New Charter for Persons with Disabilities at WHS

Photo of a panel of people and observers at the United Nations
Special Session on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities into Humanitarian Action

A new charter to significantly improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies has been endorsed at the Special Session on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities into Humanitarian Action of the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, Turkey on 24 May, 2016

‘The intersection between humanitarian crises and persons with disabilities is very strong,’ said Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘Persons with disabilities are always left behind and the humanitarian response is very complicated because there is no planning to address their needs. We see that constantly – in armed conflict situations, and natural disasters.’

The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action final version urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and funding bodies to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities, based on five principals:

  • non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities;
  • involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs;
  • ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities;
  • implementation of inclusive global policies; and
  • cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve inclusion of people with disabilities.

Guidelines Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, July 2019 by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Team on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 made a commitment to develop globally endorsed system-wide guidelines on how to include persons with disabilities in humanitarian action (the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, mentioned above). These guidelines have been designed to provide practical information for humanitarian actors and other relevant stakeholders. They place persons with disabilities, and their human rights, at the centre of humanitarian action.

What is your A11y Resolution for 2016?

Léonie Watson coined a great hashtag on Twitter right before Christmas. It’s “A11yResolution”. “A11y” is the abbreviation used a lot on Twitter to represent the word “accessibility”. Accessibility is considered a long word on Twitter so some abbreviate it by replacing the middle 11 letter with, well, 11. “A” plus “11” plus “y” becomes “A11y”. Add on the word “resolution” with a capital “R” and you have “A11yResolution”.

Background for this post

This all started with the @LeonieWatson’s tweet)

I followed that with the question (or challenge):

So… What is *your* 2016 #A11yResolution (resolution re: accessibility)? HT @LeonieWatson and @VandLShow

@AccessTechcomm’s tweet

The question or challenge

Will you take this as a question or a challenge? In case you need some inspiration, I thought I’d point out some opportunities for your personal A11yResolution for 2016.

1. The OpenAIR challenge

OpenAIR 2015 was the 18th edition of Knowbility’s OpenAir rally projects

Third place went to team “Down Under” from Australia for their website for TALA: Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts. TALA's mission statement reads: “Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA) provides Texas artists and arts organizations with legal and accounting assistance to enable them to maximize their potential, shape our cultural landscape, and contribute to the creative economy.”

Second place went to team “All Access Design” from Texas for their website for COMTO Austin, a local affiliate of the national Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). COMTO Austin’s mission statement reads: “To assist members in professional development, create training opportunities, and facilitate opportunities for minority business owners to strengthen the position of minorities in the transportation industry within the Central Texas region.”

Last, but not least, first place went to team “Maximus” from India for their website for Geno’s Place, the site of Gene Rogers, TV producer. The stories on his site should inspire you to pimp your wheelchair and start your travels!

You would be welcome for the 19th edition in 2016 as a developer, a mentor, a non-profit, or a sponsor. (Maybe your company would be interested in being a sponsor? Ask about that now before they lock in other plans for 2016!)

Stay tuned by bookmarking the OpenAIR site and following @knowbility on Twitter. OpenAir starts in October, but planning begins before that. You can write to Knowbility (contact information on the website) and ask for more details now. They’d love to hear from you.

2. Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Feeling shy about OpenAIR? Try Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19, 2016.

As the site declares:

Join us on Thursday, May 19 2016 and mark the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.

Your participation can be as simple as unplugging your mouse for one hour and then surfing the web. Learn what it’s like navigating your company websites or any of your favorite websites without a mouse. You might be in for a shock!

You can find other virtual activities or local activities on the GAAD website.

Follow GAAD activities on the GAAD Facebook page and on the GAAD Twitter account where you can use the #GAAD hashtag. The GAAD website also has links to pages about GAAD in Spanish, French, and Japanese, so spread the news in your global networks and put some oomph into the word “global”!

For future reference, note that GAAD is always the third Thursday in May.

3. Slatin AccessU with Knowbility and/or the Accessibility Summit

Would you like to go back to school for some accessibility lessons? Try three days of learning, sharing, exploring, and fun in Austin, Texas from the 9th to 11th of May with AccessU in Austin, Texas. Most years, they have a virtual classroom, too, in case you can’t stop by Austin. This is suitable for technical communicators, UX practitioners, developers, and, well, everyone who is into accessibility!

For virtual accessibility lessons, you can’t go wrong with the Accessibility Summit that has been run by Environments for Humans every September since 2010. 2016 will be the 7th year for this excellent online conference. There is no information about the 2016 conference yet, but you can follow Environment for Humans (@e4h) on Twitter. They’ll announce details and the date later in the year.

4. BADD: Blogging Against Disabilism Day

For the accessibility evangelist or activist who loves to write, Blogging Against Disabilism Day on May 1st was made for you.

Read the 2015 BADD entries on the website, and you will get a clear idea of what this is all about. For more information, stay tuned to the BADD page on Facebook. These blog posts give voice to many people who might be users of your organization’s or company’s products or services. Reading the posts might be uncomfortable, but it’s probably time to listen and learn.

So… With these examples in mind, what will your A11yResolution be for 2016? Add your thoughts in the comments.

Sydney fireworks, New Year 2006 with the Opera House and Harbour

Photo credit: Sydney Opera House NYE 2006 by Rob Chandler and licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons