victoria became the latest Australian state to ban single-use plastics, including straws. While this is a win for the environment and marine life, it will come at a price for social inclusion.” (Feb, Mirage)

In the United States, Climate change efforts won’t work if they exclude people with disabilities. “Ultimately, disability-inclusive approaches to climate action increase the safety, flexibility and accessibility of climate solutions for society as a whole.” (Jan, Spokesman-Review)

COP 27

In International News:

Why is disability still waiting for real progress on inclusive climate action? 5 takeaways from COP27. (Jan, Bond)

Communication and Language

Back to contents.


In Nigeria, Book Famine: How policies in Nigeria limit visually impaired persons’ access to books. (Jan, Premium Times)

In South Africa, Ending the book famine: Copyright guide launched for blind and visually impaired. (Jan, Gadget)

Sign Languages

In Pakistan, Broadcast media to have sign language interpreters (Dec, The News)

In the United States,


In International News:

World Blind Union calls for increased access to braille on World Braille Day. “Despite obligations arising from international and national law, we know many blind people lack access to braille itself, to appropriate training in braille, and to technologies that facilitate the use of braille”. (Jan, World Blind Union)

Governments urged to increase access to braille (Jan, 1News)

In Brazil, Braille: accessibility improves in Brazil, but still needs to advance. Almost one in four blind Brazilians are illiterate. (Jan, Agência Brasil)

In Europe, A new video on the importance of Braille. (Jan, European Blind Union)

In Kenya, Feature on the Kenya Institute of Special Education's work on Braille. (Jan, Star)

In Turkey, January 4 World Braille Day photoessay on braille in Turkey and around the world. (In Turkish, Jan, TRT Haber)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

Back to contents.


In International News:

On (Not) Discovering Disability in the World of Jane Austen. “Disabled characters are present in Austen’s novels, but largely invisible in her cinematic remakes” (Jan)

Nurse! My pen! Hanif Kureishi’s hospital musings and the art of sickbed writing. (Jan, the Guardian)

Am I ugly? a super-cute video of small figures getting around accessibility, assistive tech and stigma. (No visual description, Jan, Sylvanian Drama, TikTok)

In Australia, Revamped national cultural policy includes a national arts and disability plan. (Jan, NME)

In the United States, A review of the book 'Turn on the Words!: Deaf Audiences, Captions, and the Long Struggle for Access' (Jan, H-Net)

TV and Film

In India,

  • Making Cinema Accessible To Everyone “The Delhi High Court on January 16, directed the producers of the upcoming movie ‘Pathaan’ (Yash Raj Films), to make the movie accessible for hearing and visually-impaired persons.” (Jan, Live Law)
  • Disability and Poverty in Dosti 1964 the story of a friendship between two disabled boys. (Feb, Neurodivergent India, instagram)

In Mexico, Disability has a minimum presence on Mexican television: to marginalize is to discriminate. (In Spanish, Jan, Yo También.)

In Netherlands, Never Seen “is a documentary produced by Naima Abdullahi that offers us a glimpse into the life of Nimco Hersi and shows how she navigates Dutch society as a Black deaf woman” (Jan, Casco Art)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,


In International News:

Disability Debrief: A disability lens on world news. A vision that grounds the news in our lived experiences. (Feb, Disability Debrief)

In the United Kingdom, Disability in Advertising: Is Representation Finally Improving? (Feb, Just Copy)

Data and Research

Back to contents.


In International News:

Counting children with disabilities starts with changing minds. (Dec, UNICEF)

In the United Kingdom, Fall in disabled older people in census data ‘could be due to pandemic’, or the change in wording of the census question. (Feb, The Independent) More young people declared disability in the census after inclusion of mental health in the question about disability.

In the United States, Prevalence of disabilities among older Americans is much lower than a decade earlier (Feb, News Medical Life Sciences)


In International News:

Crip Genealogies “The contributors to Crip Genealogies reorient the field of disability studies by centering the work of transnational feminism, queer of color critique, and trans scholarship and activism. They challenge the white, Western, and Northern rights-based genealogy of disability studies, showing how a single coherent narrative of the field is a mode of exclusion that relies on logics of whiteness and imperialism.” (Mar, Duke University Press)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

Back to contents.


In International News:

This feature has been disabled: Critical intersections of disability and information studies (Feb, First Monday)

Influencing the Trends of Digital Inclusion: An Interview with Jonathan Hassell (Jan,

Blind news audiences are being left behind in the data visualisation revolution: here's how we fix that. (Jan, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism)

Do No Harm Guide: Centering Accessibility in Data Visualization. (Dec, Urban Institute)

In India, WhatsApp leads the way in digital accessibility in India. (Feb, Deccan Chronicle)

Artificial Intelligence

In International News:

ChatGPT-powered web accessibility platform launched (Jan, BusinessCloud) Remember to great this kind of news with healthy scepticism.

Apple's New AI Audiobooks Are Great for Accessibility, Bad for Voice Actors (Jan, Lifewire)

In China, Good for tech: Disability expertise and labor in China's artificial intelligence sector (Feb, First Monday)

Online Accessibility

In International News:

Meet the first-ever accessibility engineer at The Washington Post. (Feb, Nieman Lab)

A guide to writing accessible image captions. (Feb, Mashable)

What's New in WCAG 2.2 Draft (Jan, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI))


In International News:

Inclusive AR/VR: accessibility barriers for immersive technologies. (Feb)

Not robots; Cyborgs Furthering anti-ableist research in human-computer interaction. (Feb, First Monday)

Xbox lead dev talks about the future of video game accessibility (Feb, Polygon)

What does accessibility in the metaverse look like? (Jan, Vogue)

The accessibility charity helping Xbox and PlayStation: SpecialEffect. (Jan)

Sony Releases Its First Accessible Controller. “The company unveiled Project Leonardo, a fully customizable, accessible console game controller, built with the help of the disabled community.” (Jan, Wired)

Social Media

In International News:

Digital Action Pack Accessible Services Social Media Toolkit (Women Enabled)

MrBeast, Welcome to the #BlindNewWorld ‘As we watched the "MrBeast cured blindness" story unfold online, we wrestled with understandably complicated feelings. Here's where we landed.’ (Blind New World)

Twitter is getting rid of its free API tier. That's a nightmare for accessibility activists. What will happen to all the good bots? (Feb, Mashable)

In Mexico, Disability Tiktokers video feature. (In Spanish, Feb, Yo También)

In the United Kingdom, Teen beauty queen's TikTok account blocked over acne. (Jan, BBC)

In the United States, Twitter’s meltdown isn’t a punchline for disabled communities “Disabled users fear the loss of Twitter-based networks they’ve spent years building for communication, commerce, and connection” (Jan, Prism)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

Back to contents.

In International News:

California’s power outages are a life-and-death issue. The impacts of storms for people with disabilities, powerfully illustrated by Alice Wong's own experience and potential harm she would face during a power outage. (Jan, High Country News)

In the United States,

Economics and Social Protection

Back to contents.


In International News:

Multidimensional Measures and the Extra Costs of Disability: How Are They Related? Exploring whether multidimensional poverty measures can be used to study the extra costs of disability. (Jan, IJERPH)

PWDs Threaten To Demonstrate Over High Cost of Living. “Cost of food and transport fares, in particular, have gone up automatically and that has brought untold hardship on PWDs across the country. Our members spend more on transport because of the peculiar nature of our problem”. (Nov, DailyGuide Network)

In Bangladesh, On the Debrief: Losing what we've achieved exploring the impact of cost-of-living crisis on disabled people. (Jan, Disability Debrief)

In South Africa, “There is no dignity in poverty and even worse in disabled poverty” (Jan, Daily Vox)

In Turkey, Severe poverty hits the disabled and demands for an equal and fair life. “There are people who sterilize the same catheter and use it several times,” (In Turkish, translation from Google, Dec, Bir Gün)

In the United Kingdom,

  • Disabled young people have less upward social mobility than their peers – and class background makes this worse. (Jan, the Conversation)
  • Disabled people among hardest hit by cost of living crisis, finds study. ‘Disabled people in the UK are much more likely to struggle to heat their homes and cut back on food this winter, according to a report highlighting “massive” income gaps amid the cost of living squeeze.’ (Jan, the Guardian)

