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Hopes for Accessible Voting on Election Day Dashed

In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote. But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s…
A man helps his mother as she casts her ballot during the parliamentary elections in Basra, Iraq on October 10, 2021.
News

Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Get Services to Hundreds of Thousands on Waitlists

The overwhelming majority of older people and people with disabilities in the United States, no matter how they vote, prefer to live at home rather than in a residential institution like a nursing home. Accordingly, millions of people access home and…
Disability rights activists and caregiving advocates hold a vigil in front of the US Capitol to urge Congress to include full federal funding for home and community-based care services in the budget reconciliation package on October 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.
News

Progress Toward Accessibility Ahead of Elections, but Gaps Remain

Next week, Iraq will hold parliamentary elections, but many people with disabilities are effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places. Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, has one…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018.
News

Governments Should Make Information Accessible to All

Imagine that during a national emergency, you and your loved ones are at risk. The government is announcing information that could have a profound impact on your safety, but you don’t have access to it because it hasn’t been made available to you.…
A sign language interpreter records sign language lessons that are broadcast on public television, at an elementary school in Athens, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. 
News

Marginalization and Exclusion Imperils Rights, New UN Expert Report Finds

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice, and/or discrimination of individuals or groups based on their age – is all around us. One just has to look at a rack of birthday cards for images ridiculing older people or the rows of “anti-ageing” creams on the…
Rohingya people refugees carry an older woman on the way to camp at Shahpori Island, in Teknaf, Bangladesh on September 13, 2017. 
News

Storm Highlights Need for Inclusive Disaster Planning in the US

Hurricane Ida made landfall in the southern US state of Louisiana last week, leaving thousands of people displaced and millions without power or access to other resources. Among those most at risk during the storm and in its aftermath have been people…
Occupants prepare to depart the Renaissance Place senior living apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on September 3, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
News

Repeal New Segregated Education Policy for People with Disabilities

On August 17, Brazilian Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro made harmful remarks about children with disabilities, saying they “disturbed” other students and that some are “impossible to live with.” Later, he apologized to “those who were offended”…
A young girl who does not attend school, living in an institution in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 6, 2016.
News

Sports Federations Need to Ensure Reasonable Accommodation for All Athletes

The Tokyo Paralympic Games begin this week with thousands of Paralympic athletes from around the world competing in 539 events in 22 sports. Sadly, one athlete who had earned a place on the United States team won’t be there. Rebecca Meyers, 26, a…
Rebecca Meyers competes in the Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 during day 4 of the Para Swimming World Championship in Mexico City, Mexico on November 5, 2017.
News

Inclusive Climate Action and Planning Needed after 12 Perish

On July 15, twelve people with disabilities living in a group home drowned in floods in Sinzig, Germany, because they did not manage to evacuate in time. This is not the first time people with disabilities in group homes died during a climate…
The “Lebenshilfe-Haus” or ‘assisted-living facility”, where twelve people with disabilities drowned in floods on July 15, 2021.
News

Data Collection Reform Needs Meaningful Consultations

In a positive move, Mexico’s National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI) is looking at how to develop a new policy that would include disabilities in government data collection.  Without proper data, it is difficult for the government…
The National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information building in Aguascalientes City, Mexico on July 19, 2018.
News

Climate Crisis Requires Inclusive Heat Action, Planning, and Response

Recent climate change-exacerbated heatwaves in the western Canadian province of British Columbia have left hundreds dead. According to British Columbia’s chief coroner, of the 719 sudden deaths between June 25 and July 1, many were “older individuals…
A person enters the Hillcrest Community Centre, where they can cool off during the extreme hot weather in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 30, 2021.
News

Recounts Harrowing Experience Fleeing during Latest Escalation

Abeer al-Harakli, a 28-year-old disability rights defender from Gaza, addressed the United Nations earlier this month at the 14th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She described…
Abeer al-Harakli, a disability rights defender from Gaza, addressing the United Nations in a video message at the 14th session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations, New York, June 17, 2021. 
News

Guardianship System Subjects Many to a Range of Abuses

“I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out,” pop star Britney Spears told a court last week. Fans, influencers, activists, and members of the public rallied in…
A "Free Britney" sign shows support for popstar Britney Spears who had a scheduled hearing in her conservatorship case at the County Courthouse in Los Angeles, June 23, 2021.
News

Opportunity for Expanding Access to Justice for People with Disabilities

A recent judgment by India’s Supreme Court is a watershed moment for women with disabilities in India and worldwide. The case involved a 19-year-old blind woman who was raped by her brother’s friend. The court in its April judgment, rendered by…
A young girl with long hair portraid from behind, in front of a field.
News

New Law Bans Discrimination, Promotes Inclusion

On May 5, Armenia’s parliament adopted the law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is a long-awaited reform with the potential to change the lives of the roughly 200,000 people with disabilities in Armenia by protecting them from…
A boy sits on a swing in the courtyard of an orphanage for children with disabilities, Yerevan, Armenia.
News

Prosecutors Mandated to Inspect Institutions, Promote Independent Living

Brazil’s National Council for Prosecutors, the government body overseeing the country’s prosecutors, took a major step yesterday by approving a resolution that could mean significant human rights improvements for the more than 10,000…
A group of persons with disabilities in a yard in an institution in Rio de Janeiro. Residents are taken outside for a few hours during the day but spend most of the time confined to their beds.
News

Deaf Activist Warns “Our Wounds Will Never Heal”

When Caroline Atim, founder and director of the South Sudan Women with Disabilities Network, spoke to the UN Security Council this week, I watched her hands intently and listened to her sign language interpreter, as she described the devastating…
Caroline Atim, wearing a blue dress, addresses the United Nations Security Council during a virtual meeting, April 14, 2021. She is seated in front of a black background.
News

Residents Need Access to Courts Amid Emerging Reports of Neglect During Pandemic

This week, Arizona legislators will vote on bill 1377, which would shield nursing homes from civil liability for negligence while providing services during the Covid-19 pandemic. At least 32 states have already passed laws or issued executive…
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News

Academy Should Ensure Accessible Entrance to Awards Stage

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last week that “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” had been nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. The film, released by Netflix in March 2020, and shown by the Human Rights…
Still from the film Crip Camp.
News

Governments, International Actors Should Step up Protections for Older People

A groundbreaking report released on March 18 and led by the World Health Organization (WHO) calls out ageism for what it is: a socially-acceptable form of discrimination that impacts older people’s livelihoods, health, and even survival. The report…
Older people crossing the broken bridge at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint.