« Rolling Rains Report: Home » Law & Policy


December 26, 2008

The Shift Gray: How Boomers Will Transform Growing Older

Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class

Image via Wikipedia

Shifts in the economy mean shifts in the balance in power - and travel patterns - between nations. The current economic shift takes place at a time of historic age reversal in populations where older citizens outnumber younger working age adults.

Many are turning their attention to addressing a situation that is already upon us as in How Boomers Will Transform Growing Older in America Part 1 and Part 2. Rita R. Robinson summarizes the presentation of several speakers a the recent Pig in the Python: Design for Aging Forum.

The Mature Market adds the following on this demographic:

Fallout from the current economic situation in the United States includes the observation that homes are now more affordable. In the third quarter of this year (July-September), 56.1% of all homes that were sold were affordable to families earning the national median income of $61,500. At the peak of the housing boom, 40.4% of families could afford homes (National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index).

This is good news for Baby Boomers who are thinking of moving.

SURVEY: Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,273 people ages 45-64 in the United States.

FINDINGS: Most respondents (79%) said they would like to stay in their current home for as long as possible. About one-quarter (26%) expect to move from their current home in the future, often looking for a better house, a better climate or a home that is closer to family and friends. More than half of those Boomers (age 45-64) planning to move expect to look for a home that is all on one level (59%), newer (50%) or smaller (49%).

Boomer men are more likely than women to believe they will move into a newer home (61% vs. 42%) or move into a home in a warmer or better climate (41% vs. 25%) Boomer women are more likely than men to think they will move into a smaller home (54% v. 41%). While Boomers will reflect the patterns of earlier generations and mostly age in place, said Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president of AARP, the sheer number of Boomers will increase demand for a whole variety of home and community options.

Source:
http://www.thematuremarket.com/population_ageing/baby_boomers_single_level_house-10387-5.html

Posted by rollingrains at 09:35 PM

December 22, 2008

Accessibility in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The following announcement was just released on a lawsuit to make Golden Gate National Recreation Area accessible.


GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA AND PLAINTIFFS REACH A STAY IN LITIGATION CONCERNING ACCESSIBILITY

In January 2008, Plaintiffs Lori Gray, Peter Mendoza and Ann Sieck filed
suit against Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California (Gray et
al. v. GGNRA, et al.) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, 29 U.S.C. 794(a). In their lawsuit, Plaintiffs alleged that they
were denied their right to full and equal access to, and use and
enjoyment of, the programs, services, activities and facilities of GGNRA
because of physical and other access barriers.

Plaintiffs and GGNRA are pleased to report that on November 12, 2008,
they reached a stay in the litigation regarding the lawsuit. The parties
have successfully negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that
details a process to identify and correct accessibility deficiencies
that may exist at GGNRA, and to improve information for the public
regarding access opportunities. Additionally, the MOU provides the
structure for negotiating a phased resolution of issues raised by
Plaintiffs.

Plaintiff Lori Gray stated, "I am pleased that we have a plan for moving
forward with respect to equal access and that people with disabilities,
like everyone else, will soon have the opportunity to experience all
other programs and facilities of GGNRA."

Brian O'Neill, Superintendent of GGNRA, has stated, "The Golden Gate
National Recreation Area is committed to ensuring that visitors receive
the highest reasonable level of accessibility. Ensuring physical and
programmatic accessibility allows the park to share this special urban
national park experience with all visitors. We strive to provide equal
access in as many programs, activities, services, and facilities as
possible."

If the parties' shared cooperative approach to resolving the lawsuit is
not successful, they may resume litigation of the lawsuit.

Further information or inquiries on this stay may be addressed to Larry
Paradis
at Disability Rights Advocates, lparadis@dralegal.org or Rich
Weideman
, rich_weideman@nps.gov at GGNRA.

Posted by rollingrains at 09:19 PM

December 19, 2008

Number of Americans With a Disability Reaches 54.4 Million

About one in five U.S. residents - 19 percent - reported some level of disability in 2005, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. These 54.4 million Americans are roughly equal to the combined total populations of California and Florida.

Both the number and percentage of people with disabilities were higher than in 2002, the last time the Census Bureau collected such information. At that time, 51.2 million, or 18 percent, reported a disability.

Among those with a disability, 35 million, or 12 percent of the population, were classified as having a severe disability, according to Americans With Disabilities: 2005 [PDF].

Nearly half (46 percent) of people age 21 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with 84 percent of people in this age group without a disability. Among those with disabilities, 31 percent with severe disabilities and 75 percent with nonsevere disabilities were employed. People with difficulty hearing were more likely to be employed than those with difficulty seeing (59 percent compared with 41 percent).

A portion of people with disabilities — 11 million age 6 and older — needed personal assistance with everyday activities. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.

Other important findings:

* Among people 15 and older, 7.8 million (3 percent) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 1 million being unable to hear at all. Although not part of the definition of disability used in the report, 4.3 million people reported using a hearing aid.

* Roughly 3.3 million people, or 1 percent, age 15 and older used a wheelchair or similar device, with 10.2 million, or 4 percent, using a cane, crutches or walker.

* Nearly 7.8 million people age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, including 1.8 million being completely unable to see.

* More than 16 million people had difficulty with cognitive, mental or emotional functioning. This included 8.4 million with one or more problems that interfere with daily activities, such as frequently being depressed or anxious, trouble getting along with others, trouble concentrating and trouble coping with stress.

* The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52 percent, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37 percent, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71 percent, with 56 percent having a severe disability.

* Among people 16 to 64, 13.3 million, or 7 percent, reported difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health-related condition.

* Among people 25 to 64 with a severe disability, 27 percent were in poverty, compared with 12 percent for people with a nonsevere disability and 9 percent for those without a disability.

* Median monthly earnings were $1,458 for people with a severe disability, $2,250 for people with a nonsevere disability and $2,539 for those with no disability.

* Parents reported that 228,000 children under age 3, or 2 percent, had a disability. Specifically, they either had a developmental delay or difficulty moving their arms or legs. In addition, there were 475,000 children 3 to 5 years, or 4 percent, with a disability, which meant they had either a developmental delay or difficulty walking, running or playing.

* There were 4.7 million children 6 to 14, or 13 percent, with a disability. The most prevalent type was difficulty doing regular schoolwork (2.5 million, or 7 percent).

The Survey of Income and Program Participation produces national-level estimates for the U.S. resident population and subgroups, and allows for the observation of trends over time, particularly of selected characteristics such as income, eligibility for and participation in transfer programs, household and family composition, labor force behavior and other associated events.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:32 PM

December 03, 2008

The Buildout Bailout: Liberation Through Infrastructure or Just Another Prison Project?

The suggestion to repeat the tried-and-true public works infrastructure solution for re-priming the US economy has made it up to center stage with president Obama proposing it to the nation's governors. Unless it is imbued 100% through and through with the principles of Universal Design it will simply be the largest exclusion-by-design project ever seen. Who is advocating inside the incoming administration for all infrastructure funded by this proposal be vetted for its adherence to the goal of socail inclusion for seniors and people with disabilites?

The nation's governors got to work on Tuesday, taking their case to the president-elect for a $136 billion infrastructure spending program that they hope will funnel immediate government money toward bridges, roads and rail lines in the hopes of creating jobs and spurring the economy out of recession.

It's not a handout or a bailout, insisted the host of the economic forum, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the National Governors Association. Rather, it's the "best remedy for getting America back to work," Rendell said.

"We think that we can create literally millions of new jobs and at the same time lots of orders for concrete and steel companies and asphalt companies and lumber companies and the like," Rendell said. "None of the bailouts have created one new job. Infrastructure can create, the economists say, 40,000 jobs for every $1 billion of infrastructure spending. Well, that's a huge lift."

Source:
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/796490.html

For destinations to be desirable and communities to be livable they must incorporate Universal Design.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:26 AM

November 27, 2008

Canadians with Disabilities Win Air Transportation Access

From November 20, 2008:

Today the Supreme Court of Canada denied Air Canada and WestJet’s request to appeal the decision of the Canadian Transportation Agency which requires the airlines to accommodate persons who need additional seating space because of their disability. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) launched this action in 2002 to remove a long-standing barrier to the travel of persons with disabilities. People with disabilities who required an attendant in flight to assist them with services not provided by flight attendants and persons with disabilities who required additional seats were having to pay for two airfares. This decision now brings planes into line with other modes of transportation such as rail, bus and marine who do not charge for additional seats.

Continued:

November 20, 2008

Canadians with Disabilities Win Another Historic Transportation Access Battle


“We celebrate this decision and are thrilled to see the removal of another long-standing barrier to our mobility and travel,” said Pat Danforth, Chair of CCD’s Transportation Committee. “What continues to be a concern, however, is that we are being forced to pursue legal action to ensure accessibility of our national transportation system. Where is the federal government’s leadership on this issue? We urge the Government of Canada to regulate access standards for persons with disabilities on all federally regulated transportation systems,” said Danforth.

“We have been victorious in two major transportation access battles in the past 8 years,” said Marie White, Chairperson of CCD. “First we fought VIA Rail’s purchase of inaccessible passenger rail cars all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and now we have made the airlines more accessible as well,” said White. “These victories are to be celebrated but they could have been more appropriately handled through the development of access regulations by Transport Canada,” said White.

CCD urges the Government of Canada to move away from voluntary codes of practice and regulate the industry to ensure that the equality guarantees of the Charter are made real and that Canadians with disabilities have equal access to the goods and services of Canada. CCD urges the airlines to speedily implement this decision. Access for Canadians with disabilities has been denied long enough.

Canadians with disabilities take heart that the Courts have upheld, and continue to uphold, the equality rights of persons with disabilities.
http://www.ccdonline.ca/issues/transportation/index.htm

Disabled Passengers have the right to two seats: Canadian court decision

November 20, 2008

Canada's largest airline is trying to figure out which obese and disabled passengers will be eligible for additional seats at no charge after the country's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the airlines.

The Canadian Transportation Agency issued an order last January requiring Air Canada and other domestic airlines to make additional seats free to disabled or obese passengers who need extra room.

The airlines' appeal was rejected twice — first by the Federal Court of Appeal in May, and then by the country's highest court on Thursday.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Monday they are developing detailed eligibility rules for free seats. The ruling Thursday applies only to domestic flights and will be implemented January 9, 2009.

"It's been basically left to the airlines to determine how they are going to comply," Fitzpatrick said. "We're working on it now."

Under the ruling, airlines cannot charge extra for an obese person who needs an additional seat or a disabled person who needs space for a wheelchair or stretcher or who must be accompanied by an attendant.

David Baker, the Toronto lawyer who fought the case on behalf of disabled passengers, said the ruling will allow more disabled people to travel. Joanne Neubauer of Victoria, one of two people whose complaints sparked the case, said the news made her feel like "an equal citizen in this country."

Neubauer who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and uses a motorized wheelchair.

Air Canada and WestJet, Canada's second largest carrier, said they will comply with the transportation agency's order. WestJet spokesman Richard Bartem said his company may consider extending the policy to international flights.

Bus, train and ferry companies have long made arrangements for free extra seats, but the airline industry had argued it would lose too much money by doing the same.

The transportation agency rejected claims that providing extra seats would impose an "undue hardship" on airlines, saying they can afford the financial burden.

The agency estimated the cost to Air Canada at about $7 million Canadian (A$8.7 million) a year and to WestJet at about $1.5 million Canadian (A$1.9 million) a year. The agency said that amounts to about 77 cents Canadian a ticket for Air Canada and 44 cents Canadian for WestJet.

To put it another way, the agency said the cost would be 0.09 per cent of Air Canada's annual passenger revenue and 0.16 per cent of WestJet's revenue.


Top court backs free seat ruling for some disabled, obese travellers
Last Updated: Thursday, November 20, 2008 | 4:08 PM ET
CBC News

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a regulatory ruling requiring airlines to offer a free extra seat to certain disabled and obese people.

In a decision released without comment Thursday, Canada's top court rejected an application by Air Canada and WestJet for permission to appeal a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling issued earlier this year.

The court's decision means airlines must offer a "one person, one fare" policy to disabled people who require room for an attendant during the flight or require extra room for a wheelchair, or for people who are clinically obese and take up more than one seat.

Bus, train and ferry companies have long agreed to such arrangements, but the airline industry has argued it would lose too much money by doing the same.

The case has wound its way through various agencies and courts for years. It was originally brought forward in 2002 by three parties:

* Victoria resident Joanne Neubauer, who has rheumatoid arthritis and requires a personal attendant, wheelchair and crutches.
* Eric Norman, a man from Gander, N.L., who had a rare disease that impaired his motor skills. He has since died.
* The Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

Calgary law Prof. Linda McKay-Panos, who was later granted intervener status, has been arguing for the rights of obese travellers since she was charged for 1½ seats on a 1997 Air Canada flight.

McKay-Panos argued anyone who is clinically obese has a disability and should not have to pay for more than one seat. She has polycystic ovary syndrome, an incurable condition that can lead to obesity.

McKay-Panos said Thursday she was happy with the decision, but her main concern is how the airlines will implement the new regulations.

"I think whatever they do, it has to be done with dignity and not in public and [not be] humiliating or anything like that, and not in front of people on the airplane," she said.

Spokespeople for WestJet and Air Canada said they will comply with the decision.
Questions surrounding decision

But WestJet spokesman Richard Bartrem said there are still many unanswered questions.

"Will we be putting criteria in place to determine whether somebody travels with an attendant out of necessity or out of desire?" he said. "What is morbidly obese? How are we going to be able to make that determination and implement that respectfully, and consistently and fairly?"

In 2006, the agency held public hearings on air travel costs for people with disabilities.

This past January, the CTA ruled airlines must offer a single fare to people with disabilities who require an attendant during the flight and clinically obese passengers. It gave the airlines one year to implement the policy.

WestJet and Air Canada turned to the Supreme Court after the Federal Court of Appeal rejected their bid to appeal the ruling.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:05 AM

November 24, 2008

Trends Toward Inclusive Tourism in Industry Ethics Statements

This new item together with application of CRPD Article 30 and the explicit promotion of Inclusive Tourism by the Responsible Tourism movement portends hopeful future:

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics inaugurated its permanent secretariat on the occasion of its seventh meeting (Rome, November 14-15). The secretariat will provide technical and expert support to the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, in particular, promoting and disseminating UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics looked at ethical aspects of important issues for tourism such as facilitation of tourist travel, HIV travel-related restrictions, and the recent launch of the new UNWTO Campaign to Protect Children from Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.

“Expressing the social responsibility of the Tourism Sector is one of the main contributions of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism”, said Dawid De Villiers, chairman of the Committee.

“Few sectors of the economy are so strategically positioned as tourism to make a meaningful contribution to the major challenges of our times. Tourism is per excellence a people to people activity, and the strength of the industry can be deployed to help cement peace and tolerance, promote development, create jobs, stabilize societies, and root out the abuses that can infiltrate society through tourism,” he added.

The committee articulates its program of work around four main objectives:

1. strengthening the knowledge and promotion of the Code;
2. improving its implementation;
3. providing a consultation and conciliation mechanism; and
4. developing a corpus of guidelines for stakeholders.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, received the members of the World Committee, observers, and UNWTO representatives for an informal group audience at the Vatican. The Secretary-General of UNWTO, Francesco Frangialli, gave a copy of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to the Pope.

The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles whose purpose is to guide stakeholders in tourism development: central and local governments, local communities, the tourism industry, and its professionals, as well as visitors, both international and domestic.

The official recognition by the UN General Assembly to the GCET (December 21, 2001) further encouraged UNWTO to promote an effective follow-up of the Code.

Assistant Secretary General & Spokesperson: Geoffrey Lipman
Media Officer: Marcelo Risi T: +34 91-567-8178 /8100 F: +34 91-567-8218 Email: comm@UNWTO.org
www.unwto.org/index.php

Posted by rollingrains at 08:01 PM

November 21, 2008

Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission Recommends Universal Design

The worst natural disaster in Iowa history was the severe weather and flooding that hit the state of Iowa during the months of May and June 2008. Governor Chet Culver called it the "500 year flood". It displaced 40,000 Iowans.

The governor's Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission recently issued its final recommendations for a long-term vision of recovery and rebuilding. Universal Design was recommended in the context of the required large-scale infrastructure rebuild necessary. Livability is a prerequisite to being a destination of choice. It is encouraging to read of forward-thinking communities who take advantage of adversity to achieve inclusion through design:

The commission also emphasized the importance of infrastructure investments in sewer systems, roads, and bridges. The panel recommended that the state should take the lead in planning, establishing expectations statewide, and securing funding for infrastructure repair, rebuilding, and construction.

The state should complete a comprehensive infrastructure plan, including transportation, and develop state policy regarding incorporation of smart development principles, green building practices, energy efficiency measures, universal design, and livability appropriately into infrastructure initiatives, the commission recommends.


Source:

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2008/2008-11-19-092.asp

Posted by rollingrains at 09:52 PM

November 18, 2008

Follow up on Rami Rabby, DragonAir, and the CRPD

You may recall Jim Fruchterman's report on the injustice he witnessed being done to former US State Department employee Rami Rabby on a DragonAir flight. Below are further developments including Ravi's letter to Chinese president Hu Jin Tao


To: President Hu Jin Tau
People's Republic of China

Dear Mr. President,

I am a blind person, retired from the diplomatic service of the U.S.
Department of State and now living in Israel. On September 16, 2008, I
travelled on an El-Al flight from Tel-Aviv to Hong Kong where I joined
a small group of sighted American friends, all of us associated to a
greater or lesser degree with the Hadley School for the Blind, a
highly-renowned international correspondence school for the blind
which operates a branch, Hadley/China, in Fuzhou. Our threefold
purpose was to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of
Hadley/China; to visit a number of other schools and service agencies
for the blind and disabled; and to spend some time sightseeing. I
write to you because, on one occasion at the Hong Kong International
Airport and on a second occasion at the Great Wall, I was subjected to
profoundly demeaning and humiliating treatment by officials whose
condescension toward the blind and low expectation of their abilities
where more egregious than any I have encountered elsewhere on my
extensive international travels.

On the first occasion, I and my fellow travelers where scheduled to
fly from Hong Kong to Fuzhou, on Dragonair flight 660, at 08:50 AM, on
Sunday, September 21. After boarding the aircraft, three of us who
were all assigned to the same row, agreed that I would sit in the
aisle sit. Imagine my astonishment when one of the flight attendants
ordered me to move to the window seat because, she said, "blind people
must sit by the window". I asked why; she simply said that was the
rule; so, in the absence of any rational explanation, I declined to
move. This exchange proved to be just the beginning of an hour-long
argument: I, on the one hand, repeatedly asked for a rational
explanation of the "blind by the window" regulation, while, on the
other hand, all members of the crew, including the captain, as well as
other airport officials, adamantly refused to provide me with an
acceptable rationale. They did say the regulation was aimed at "the
safety of passengers", apparently ignoring the fact that I, too, was a
passenger with the same rights and safety needs as my sighted
counterparts. I begged the captain to call his superiors and ask them
for a rational explanation, but he repeatedly rejected my appeals and,
instead, attempted in vain to embarrass me by telling me that I was
preventing all my fellow passengers from reaching their destination,
again, ignoring the fact that I, too, was a passenger and that a
senseless regulation was preventing me, too, from reaching my
destination. Finally, at approximately 09:50 AM, the captain said he
had no other option but to call the police, whereupon two officers of
the Hong Kong Police boarded the aircraft, forcibly lifted me out of
my seat and removed me from the plane. Jim Fruchterman, a member of
our group, documented the incident with his camera and added a
narrative of his own to the photographs, before posting the story on
his blog
(http://benetech.blogspot.com/2008/09/dragonair-hauls-rami-off-
plane.html), which I have attached for your review. Once I was in the
passenger lounge, I asked the Dragonair staff to contact the Israeli
Consulate in Hong Kong (since I was travelling on my Israeli passport)
and, failing that, to notify the Israel Embassy in Beijing of the
incident. There was no answer at the Consulate, and the Dragonair
staff refused to call the Embassy. The Dragonair staff did contact
Omer Kurlender, El-Al's Security Manager at Hong Kong International
Airport, who promptly came to see me. It is with his encouragement
that I am writing this letter. However, more importantly, I also fell
into conversation with Mr. Alaric Youd, an officer of the Hong Kong
Police, who was the only person throughout this ordeal willing to say
publicly what I had suspected all along, namely, that the reason
Dragonair insists that blind passengers sit in window seats only is
their fear that, in the case of an emergency evacuation during takeoff
or landing, a blind passenger seated in an aisle seat would inevitably
impede the rush of all sighted passengers toward to exits. If this is
not the reason for Dragonair's "blind by the window" regulation,
please let me know what the real reason is. May I take this
opportunity to thank Officer Youd for his moral support and to appeal
to you and to the Hong Kong police authorities that he not be punished
for his candor and honesty?

Eventually, the Dragonair staff told me they would schedule me on the
next flight to Fuzhou, this time on China Eastern Airlines. I wondered
if history was about to repeat itself, but when I arrived at the China
Eastern Airlines counter, the reservationist immediately asked me,
"would you like an aisle seat, a middle seat or a window seat", and
added, "We have no regulation about where blind passengers should
sit".

On the second occasion, on September 28, we were visiting the Great
Wall. Like most members of our group, I decided not to walk up the
Great Wall but rather chose the more leisurely transportation option
of an individualized cable seat much akin to seats on ski lifts
familiar to blind skiers or to seats on Ferris wheels much loved by
blind visitors to fairgrounds throughout the world. However, upon
arriving at the admission gate, imagine, again, my astonishment when
the gate agent barred my entry, declaring, "no blind people allowed".
Alleging, here, too, that the issue was one of safety, the officials
in charge urged me to ride up the Great Wall on what they called "the
special cable car for the blind" which was located some distance away.
Having no alternative, I decided to try the so-called "special cable
car for the blind", although I suspected this was nothing more than a
ruse by the officials at the Great Wall to get rid of me; and indeed,
I was right. A sign at the embarkation point for the "special cable
car for the blind" read "free cable car for leg disabled". But not
only that: the place was deserted and the "free cable car for leg
disabled" was not in operation, presumably pressed into service only
when advanced notice is given of the arrival of a disabled tourist.

Mr. President, within the past three months China has staged what are
generally regarded as the most impressive Olympic and Paralympic games
ever. While the whole world was watching you showed us the best China
has to offer. However, the two experiences I have related to you lead
me to wonder if China's Olympic and Paralympic face was only its
public face, and if there lurks, behind that public face, a hidden
reality which, at least for the blind and disabled, tells a different
story far less wholesome and far less welcoming.

The fact is that the executives at Dragonair have no empirical
evidence, only false assumptions, that blind airline passengers in an
emergency evacuation would not be able to find the exits as quickly
and efficiently as their sighted counterparts. Surely, any of the
blind Paralympics competitors could have convinced those executives
that their argument is deeply flawed. I myself would be happy to
demonstrate to them how fast the average blind person can move when
necessary. And what about emergency evacuations from an airline cabin
plunged into darkness or filling with smoke? In that situation, blind
passengers would not only move faster than those around them but would
be able to take charge and lead fellow passengers to safety. But
underlying Dragonair's "blind by the window" regulation is not only a
false premise about the physical abilities of the blind but a far more
disturbing implication, namely, that the lives of blind passengers are
not as important as the lives of sighted passengers, and that their
need for survival is somehow not as urgent.

As for the exclusionary policy of the authorities at the Great Wall,
it, too, reflects outdated notions about blindness and blind people
that utterly false and should be condemned by modern societies
everywhere. Behind the advice give to me to use the "free cable car
for leg disabled" is the traditional thinking that blind persons not
only have dysfunctional eyes but dysfunctional legs, too. Again, one
must ask how this myth still survives in a country which has just
concluded hosting the Paralympic games? Moreover, the "free cable car
for leg disabled" reflects that pernicious tendency, on the part of so
many authorities, to always opt for segregative solutions rather than
inclusive and integrative solutions, when seeking to accommodate the
perceived needs of people with disabilities.

Mr. President: it is my understanding that China has recently ratified
the International Convention on the Rights of People with
Disabilities. May I suggest that, if you wish to comply with the
spirit of that Convention, you immediately embark upon a national
drive to eliminate prejudice, discrimination, low expectation and
paternalism toward people with disabilities from all public life in
China, and replace them with a belief in the abilities of people with
disabilities and with policies that demand equality of opportunities
for them in the mainstream of Chinese society.

I know that you have
the capacity to this because, during my visit to the Shanghai World
Financial Center, I detected notations in Braille on the elevator
panels of that magnificent building, all you now need to do is to
inculcate that same message of welcome, equal access and complete
social integration in such unenlightened companies as Dragonair, at
such national monuments as the Great Wall, and everywhere else in your
otherwise wonderful country.

Sincerely,
Avraham (Rami) Rabby

LIUJunyi Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 10:03 AM
To: Avraham Rabby

Dear Mr. Rabby,
Thank you very much for your letter. We are very sorry to hear about
your unfortunate encounter in China. We are sure that these are
individual incidents that doesn't always happen to all disabled
persons. I want to ask you whether you have send the letter to relevant
authorities in China?

With Best Regards,
Ms.LIU Junyi
Third Secretary
Embassy of China in Israel
222, Ben Yehuda St. Tel Aviv
Tel: 00972-3-5467312
Fax: 00972-3-5467251
Mobile: 00972-52-8392699
Email: assist_dashi@hotmail.com


_________________________________________________________________


Avraham Rabby Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 6:26 PM
Draft To: LIUJunyi
Daer Ms. Liu Junyi:

Thank you so much for your letter responding to the letter I had sent
to President Hu Jintao.
I am afraid we are not talking, here, about an "individual incident
that doesn't always happen to all disabled persons." The basis for the
Dragonair incident was a company policy by Dragonair designed to apply
to all blind passengers, not just myself. Since no other Chinese
airline seems to have the same policy, Dragonair all blind and otherwise physically disabled visitors use the cable system, not just myself.
I did not send my letter to any government authorities in Hong Kong
or China, since it was extremely difficult to obtain the necessary
email addresses. Therefore, I should be most grateful to you would
work to persuade both the Dragonair management and the authorities at
the Great Wall to change their policies and adopt and more enlightened
posture to people with disabilities in line with the International
/Convention On Tithe Rights Of People With Disabilities which was
ratified by the Peoples Republic of China on August 1, 2008.

Sincerely,
Avraham

Posted by rollingrains at 11:20 PM

November 17, 2008

Entornos Maritimos Inclusivos ("Waypoint-Backstrom Principles") (Spanish)

El Diseño Universal es una tradición, pensada para tierra, originada por el arquitecto tetrapléjico Ron Mace y sus colegas durante los años 70. Aplicado sistemáticamente y modificado al entorno marino, esta aproximación de diseño comenzó a ser conocido como los Principios Waypoint-Backstrom a comienzos de los 2000.

La tradición marina como historia documentada conforma la experiencia humana. Aunque especie aparecida sobre tierra firme pero fascinada con el agua, el género humano siempre ha mirado los cursos de agua y el mar en las naves.

La navegabilidad es una medida de ajuste entre el medio en que una nave acuática debe navegar y la habilidad de los humanos para usar de esa nave para sus propios propósitos. El Diseño Universal recoge esta dinámica esencial en la base de la navegabilidad.

El Diseño Universal (también denominado “Inclusivo”) es un conjunto de siete principios credos para mantener un equilibrio entre los requisitos ambientales y los humanos, durante el proceso de diseño, construcción y uso de un entorno, un producto o un sistema de servicios.

El Diseño Universal es un marco para el diseño de lugares, de cosas, de información, de comunicación y de política para ser usables por la gama más amplia de personas en la gama más amplia de situaciones sin un diseño especial o separado. Aún más simple: el diseño universal es diseño centrado en lo humano, para todas las cosas y pensando en todas las personas.El diseño universal también se llama Diseño Inclusivo, Diseño para Todos y Diseño de Vida Util.No es un tipo de diseño, sino una orientación a cualquier proceso de diseño que comience con una responsabilidad enfocada a la experiencia del usuario.

En una época donde los avances en materiales y construcción se han encontrado con los nuevos mercados para la industria acuática, el Diseño Universal se ha aplicado con éxito a los kajaks, yates, grandes buques de compañías de cruceros y todo aquello existente entre lo uno y lo otro. Esta democratización de la propiedad de barcos y la migración de actividades de ocio, deporte, y lujo a un entorno acuático, por una gama cada vez más extensa de personas, refleja y anticipa expectativas contemporáneas de una inclusión social completa para personas con todas las gamas de capacidades. El diseño universal es una tradición, pensada para tierra, originada por el arquitecto tetrapléjico Ron Mace y sus colegas durante los años 70.

Aplicado sistemáticamente y modificado al entorno marino esta aproximación de diseño comenzó a ser conocido como los Principios Waypoint-Backstrom a comienzos de los 2000, a través del trabajo de Sherri Backstrom y los colegas reunidos de la empresa Waypoint Yacht Charter Services. Los Principios Waypoint-Backstrom asumen el uso de los principios de Diseño Universal, pero la naturaleza altamente cambiable de ambientes acuáticos conlleva incluso aplicaciones de una relevancia más alta en la entrada y salida (embarque y desembarque), transporte intermodal, seguridad personal, e impacto humano en el entorno natural. Se espera que estos principios continuarán hasta conformar una tradición marítima hacia el día en que todas las personas o todas las gamas de capacidades puedan y “hacerse con seguridad y libremente al mar.”

Principios:

1)Diseño Universal.

Los principios de Diseño Universal son un elemento esencial de la navegabilidad.

Las asunciones de la funcionalidad de las capacidades (físicas, intelectuales o sensoriales) de la tripulación o de los pasajeros como una constante por encima del tiempo, en cualquier caso individual o uniforme, a través de la población de dueños y de usuarios de una nave a lo largo de su vida útil deben ser cuestionadas. Las decisiones de diseño tomadas en base a presunciones de exclusión sobre usuarios humanos deben ser desafiadas como creadoras de una nave innavegable.

2) Diseño para la autosuficiencia.

Las naves constituyen la inserción de un ser "terrestre" en un ambiente marítimo. Las necesidades de aprovisionamiento, de carga de combustible, y de gestión de residuos introducen apremios de diseño que requieren atención equilibrada tanto para las sostenibilidad social (Diseño Universal) y la sostenibilidad ambiental (Diseño Verde).

3) Diseño para condiciones extraordinarias.

La práctica marítima asigna tradicionalmente papeles y responsabilidades bien definidos a bordo. Las asunciones de diseño van a continuación. Las presunciones sobre las capacidades (físicas, intelectuales o sensoriales) del desempeñante ideal de un rol si se diseñan en productos, espacios y prácticas pueden resultar ser desastrosas en situaciones de emergencia . En tales situaciones puede suceder que la única persona disponible para llevar a cabo una tarea salvavidas o de evacuación, puede no detentar la capacidad presunta en el diseño, se deba ésta situación a una lesión temporal del tripulante, o por el desempeño de la misma por un niño, una persona mayor, o de una persona con una discapacidad permanente. El diseño para las condiciones extraordinarias es un principio que acepta definiciones actuales y en evolución de la discapacidad como la interacción entre la capacidad (funcionalidad) y el entorno (diseño; respuesta social a la variedad de la funcionalidad humana). “Se imagina” la discapacidad como consecuencia normal de la vida y se diseña para ella de manera proactiva.

4) Diseño para la modularidad y la revisión

Mientras que un principio de la base del Diseño Universal es que el diseño sea suficiente “sin ser especial o separado”, la frecuencia del mantenimiento necesaria para naves, especialmente en un ambiente del agua salada, proporciona frecuentes ocasiones para que se efectúen mejoras a la hora de acomodas pasajeros y tripulantes con diferentes capacidades. El diseño de nave original que preve los protocolos modulares de mejora y protocolos de mantenimiento que cuestionan la experiencia de a bordo para que las oportunidades de diseño inclusivo sean mejoradas, se debe fomentar.

5) Diseño para la transferencia intermodal.

Se han desarrollado sistemas sofisticados y eficientes para cargar y para descargar naves, para acarrearlas a tierra, o para transportar mercancías. Se ha carecido, sin embargo, de una apertura de mente y de una imaginación similares, además de avances tecnológicos en lo referente a pasajeros humanos. Las presunciones de que toda la tripulación y pasajeros pueden embarcar, moverse libremente, y desembarcar con seguridad y autónomamente de una nave, deben ser examinadas a fondo en la etapa de diseño y ser repasadas sistemáticamente en la operación de la nave.

Se debe prerstar atención muy especial al efecto de condiciones climáticas y ambientales, el envejecimiento, y la discapacidad temporal o permanente de parte de la tripulación y los pasajeros. La transferencia intermodal, por su naturaleza, implica bastante más que el diseño de una sóla nave. Requiere la atención a la interfaz entre naves y sistemas de muelle (fijos o temporales) y los sistemas de evacuación de emergencia. El documento estándar en el mundo es actualmente, en este tema, " Accessible Boating Facilities: A Summary of Accessibility Guidelines for Recreation Facilities" terminado en 2002 y publicado por la United States Access Board en 2003, con frecuentes actualizaciones y comentarios.

Sherri Backstrom y Scott Rains
Waypoint Yacht Charter Services
4648 Lakeway Drive
Bellingham , WA 98229
E-mail: sherri@waypointcharter.com
Email: contact@waypointcharter.com

Dr. Scott Rains
Consultant
E-mail: srains@oco.net

Fuente:

http://www.polibea.com/turismo/noticia6.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:43 PM

November 10, 2008

International Monitors Elected for CRPD

States that are parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities elected the first twelve members to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; formally setting up a mechanism for countries that have ratified the Convention to report on their implementation efforts.

The Committee, made up of independent experts, was established and its members elected during the first session of the Conference of States Parties, held in New York on 31 October and 3 November 2008.

Starting 1 January 2009, Mr. Ronald McCallum AO (Australia), Mr. Monsur Ahmed Choudhuri (Bangladesh), Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes (Chile), Ms. Jia Yang (China), Mr. Germán Xavier Torres Correa (Ecuador), Mr. György Könczei (Hungary), Mr. Mohammed Al-Tarawneh (Jordan), Ms. Edah Wangechi Maina (Kenya), Ms. Amna Ali Al Suweidi (Qatar), Mr. Cveto Uršič (Slovenia), Ms. Ana Peláez Narváez (Spain), and Mr. Lotfi Ben Lallahom (Tunisia) will serve as members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Committee will review periodic reports from States Parties, raise concerns, if necessary, and make recommendations to the States Parties concerned. The Committee will receive and consider claims of violations of the Convention, from individuals and groups under the jurisdiction of States that have also ratified the Optional Protocol. The Committee can also initiate enquiries when informed of reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations of the Convention.

Members of the newly established Committee on the Rights of Persons with disabilities were elected from a list of experts nominated by 23 of the 41 countries that have ratified the Convention. However, experts do not represent their countries; rather they serve in their personal capacity.

Six of the initial twelve Committee members will serve a full four year term while the other half will serve two years. The latter will be eligible for re-election for a full four year term.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol entered into force on 3 May 2008, marking a new era in efforts to protect the rights of the world’s 650 million persons with disabilities. States that ratified the Convention commit themselves to enact laws, and harmonize legislation, policies and programmes to be in line with the Convention, removing barriers in society that discriminate against persons with disabilities. The Convention does not create new rights; rather, it sets out with much greater clarity the obligations on States to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The Convention has been signed by 136 countries and ratified by 41. The Optional Protocol has received 79 signatures and 25 ratifications.

For further information, please visit: www.un.org/disabilities or contact Franck Kuwonu of the UN Department of Public Information, tel. 1 212 963-8264; e-mail: kuwonu@un.org.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:43 PM

November 08, 2008

Advocating for American Leadership on Inclusive Tourism

President Barack Obama has taken e-governance to heart and launched a policy development campaign at Change.gov.

But we as the disability community have another channel. It is the Obama Disability Policy Committee. Obama has promised to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - and Article 30 deals explicitly with tourism. Below is a letter being circulated by ReunifyGally

It is time for people with disabilities, our loved ones, our neighbors, and colleagues to join together, across ideological divides, to reach out to Obama. We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at kdale@barackobama.com), with copies to Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee at (ahayesku@hotmail.com).

First, we should thank Obama — and also Kareem Dale — for mentioning
people with disabilities in Obama’s acceptance speech on November 4.
Ensure that they understand how much it matters simply for us to be
included. How did you feel when Obama mentioned us? Share your story.

Second, we should tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are aware of
Obama’s disability platform. He promised Americans with disabilities that he would:

Increase educational opportunities
End discrimination
Increase employment opportunities
Support independent, community-based living

And he promised to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first international, legally-binding human rights treaty for people with disabilities. Article 30 of the CRPD is the section that all my focus is on – tourism and disability.

Tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are ready to call the President to account if he
fails us. But more importantly, we are ready to work with him for change for people with disabilities.

It is important to send your disability-related emails to BOTH Kareem Dale AND Anne Hayes (kdale@barackobama.com AND ahayesku@hotmail.com) between now and inauguration day. Kareem Dale’s email address may change between now and January 20, 2009. Anne Hayes can help ensure
that emails sent to Kareem Dale are not lost during this time of transition.

Both Kareem Dale and others who have worked on disability issues within the Obama campaign are ready to receive YOUR emails on disability-related issues for US President-elect Obama. Emails are
welcome from across the United States and around the world. If you are a US citizen, then please say so in your email.

Learn more about Obama’s plan for people with disabilities at:
http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/

Yes, the video is captioned. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can download Obama’s Full Plan for people with disabilities in PDF format (62 Kb).

Read Obama’s acceptance speech at:
http://www.barackobama.com/2008/11/04/remarks_of_presidentelect_bara.php

Want to read someone else’s letter to Obama before you write your own?
Come to:
http://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/thank_you_obama_disabilities/

Learn more about the CRPD at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/
For a break out CRPD Article 30 see this article.

If you wish to contact Obama’s staff on some topic other than
disability, then you can send an email via his web page at
http://www.change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople

Please circulate this email freely, or post this at your own blog or
web site.

This text was first posted at
http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obamadisabilities-email-obama/ The most updated version will be there,
so please consult before cross-posting.
“It is the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat
and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay,
straight, DISABLED and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to
the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue
States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

~ President-Elect Barack Obama
Acceptance speech, November 4, 2008; emphasis added

Posted by rollingrains at 10:50 PM

November 07, 2008

Advising President Obama on Tourism: An Initiative by the National Tourism Association

eTurboNews reports that the National Tour Association is extending its campaign to advise the US government on issues of tourism:

Leaders of the travel and tourism sector of the national economy will convene to share ideas and prepare recommendations to assist President-elect Barack Obama in accelerating the economy through travel and tourism. The outcomes will be presented to President-elect Obama, his transition team, and key members of Congress following a meeting in Washington, DC on December 16.

A broad cross-section of travel and tourism leaders has been invited to be a part of creating workable solutions for the struggling economy. The participation of more than 20 organizations has been confirmed including leaders representing packaged travel, lodging, travel agents, cruise lines, ground transportation, air transportation, and special interest travel, according to the National Tour Association, which is managing the effort.

Source:
http://www.eturbonews.com/6047/travel-and-tourism-sector-convenes-draft-recommendations-presiden

At the time of this post staff at the National Tourism Association are researching my inquiry on how the organization intends to position Inclusive Tourism as well as the market of senior and disabled travelers in their policy recommendations.


Posted by rollingrains at 11:31 PM

October 24, 2008

Blog Action Day: Followup & Followthrough

Blog Action Day Graph.gif


The 2008 Blog Action Day on Poverty included:

12,800 Bloggers
14,053 Blog Posts
13,498,280 Readers

The RollingRains.com contribution was "The Disability & Poverty Nexus - and Tourism as a Path to Sustainability"

And work on the disability and poverty connection continues. The UN General Assembly is informally discussing a resolution on the Millennium Development Goals and disability. It includes promotion of Universal Design. In as much as it promotes the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) it promotes Inclusive Tourism (as covered in CRPD Article 30.) The International Disability Alliance has suggested the letter below as one way for citizen advocates to express their support.

Dear Mr./Ms. Minister of Foreign Affairs (or Head of Delegation):

As members of the Disability and Development community, we want to encourage your government to play a substantive and active role in favor of mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals (during the fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action (A/63/183) which will be reviewed by the GA during its 63rd session (6-8 October under Social Development). The report was envisaged as a contribution to reinforcing the disability perspective in reviews of the progress made, and challenges encountered, in implementing the MDGs as requested by GA resolution 62/127.

Mainstreaming disability in the MDGs will help to ensure that no one is excluded from the processes of global development. In view of the enforcement of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, new and concerted efforts should be made in order to accomplish the advancement of persons with disability in the context of development.

It is important to note the importance of promoting universal design, the design of products, environments, programmes, and services which are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Such increased accessibility benefits all members of society, not only persons with disabilities. Simultaneously, it is also relevant to state that disability specific programs addressing MDG concerns are also needed to guarantee the full inclusion of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to promote a resolution on mainstreaming disability in the MDGs during the fifth review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action at the 63rd Session of the GA

Sincerely,


Posted by rollingrains at 11:58 PM

October 18, 2008

Walking on Water: Taking the Next Step to Inclusion

Over on the Temple University Disability Studies blog is a the following quote from Simi Linton's book My Body Politic:

My earlier body had been trained to walk such steps and my eyes to appreciate their grandeur. I grew up thinking, although I'm sure I never said it out loud, that steps are either a pragmatic solution, a means to connect spaces of different heights, or they are an aesthetic element, added onto a design because it makes the building more beautiful. But now, with their function lost to me, their beauty began to fade, and I saw something I hadn't noted before--attitude. Steps, and particularly these steps at Columbia, seemed arrogant. The big buildings sitting up on top said, "The worthy can climb up to me, I will not kneel down and open my doors to those below me."... The design of steps forbids the wheelchair user, and the designer of these steps, deliberately or unwittingly, provided us only a solitary and difficult route to get where those steps took all others. (p. 57)

http://disstud.blogspot.com/2008/10/simi-linton-on-disability-and.html

Disability with a rapid onset during youth seems to produce such searing insights into self and reality as Simi was capable of. For those who achieve disability through aging, enlightenment is often slowed but still life-changing when it breaks through. Often, as our recent interviews with yacht owners and builders revealed, it brings changes to expectations for inclusion in areas most often reserved for the mature and financially stable Yachting, for example.

With the Waypoint-Backstrom Principles of human-centered maritime design the aesthetic of exclusion is further peeled away as maritime design is no longer given safe harbor to exclude.

The Principles start by assuming Universal Design and proceed to a closer look at the interplay between function and disability in a water-based environment. As Alan Sorum quoted Sherri Backstrom in his piece "Universal Marine Industry Design":

"One of our objectives right now is pulling together a team from around the world to further develop these Principles. We envision a team which will include the experienced, as well as the innovative in the fields of yacht designers, engineers and builders, UD maritime product developers, owners and investors of new and redesigned accessible yachts, and UD engineers involved in the development of inclusive land-side/maritime amenities."

Source:
http://boatingsailing.suite101.com/article.cfm/universal_marine_industry_design

More on the Waypoint-Backstrom Principles:

http://www.waypointcharter.com/Waypoint-BackstromPrinciples-Sept2008.htm

Attitudes of seaworthiness are changing as human-centered design gains prominence.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:13 PM

October 15, 2008

The Disability & Poverty Nexus - and Tourism as a Path to Sustainability

The November issue of Design for All India will include the Waypoint-Backstrom Principles on human centered maritime design.

The 3rd annual i-CREATE International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology will take place in Singapore in April two weeks after South America's massive REATECH Feira Internacional de Tecnologias em Reabilitação

So why are these milestones in the evolution of Inclusive Tourism part of a post on alleviating poverty?

Isn't tourism the ultimate in nonproductive and discretionary expenditure serving only the rich?

Not as it is being pursued every two years at our International conference on Inclusive Tourism held in Taipei May 2005, Bangkok 2007, and scheduled for Singapore in 2009. There the foundation in the work of UNESCAP through the Biwako documents and clarified in post conference declarations follows the reasoning of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MGD) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Disability is a cause of poverty. Tourism is one of the world's largest and most culturally impactful enterprises. Inclusion in the right to travel is not only guaranteed in Article 30 of the CRPD but, when done according to the seven principles of Universal Design, the infrastructure built by or for the tourism industry alleviates poverty by enabling social inclusion for generations to come. It is not necessary to belabor the point - just wander Beijing after the Paralympic Games.

Yet the very inclusion of disability as a category meriting observation when measuring progress toward the Millennium Development Goals is being overlooked. Recently a gathering of 200 Africans concerned about this problem met and declared:

We, the 200 delegates of the Millennium Development Goals and Disability Conference from the, Central, Eastern, Northern, Western and Southern sub regions of Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Panafric Hotel on 15th to 17th September 2008, to examine the status of MDGs in respect to the inclusion and mainstreaming of disability;

And further to enhance the capacity of leaders from the disability and development sectors on effective mainstreaming of disability in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in African countries;

Noting that MDGs have no specific reference to persons with disabilities and therefore their continued exclusion in the campaign processes, policies, planning, programmes and implementation;

Concerned also that disability has not been mentioned in the midway Millennium Development Goals Report;

Further acknowledging that the convention on the rights of PWDs has recently come into effect, to among other things strengthen the resolve for inclusion of people with disabilities;

We note with dismay the continued categorisation of people with disabilities as vulnerable which further marginalises us and consigns us to invisibility, we state that we wish to be recognised as actors in the development processes;

An opportunity is being missed. Calls for corrective action have gone out to the highest authorities.

In my consultations on Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development with governments, industry, professional associations, and disabled people'
organizations (DPOs) around the world I sometimes encounter the last concern in the list above in an odd way - people are afraid to treat us as consumers.

On the one hand that should not be so surprising when attitudes, policies, and architecture conspire toward social exclusion of people with disabilities. Yet, with a minimum of reflection, it becomes undeniably apparent that those of who pay the same as other customers expect access to the same product as other customers (after expending greater psychic and physical effort in the world's current barrier-rich environment to earn the money we are spending.)

Simi Linton in her book My Body Politic reflects on that process of coming to such undeniable truth in this quote picked up by the Temple University Disability Studies blog:

My earlier body had been trained to walk such steps and my eyes to appreciate their grandeur. I grew up thinking, although I'm sure I never said it out loud, that steps are either a pragmatic solution, a means to connect spaces of different heights, or they are an aesthetic element, added onto a design because it makes the building more beautiful. But now, with their function lost to me, their beauty began to fade, and I saw something I hadn't noted before--attitude. Steps, and particularly these steps at Columbia, seemed arrogant. The big buildings sitting up on top said, "The worthy can climb up to me, I will not kneel down and open my doors to those below me."... The design of steps forbids the wheelchair user, and the designer of these steps, deliberately or unwittingly, provided us only a solitary and difficult route to get where those steps took all others. (p. 57)

The transfer of wealth made by US citizens with disabilities to the tourism sector is astounding. Studies by the Open Doors Organization show that we annually average $13.6 billion US in travel and hospitality sales. While nearly all respondents reported significant barriers encountered in travel the resounding report was that we would double our travel if destinations were made accessible.

"Destinations" for travelers are "home" for the citizens who live there. Public transit, sports stadiums, government buildings, workplaces, and tourist sites made accessible through poverty alleviation projects like MDG attract the outside money of travelers with disabilities. If, as Brazil has done in Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, large scale projects are undertaken to bring people with disabilities into the tourism industry as professionals this transfer of wealth stays within the community. Economists take great pains to explain how that phenomenon generates new wealth and breaks cycles of poverty in marginalized communities such as ours.


Posted by rollingrains at 09:28 PM

October 11, 2008

India Takes Systemic Action on Inclusive Tourism

There have been numerous positive results from our recent consultations in India. Here is only one example:

Inclusive Tourism facilities mandatory for projects & tourism sites: MoT

By Krupa Vora | New Delhi

To further augment the tourist arrivals in the country, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has made it mandatory for all projects and tourists sites being developed that are being funded by it to incorporate elements of Inclusive Tourism, a segment that comprises and services People with Disabilities (PwD). As part of this mandate, all projects funded by MoT from now on will have facilities to cater to PwD like ramps, parking areas, restrooms etc. which will make travel convenient for PwD tourists. However, the Ministry is yet to take a call on developing facilities for tourists with special needs for projects that are already underway.
Speaking to Travel Biz Monitor, Devesh Chaturvedi, Director, MoT said, “It is mandatory for all MoT funded projects to provide facilities for Inclusive Tourism. This will help expand the scope of travellers coming into India.” There will be no separate investment for creating facilities for Inclusive Tourism as they will be part of the blue print of the projects.

“The projects and requirements to address the needs of Inclusive Tourism is very large, however if this is taken up in a phased manner it will work wonders for the tourism industry of India. Also, initially the facilities should be implemented at select destinations like for instance ones in the Golden Triangle, to study the effectiveness. Later the initiative can be implemented at other tourist destinations across the country,” said Rajiv Kohli, President, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) India Chapter. Last month ASTA, Society of Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) and MoT in conducted a series of seminars addressing the need for developing Inclusive Tourism in India.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:42 PM

October 06, 2008

Australia Leads Support for People With Disabilities in Asia Pacific

Australia released the draft strategy for consultation at the International Conference on Disability, Disadvantage and Development in the Pacific and Asia held 29 September – 1 October as part of its strategy to become the regional leader in promoting disability rights. Australia has recently ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and, in addition to a disability strategy for its aid program, is preparing a national disability policy to be released in 2009. With a longstanding program promoting Inclusive Tourism Australia could take global leadership by linking the economic engine of tourism to its aid and national disability policies.

The strategy paper can be downloaded here:

http://www.ausaid.gov.au/keyaid/pdf/draft_disability_strategy_09to14.pdf

Press release:

http://www.ausaid.gov.au/media/release.cfm?BC=Latest&ID=1213_3874_2510_2635_942

Posted by rollingrains at 03:50 PM

October 01, 2008

The Graz Declaration on Disability and Ageing (2006)

The Graz Declaration on Disability and Ageing resulted from the June 8-9, 2006 conference on Ageing and Disability in Graz, Austria.


The GRAZ DECLARATION on DISABILITY and AGEING

Preamble

Throughout this declaration we use the term “ageing people with disabilities”. People with disabilities are a diverse group including people with physical, sensory, intellectual disabilities[1], developmental disabilities, people with mental health problems as well as with complex and multiple disabilities as outlined in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) (WHO, 2001). These disabilities may be life-long, or acquired during the ageing process. It is broadly recognised that many of the disabling conditions for people as described here are caused by society.

In constructing a European area of rights, participation and inclusion, special attention should be given to elderly citizens with disabilities in order that they may be enabled to enjoy a life of opportunities that are equal to those of other citizens.

The topic of ageing has been recognised as a top theme on the European agenda. European societies are characterised by a rising proportion of old and very old citizens. A continuing increase in life-expectancy is predicted for the decades to come along with a continuing reduction in birth rates in most of the European countries (described in the European Commission’s Green Paper “Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations”, (March 2005). We are in a society that is increasingly getting older but one that is unprepared to meet the needs and interests of this group of people, particularly those with disabilities.

Fundamentally, we believe that ageing is associated with the development and acquisition of experience, wisdom, competence and respect. These developments and values apply equally to ageing people with disabilities. Ageing can often, however, be associated with negative connotations, such as declining physical health and cognitive abilities, inactivity, poverty, social isolation and social dependency. Moreover, with respect to ageing, greater prominence should be given to concepts of healthy and active ageing. Promoting positive perspectives through active ageing strategies may result in an added value to the individual as well as to society. We also recognise that ageing people with disabilities are progressing towards the ends of their lives and that this may bring particular challenges in ensuring that they achieve this with dignity and respect.

Issues for consideration by governments are the financial costs of providing for old age: the increasing needs for social and health care, as well as the growing need for assistance and care for older ageing people with disabilities (compare the special report 1/2006 of the European Commission, Economic an Financial Affairs: “The impact of ageing on public expenditure (2004-2050)”). Thus ageing and disability will be the test for inclusiveness of European societies for the decades to come, with community living and independent living being key elements on that journey. Overall, it will be about the quality of people’s lives in the community and about appropriate support services required. The greater challenge is to be able to recognise and address the general and shared needs of all ageing people and those with disabilities at the same time as being able to emphasise and meet the very specific and varied needs of the individuals in these groups.

Within the group of older citizens in general, two groups can be identified that need special attention in terms of policy planning, systems of supports and rights - groups specifically addressed in the Graz Declaration.

Firstly, people with intellectual disabilities who now enjoy a similar life expectancy to the general population, are not considered in most of the programmes, strategies and statistics either on European or on national levels. Systems of support for citizens with intellectual disabilities are often poorly or not developed when dealing with the issue of ageing. There are consistently gaps in the legislations in the various member states with respect to emerging groups of disabled older citizens, such as people with intellectual disabilities.

Secondly, a significant proportion of older people experience dependency for the first time during the later stages of their life, often as a consequence of age-related loss in functional capacity. A substantial proportion of older people with functional dependency may need long-term nursing-type care during the final years of their lives.

Recognition must also be given for both these groups to the increasing number of ageing people with disabilities who are living in mutual dependency with elderly family members.

There may be differences between these two groups in terms of their needs and supports, as well as differences between them and the general elderly population, a background often neglected and now addressed in the Graz Declaration.

Furthermore, policies tend to be focused only on the issue of care, disregarding necessary policy reforms for developing mechanisms for participation and independence. Without legislation that will allow the removal of barriers in goods and services, a more inclusive labour market, with measures for accommodating the work environment and facilitating job retention, society will be unable to meet current challenges.

Finally, little is being done to support the emergence of a “silver economy”, reflecting both the economic pressure of old age related expenses and the potential economic contribution of older citizens.

As a society Europe is only at the beginning of a learning process about old age. The fundamental challenge is to make the shift from the “welfare state” to the “welfare society” through developing structures and regulations that allow people at all ages, whether they have a life-long disability or age-related dependency, to have equal opportunities for participation through inclusive policies and adequate support which are the main ingredients for a good life for older citizens with disabilities.