In the United States, How to Embed a Disability Economic Justice Policy Framework in Domestic Policy Making. (Jan, The Century Foundation)

Social Protection

In International News:

A Framework for Evaluating the Adequacy of Disability Benefit Programs and its Application to the U.S. Social Security Disability Programs. “The results indicate that more than 50 percent of older adults of working-age with work-disabilities in the U.S. do not receive SSD benefits, though rates of benefit receipt are higher than the average across other high-income countries” (Jan, Journal of Social Policy)

Report on the support systems to ensure community inclusion “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated discussions on care systems; such discussions recognize the need to transform traditional care models so that they protect equally the rights of those receiving and providing care. [This report] highlights the human right of persons with disabilities to be included in the community within the current global developments on care, addressing in this context the specific support needs of persons with disabilities for community inclusion” (Jan, OHCHR) See also extracts and key points from the report (Inclusion Europe).

In Argentina, Good news on disability: non-contributory pension scheme for persons with disabilities. (In Spanish, Jan, CTA)

In Europe,

In Japan, Inside Japan’s long experiment in automating eldercare. “A growing body of evidence is finding that robots tend to end up creating more work for caregivers.” (Jan, MIT Technology Review)

In Poland, We are talking to you: “The procedure for granting the right to a carer's benefit sounds more like a description of persecution than an example of supporting citizens in a difficult situation. [...] Contact with social workers and center directors is like traveling back in time at least 30 years ago.” (In Polish, translation by Google, Jan, Krytyka)

In Spain, The reality of persons with disabilities and non-contributive pensions “they say you can work, but in practice it's not like that.” (In Spanish, Jan, 20 Minutos)

In Turkey, Lower social benefits trouble Türkiye's disabled citizens. “Türkiye's disabled citizens find themselves squeezed between a lack of employment opportunities and declining social benefits.” (Jan, Bianet)

In the United States, After ‘losing my life’ caring for a sick partner, a professor examines the U.S. caregiver crisis. (Feb, Stat News)

Education and Childhood

Back to contents.

In International News:

Disability Inclusive Pre-Primary Education Landscape Review. (Jan, Education Links)

Measuring inclusive teaching practices that support learning for all. Includes a module with tools on disability. (Jan, World Bank)

In Africa,

“Several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa provide government sponsored skills-building and training to youth with disabilities in both special and inclusive settings. Despite these efforts and emerging promising practices, limited outreach leaves youth with disabilities and their families unaware of initiatives. In addition, employers, mentors and investors often do not have processes in place to successfully onboard interns, mentees and employees with disabilities, and some may be reluctant to host them at all because of negative perceptions of disability.” (Jan, UNICEF)

In Australia, Special schools should be abolished “Educators are pushing for special schools to be scrapped and for all students to be educated together, regardless of their abilities.” (Feb, Herald Sun)

In Bangladesh, Majority of children with disabilities in Bangladesh not enrolled in formal education. A national survey shows that “60 percent of children with disabilities aged 5-17 years are not in education.” (Jan, The Daily Star)

In India, STEM education for blind kids is the need of the hour. (Jan, News Trail)

In Ireland, Children with disabilities waiting years for vital services access to disability services is full of “constant worry, uncertainty, inadequate support and endless struggle”. (Jan, Irish Examiner)

In Jordan, Jordanian parents challenge government policy on disabled children. (Jan, Raseef 22)

In Kenya, Feature on ANDY's work to promote early childhood education for children with disabilities. (Jan, KBC Channel)

In Madagascar, Children with disabilities receive rehabilitation to walk and speak, and prepare to go to school. (Jan, UNICEF)

In Malawi, Short documentary film Falling Behind exploring “Mismanagement of Funds and A Lack of Accessible Financial Assistance Information Put Students with Disabilities at Risk” (Dec, Disability Justice Project)

In Norway, An Agent-Based Simulation Model of Epidemic Spread in a Residential School. “An agent-based model of a school for deaf children was developed from Norwegian archival sources and 1918 influenza pandemic data to test impacts of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Results show differences in the timing and pattern of spread based on whether the first case is a student or staff member, while epidemics are smaller with more student bedrooms or a hospital ward.” (Jan, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)

In South Africa,

In Uganda,

In the United States,

  • How Educators Secretly Remove Students With Disabilities From School. “The removals — which can include repeated dismissals in the middle of the day or shortening students’ education to a few hours a week — are often in violation of federal civil rights protections for those with disabilities.” (Feb, Yahoo! News)
  • Disability rights advocates call on Texas Legislature to better protect students from restraints. “Jeanna TenBrink said three years ago, when her daughter Leah was in middle school, she started coming home with unexplained bruises and getting upset when it was time to go to school. But because Leah is autistic and mostly nonverbal, TenBrink didn’t know why her daughter was upset until she managed to get access to camera footage.” (Feb, Texas Public Radio)

Employment, Business and Work

Back to contents.

In International News:

World's Largest Clothing Retailer To Double Its Disability Employment Inditex, the owner of Zara. “is committing to dramatically increase employment of people with disabilities throughout its operations.” (Jan, Disability Scoop)

ESG and Disability Data white paper a call for inclusive reporting and standardized disability inclusion key performance indicators for businessses. (Jan, Valuable 500) See also a blog on why it's needed.

Proxy agencies for disabled hires grow as firms try to fill quota. “Japanese firms have been using proxy agencies to employ people with disabilities, hiring them to work for unrelated farming projects in a move seen as a way to fulfill official disability quotas, according to a welfare ministry probe and a Kyodo News investigation.” (Jan, Kyodo) Reaction from Barrier Free Japan (brief audio, no transcript).

In Africa, Disability inclusion in the African business community: latest trends and good practices. Includes big multinational companies Unilever and Safaricom setting recruitment targets of 5% of persons with disabilities in their workforces by 2025. (Link to pdf, Feb, ILO)

In Australia, Royal Commission report finds Disability Employment Services (DES) program failed to provide appropriate support. (Jan, Royal Commission) Further reaction on the Guardian.

In Bhutan, Supporting Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bhutan: Results from an Employer Survey (Apr)

In Niger, Economic empowerment for women and girls with disabilities (Jan, UN SDG)

In Nigeria, Inside the lives of professionals living with invisible disabilities in Nigerian workplaces. (Jan, Techpoint)

In Switzerland, Sheltered workshops criticized for derisory pay of persons with disabilities. Some receiving as little as 5 francs per month. (Jan, MA RTS)

In the United Kingdom, Why employer inflexibility matters for the recruitment, retention and progression of disabled workers.

“Whilst some disabled people may need specific aids, adaptions, or equipment in order to facilitate their ability to work, the vast majority only require changes in the way in which work is organised. In the same way that it offers working parents the opportunity to balance family life with work, flexible working can offer disabled people a way to accommodate requirements arising from their impairment. However, a common complaint made by disabled people is a lack of employer flexibility in terms of where, when, and how work can be performed. Despite disabled workers having a legal right to flexible working as a reasonable adjustment under the provision of the Equality Act (2010), employers often refuse.” (Jan, Disability & Society)

In the United States,

  • Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Jan, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
  • My Daughter Expects to Work. Will She Make Only $3.35 an Hour? “Changing expectations, especially those informed by decades of social and economic discrimination, takes time, and ending 14(c) certificates [that permit employers to pay disabled people less than the minimum wage] is just the beginning.” (Jan, New York Times)

Gender Equality and Women with Disabilities

Back to contents.

In Georgia, Exploring visions of inclusion: women’s disability activism in Georgia. (Oct)


Back to contents.


In International News:

On the Debrief: Healthcare has to be healed The impacts of health inequities and how we take revenge. (Jan, Disability Debrief)

Achieving Universal Health Coverage fit for an ageing world. (Jan, HelpAge)

In Canada, Healthcare inclusion and Indigenous people (Jan, Abilities Canada)

In India, Insurers Are Denying Health Cover For Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities. “Despite clear guidelines, insurance companies in India exclude those with intellectual and developmental disabilities from coverage”. Includes insurers denying care after the non-disclosure of conditions often unrelated to the medical need. (Jan, BehanBox)

In South Africa, Non-use of healthcare services among persons with mobility impairments in Cofimvaba. Challenges includes “inaccessible roads, geographic inaccessibility, financial accessibility and indirect cost of care, having little or not many health problems, physical infrastructure difficulties within facilities, and attitudinal barriers.” (Jan, African Journal of Disability)

In the United Kingdom, National Health Service crisis: Why are disabled people disproportionately affected? (Jan, BBC)

In the United States,


In International News:

WHO board recommendation on Strengthening rehabilitation in health systems (Link to pdf, Jan, WHO)

History and Memorial

Back to contents.

In International News:

Disabled people were Holocaust victims, too: they were excluded from German society and murdered by Nazi programs. (Jan, The Conversation)

In Bulgaria, In Memoriam: Vanya Pandieva “Vanya was one of the pioneers of the independent living movement in Bulgaria.” (Jan, ENIL)

In Canada, Former lieutenant-governor of Ontario David Onley dies at 72. “Onley, who used a motorized scooter after having polio as a child, was the first visibly disabled person to hold the position when appointed in 2007.” (Jan, The Star)

In Egypt, On the Debrief: How ancient history resists our stereotypes discussion of Tutankhamun and disability in ancient Egypt. (Jan, Disability Debrief)

In Haiti, Google Doodle Celebrating Mama Cax Haitian American model and disability rights advocate. (Feb, Google) See more about her (Yahoo! News).

In Poland, Polish Senator and Disability Rights Defender Marek Plura passed away. (Jan, EDF)

In the United Kingdom, Everywhere and Nowhere short film “spotlights 10 fascinating stories, objects and sites with connections to histories of disability from the National Trust’s buildings and landscapes, and collections and historical records.” (Jan, University of Leicester Research Centre)

In the United States, ‘Disability is not a tragedy’: the remarkable life of activist and rebel Hale Zukas. “Born in an era when disabled people were routinely institutionalized, Zukas fought for – and won – access to transportation and better urban design”. (Jan, the Guardian)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

Back to contents.


In International News:

Disability and Inclusion Survey by IOM of IDP sites in Montepuez (Jan, Relief Web)

IDA-UNHCR Strategic Collaboration in 2022: Key Steps Towards Inclusion and Participation. (Feb, IDA)

IASC Guidance, Addressing Suicide in Humanitarian Settings. (Dec, IASC)

A review of evidence on disability inclusive Early Childhood Development and Education in Humanitarian Settings. (Jan, Institute of Development Studies)

In Bangladesh, Short video of Tagari's Story from Cox’s Bazar. (Jan, CBM UK)

In Ethiopia, Scaling up humanitarian support for children with disabilities and their families. “UNICEF is expanding programming in IDP camps to provide services and support for children with disabilities and their families.” (Jan, UNICEF)

In the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, Joint statement on the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, Nagorno-Karabakh (Jan, IDA)

In Turkey,


In International News:

A Scoping Review of Needs and Barriers to Achieving A Livable Life among Refugees with Disabilities: Implications for Future Research, Practice, and Policy. (Dec, Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

Back to contents.

In International News:

Guidelines on Deinstitutionalization commentary and an explanatory video. (Jan, IDA)

In Australia, People with disabilities in group homes are suffering shocking abuse. New housing models could prevent harm. “This latest report shows 17,000 Australians living in group homes are too frequently subjected to sexual misconduct, coercion, serious injury, abuse and neglect.” (Jan, The Conversation) See also the lack of independent monitoring of group homes (The Guardian).

In Austria, Going in the wrong direction, “In Carinthia, despite all human rights recommendations, a new residential facility for disabled children is currently being built” (Jan, ENIL)

In Bulgaria, Joint statement: Stop funding institutions in Bulgaria! (Jan, EDF)

In Europe, Why does Europe keep funding institutions and what can be done about it? (Jan, EDF)

In Netherlands, Inspectorate sees staggering conditions in an institutional setting with abuse of clients. (In Dutch, Feb, NOS)

International Cooperation

Back to contents.


In International News:

Inclusive Participation Toolbox Supports Disability Inclusive Planning. (Nov, CBM)

The Zero Project 2023 celebrated. See the session recordings and this year's awardees. (Feb, Zero Project)

UNICEF Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS) 2022-2030. Commitments to increase resourcing, employment and more. (Feb, UNICEF) See also coverage on the Lancet.

Discussion on increasing the engagement between disabled people's organizations and the United Nations (Feb, Center for Inclusive Policy)

It is time for a radical rethink on how we distribute funding in the disability rights movement. (Jan, Bond)

Gerard Quinn interviews Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, discussing the World Bank & disability inclusion. (Dec, Gerard Quinn)

In Europe, European Union of the Deaf Impact Report 2022 (Feb, EUD)

In Myanmar, “A dream to achieve”: Making Myanmar more disability-inclusive. (Jan, UNFPA)

In Rwanda, The Ripples of Resourcing Rwanda’s Disability Rights Movement (Jan, Disability Rights Fund)

Global Disability Summit

In International News:

Words are not enough ”One year on from the Global Disability Summit 2022, we urgently call on global governments to uphold disability rights and make their summit commitments a reality” (Sightsavers)

Back to contents.

In Africa, Recognising the testimonial competence of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in Southern Africa:

“Lesotho the only country in southern Africa to successfully contest and change the legal position on the testimonial competence of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. As such, the other countries have lessons to learn both from what Lesotho got right and from what it missed. Two lessons in particular can be gleaned from Lesotho’s experience. The first lesson is that upholding testimonial competence requires the recognition of the right to legal capacity. Second, the recognition of the testimonial competence of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities is merely a first step, they also need to be given the support necessary for their effective participation.” (Nov, African Disability Rights Year Book)

In Australia,

In the United States, Will shock treatment finally be banned? “The fact that autistic students are still being shocked at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center is unconscionable.” (Jan)

Lived Experience and Opinion

Back to contents.

In International News:

Yes, Disabled People Can Be Parents stories from disabled parents. (Feb, Women Enabled International)

Disability and Technology? No, Disability as Technology. "My argument is, rather, that technology is a constitutive mechanism of disability, that is, disability is a fully-fledged technology (artifact) itself, a complex and complicated apparatus of power, a composite of technologies and other artifacts." (Jan, Biopolitical Philosophy)

Naming Disability Including Disability Issue 2 explores “the power play between stigma and identity”. (Jan, Including Disability)

In Indonesia, Agus's Story profile on an international advocate for the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities. (In Bahasa, Feb, Detik Edu)

In Kosovo, “I have the right to be here in this bar, smoking a cigarette and drinking a coffee without people whispering, looking at me, and being surprised at how I can do this,” profile of blind poet Muhaxhiri Agusholli. (Jan, Balkan Insight)

In Malawi, Youtube channel from Du Lucius a “Deafblind young man from Malawi, student at secondary school and l will be sharing my life style, Deafblind and disability awareness” (Feb, Youtube)

In Nigeria, How discrimination affects Albinos freedom. (Jan, Radio Nigeria)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,

  • How Innovation Sets Me Backwards Tech that could be enabling me is impairing me instead. (Jan, Immerse)
  • The Micropedia of Microaggressions - the first encyclopedia of microaggressions. (Jun)
  • Deaf Role Model of the Month: Pamela Molina (Jan, Deaf Unity)
  • 4 Ways People With Disabilities Can Have Privilege Too “Money can buy at least some access and opportunity – which in turn increases social acceptance, and can even reduce a disabled person's exposure to ableism”. Neatly summed up in Game of Thrones as “If you’re going to be a cripple, it’s better to be a rich cripple.” (Jan, Forbes)
  • Profound discussion of how ableism enables all forms of inequity. “Ableism plays a leading role in how we frame, understand, construct and respond to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, criminal status, disability, and countless other identities.” (Jan, Truthout)

Mental Health

Back to contents.

In International News:

BasicNeeds Network Launch: bringing together 100+ years of mental health implementation experience. (Jan, CBM UK)

The future of mental health care might lie beyond psychiatry: “Poor countries are developing a new paradigm of mental health care.” (Nov, Vox)

Controversy erupts over non-consensual AI mental health experiment. “Koko let 4,000 people get therapeutic help from GPT-3 without telling them first.” (Jan, Ars Technica)

In Australia,

In Finland, Vastaamo hacking suspect arrested in France. “French police arrested a suspect Friday who is allegedly connected to the notorious cyber attack against Finnish psychotherapy center Vastaamo in 2018.” (Feb, TechTarget)

In India,

In Somalia, A new plan to tackle trauma in Somalia after 30 years of ‘shared distress’ (Feb, The New Humanitarian)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

Back to contents.


In Australia, Australia misses 20-year public transport accessibility target as many train and tram networks fail people with disabilities. One source estimated “at best 50 per cent compliance to [accessible public transport] standards”. (Jan, ABC News)

In India, The long fight for accessible buses in Chennai (Jan, Citizen Matters, Chennai)

In the United Kingdom, A Disability-Inclusive Micromobility Charter the result of roundtables discussing micro-mobility transport options such as electric scooters. (Jan, Open Inclusion)

In the United States, One Way to a Better City: Ask Disabled People to Design It. David Gissen on Designing Cities for Disability (Jan, Curbed)

Air Travel

In International News:

Why Accessibility is Essential for Air Travel efforts to “move the priority of accessible air travel” and their inclusion in the latest Airport Handling Manual. (Mar, IATA)

New bill aims to improve transparency around disability-related air travel complaints. (Feb, Changing America)

In Australia, Australia’s airlines and airports urged to improve treatment of travellers with disabilities. (Feb, the Guardian)

In Canada, Toronto woman with disability says flying Air Canada made her feel like an 'unwanted burden' (Feb, CBC)

In Europe, Why Flying Is A Nightmare For Wheelchair Users: “The worst part of flying for me is spending the journey anxiously waiting to see if my wheelchair has made it safely to the other side.” (Jan, Huffpost)

In Nigeria, Mainstream Disability Inclusion In Aviation Policies (Jan, Independent NG)

In the United Kingdom, A campaign for Rights on flights it’s time for the air travel industry to take Disabled people seriously. (Feb, Disability Rights UK)

In the United States,

Policy and Rights

Back to contents.

In International News:

Youth lead anti-corruption talks on disability (Jan, EDYN)

Transformation of services for persons with disabilities. “New technologies and participation allow us to imagine support services of persons with disabilities beyond traditional models based on impairment and dependency. This report offers a framework to rethink these services with personhood, autonomy and human rights at their center.” (Jan, Gerard Quinn) Also on OHCHR.

Life for Israelis with disabilities is a well-kept secret “For-profit institutions and government neglect have led to brutal abuse and exploitation.” Explored in the context of immigration laws that allow for recognition of disability before migration. (Jan, Jewish News Syndicate)

World Report 2023 makes many references to disability in each of the country profiles and provides a mixed but optimistic view on a “new international embrace of human rights”:

“The magnitude, scale, and frequency of human rights crises across the globe show the urgency of a new framing and new model for action. Viewing our greatest challenges and threats to the modern world through a human rights lens reveals not only the root causes of disruption but also offers guidance to address them.” (Jan, Human Rights Watch)

In Canada, I am a MAID provider. “Canada’s MAID laws are missing fundamental safeguards for vulnerable people. That needs to change.” (Feb, Maclean's)

In India,

In Kosovo, Kosovo Country Profile detailed summary of legislation and available data. (Jan, World Bank)

In Malaysia, Podcast discussion on the persons with disabilities act: “a toothless tiger”. (No transcript, Feb, BFM)

In Netherlands, Dutch amend constitution to specify gay, disabled protections. "an historic day for the disability movement". (Jan, Reuters)

In Singapore, A collection of essays: Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore. “In a city-state slowly moving towards inclusion, how do those meant to be 'included' feel about such efforts?” (Jan, Ethos Books) See an extract from one of the chapters, on medicine and marginality.

In Switzerland, People with visual impairment, blindness still face many barriers. “More adapted jobs and mandatory concepts for professional inclusion of people with visual impairment are needed, says Swiss group”. (Jan, Andolu Agency)

Politics and Elections

Back to contents.

In Mexico, Cripwashing the presence of the National Guard in the Metro of Mexico City – by publishing pictures of them assisting disabled people. (In Spanish, Jan, Yo También)

In Nigeria,

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

Back to contents.

In Europe,

In India, Online Dating; A More Accessible Option For Queer Disabled Folks (Feb, Gaysi)

In South Sudan, Why are persons with disabilities at great risk of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment? An infographic. (Dec, RSH)

In the United States,

  • Disabled Woman Seeks Marriage Equality From Social Security Administration – Files Religious Freedom and Due Process Complaint. “The law cuts off Long’s access to life-saving benefits if she marries. The complaint alleges that the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the U.S. Constitution.” (Nov, DREDF)
  • ‘Why am I having to explain this?’: Seven stories of barriers to reproductive care for those with disabilities. (Jan, StatNews)

Space Exploration

Back to contents.

In the United States,

Sport and Paralympics

Back to contents.

In International News:

Dementia and Football: a taboo in the most popular sport in the world. (In Spanish, Jan, Yo También.)

The first Olympiad for People with Disabilities: A milestone for chess. (Jan, ChessBase)

In Australia, ‘It makes you think about things’: Australian Rules Football’s uncomfortable truth with brain trauma (Feb, Brisbane Times)

In Liberia, First Wheel Chair Basketball Court Dedicated (Feb, Front Page Africa)

In Sierra Leone, Amputee football association brings together Sierra Leone's civil war survivors (Feb, CNN)

In the United States,

Violence and Harassment

Back to contents.

In Bangladesh, Mother kills physically challenged daughter (Jan, New Age)

In Nigeria, ‘He Knew’: People With Disabilities Are More Vulnerable To Sexual Abuse. A story of Ifeoma and how the impacts “impacts of her encounter with an abuser are still visible in her life, decades after the incident took place.” (Feb, HumAngle)

In the United Kingdom, Formal support needs of disabled adult victim survivors of sexual violence. A qualitative research report. (Jan, Ministry of Justice)

In the United States, Paralyzed by Gun Violence, They Seek Solace From Other Survivors. “In one city, a support group that includes people who spent time in the same trauma ward offers a way to cope.” (Jan, New York Times)

War in Ukraine

Back to contents.


In International News:

Easy-read magazine edition Europe for us Everything created was destroyed. (Link to pdf, Feb, Inclusion Europe)

In the Ukraine,

Evacuating or Leaving Ukraine

In Poland, Post Distribution Monitoring for Targeted Cash Assistance for Ukrainian Refugees. Of the recipients “48% of them were persons with disabilities, 30% were people 60-years-old or above, and 22% were legal caretakers of person(s) with disability.” (Jan, Relief Web)

In the Ukraine, Ensuring the protection of persons with disabilities fleeing from Ukraine. Report that “provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine, highlights the five priority actions to strengthen support to persons with disabilities fleeing from Ukraine.” (Jan, EDF)

In the United Kingdom, Ukrainian refugee family with disabled son denied accessible house by East Renfrewshire Council (Feb, STV News)

Situation in Ukraine

In International News:

Harder than ever: How power outages affect people with disabilities in Ukraine. (Jan, Kyiv Independent)

In the Ukraine, ‘They’re dying in large numbers’: Disabled Ukrainians face abuse, neglect in institutions. (Feb, EuroNews)


In International News:

The monitoring of the accessibility of pre-fab camps for people with disabilities (Feb, League of the Strong)

In Europe, Reflections from supporting response on building sustainability into disability rights work. (Feb, EDF)

In the Ukraine,

Water and Sanitation (WASH)

Back to contents.

In International News:

Taking action to achieve inclusive WASH an introductory online course exploring disability-inclusive WASH. (WaterAid / UNICEF)


Many thanks to readers and Sightsavers for the support that keeps this going. News curation is done with support of the Center for Inclusive Policy.

The Debrief is produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Opinions or mistakes are mine.