The delegates of the European conference on “Disability and Ageing – Ageing and Disability”, held in Graz, Austria, including various stakeholders from both the disability and ageing field:

· People with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities,

· Older people,

· Family and professional carers,

· Service providers,

· Authorities,

· Politicians and policy makers,

· Academics and researchers

· Health professionals

a) promote a positive ageing concept in which ageing is seen as a performance and achievement on the individual as well as a societal level;

b) affirm that ageing people with disabilities are entitled to basic human rights and fundamental freedoms as proclaimed in the “Charter of the United Nations” (1948), and as embedded in many other international declarations and conventions;

c) recognise the importance of the principles and policy guidelines contained in the “United Nations Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities” (1993) as well as recognising the “UN Principles for Older Persons” (1991) promoting the principles of independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity “in order to add life to the years that have been added to life” (UN, 1992);

d) recognise further the diversity of persons with disability as well the diversity of older disabled persons;

e) refer to the “Treaty of Amsterdam” (1997), developing the concept of citizenship in the European Union and reinforcing the guarantee of non-discrimination (Article 13);

f) are mindful that according to the “EU Charter on Fundamental Rights” (2000) discrimination both on the grounds of age and disability is prohibited by Article 21 and thus is a violation of the inherent dignity of the human person, and are mindful of the right of elderly people and people with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence and to participate in the life of the community (Article 25 and 26);

g) re-affirm the principle of “nothing about us without us”; striving to ensure that policies and measures affecting disabled persons cannot be decided without their involvement and consultation.

1) Declare

a) that all ageing persons with disabilities are full citizens, entitled to exercise their rights on the basis of respect of their individual choices and their differences;

b) that a culture of autonomy, dignity, choice and respect should be promoted towards ageing people with disabilities;

c) that all ageing persons with disabilities have the same right as others to make decisions about their own lives;

d) that there should be a presumption of capacity to make decisions and choices;

e) that support may be required for those with limited capacity to express choices and decisions, to enable the individual to do so. It is essential that such support respects the will and preferences of the person and is free from undue influence;

f) that it is unacceptable that ageing persons with disabilities continue to face significant barriers in terms of activities and full participation in society;

g) that it is unacceptable that a significant number of ageing persons with disabilities live without dignity in inappropriate, restrictive, secluded, non person-centred accommodation settings, regardless of their will, preferences, requirements and rights;

h) that there are strong concerns about the high risk of multiple, aggravated forms of discrimination, such as social exclusion, marginalisation, poverty, neglect, violation and abuse for ageing people with disabilities;

i) that ageing people with disabilities have as equal a right as the general population to health promotion / disease prevention programmes and health care as well as to appropriate support systems, enabling better quality of life and thus facilitating active ageing and full participation in society;

j) that it is essential to respect human and civil rights in the day-to-day lives of ageing people with disabilities;

k) that home care and independent living measures should be promoted and segregating residential arrangements (e.g. institutions with no respect for options and choices) be replaced by community living in small groups, fostering social participation and citizenship, through adequate incentives and reform of social protection systems;

l) that elderly people, disabled people, and families should be involved in the definition of policies;

m) that professional as well as family carers should be consulted about their needs in the care of ageing people with disabilities;

n) that dialogue among all stakeholders (people with disabilities, families, providers, policy makers, researchers) be promoted by governments at all levels;

2) Agree

a) to promote a positive approach to, and empowerment of, ageing people with disabilities;

b) to defend human and civil rights of highly vulnerable ageing people with disabilities;

c) to strengthen social inclusion, integration and participation by promoting self-help and by respecting as well as supporting existing social, community and family networks;

d) to promote the needs of ageing people with disabilities within mainstream policy and strategy development, at the same time to promote the specific needs of this population within special parts of policy and strategy documents (twin-track approach);

e) to support a human rights and person-centred approach, recognising the individual needs, requirements, and preferences in the planning, development, funding and evaluation of national service provision;

f) to request the availability and affordability of community-based services and community living be developed in order to replace all kinds of segregating settings;

3. Recommend to

3.1. The European Commission

a) to produce, within a green paper, a framework for the development of standards of support and living conditions for ageing people with disabilities. The green paper should address topics such as living in the community, access to health and social care, the barriers to employment, design for all, e-inclusion, as well as ageing and dying with dignity;

b) to address this issue within the open method of coordination on social protection;

c) to develop comprehensive non-discrimination legislation in all areas of EU policy on the ground of disability and of age;

d) to address barriers in access to goods and services in the development of legislation in the internal market and transport;

3.2. The Member States

a) to develop supports for ageing people with disabilities that will ensure equal participation in the community, and to address affordability, accessibility, availability and adaptability of services, including health services (EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, Article 21, 25,26 and 35);

b) to take a human rights and person-centred approach to enabling ageing people with disabilities to live and participate in their community;

c) to gradually replace all kinds of segregating settings by community-based individual and small group living arrangements, and support for ageing people with disabilities living with their families;

d) to develop specific programs of health promotion / disease prevention for ageing people with disabilities;

e) to actively involve ageing people with disabilities and their families, in an outcome-based quality-management system of service provisions;

f) to develop existing and new, independent systems of advocacy, free of undue influence, to specifically address the individual needs of ageing people with disabilities who cannot advocate for themselves or have no natural informal social support network (e.g. family);

g) to be proactive in anticipating and developing specific support for ageing people with disabilities who live with ageing family carers;

h) to ensure that national legislation promotes and recognises supported information and decision making for ageing people with disabilities and to replace single- person substituted decision making and removal of legal capacity;

i) to adopt a stakeholder approach to involving people with disabilities, families, social service providers, policy planners and researchers in the definition of policies, and frameworks of provisions, services and supports;

j) to develop formal educational programs, training and information provision on ageing and disability issues (knowledge, attitudes and values), including a human rights and citizenship perspective for staff and other carers;

k) to recognise, encourage and reward informal social support arrangements through attractive frameworks;

l) to encourage and invest in both fundamental and applied research (holistic approach), including assistive technologies and new technologies on issues of age-related disabilities, as well as the ageing effects on people with disabilities, through public and private funding strategies;

3.3. Various social and civil actors

a) to develop existing or new social/civic structures to monitor and uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of ageing people with disabilities;

b) to promote collaboration between stakeholders both in the fields of disability and of ageing;

3.4. National and international organizations

a) to disseminate the principles of the Graz Declaration and to communicate their support of the present declaration to national and regional governments and bodies;

b) to communicate their support of the present declaration to the President of the Commission of the European Union.

______________________________________________________________


The GRAZ Declaration coalition:

European NGOs (in alphabetical order):

AGE: European older people’s platform www.age-platform.org

ARFIE: Association on research and training in Europe www.arfie.info

EASPD: European association of service providers for people with disabilities

www.easpd.org

EDF: European Disability Forum www.edf-feph.org

EURAG: European Federation of Older Persons www.eurag-europe.org

Inclusion Europe: The European association for persons with intellectual disability and their families www.inclusion-europe.org

Austrian NGOs (in alphabetical order):

Lebenshilfe Österreich www.lebenshilfe.at

Die Steirische Behindertenhilfe www.behindertenhilfe.or.at

Supportive correspondence will be transmitted through the GRAZ Declaration consortium via EASPD to the President of the Commission of the European Union.

Address:

EASPD

Av. d’Auderghem / Ouderghemlaan 63, B-1040 Brussels

Tel: +32/2/282 46 10, Fax: +32/2/230 72 33, e-mail: info@easpd.be

[1] Terminology: in the UK people with intellectual disabilities are commonly referred to as people with learning disabilities.

Siource:
http://www.ageing-and-disability.com/aad/index.php?seitenId=4

Posted by rollingrains at 06:35 PM

September 30, 2008

Papa Bento XVI defende prática do turismo sustentável, responsável e solidário (Portuguese)

O papa Bento XVI defendeu neste sábado um turismo solidário e responsável, que respeita a natureza e as culturas de todos os povos. Este foi o chamamento de Bento XVI, que recebeu em sua residência de Castel Gandolfo (a 30 quilômetros de Roma) os participantes de um seminário organizado pelo Centro Turístico Juvenil e pela Oficina Internacional de Turismo Social. O Papa explicou que a Igreja Católica defende a difusão do chamado 'turismo social', que "promove a participação das faixas mais débeis da sociedade e poder ser um válido instrumento de luta contra a pobreza, criando emprego, conservando os recursos e promovendo a igualdade".


Este tipo de turismo representa para Bento XVI "um motivo de esperança num mundo em que se acentuam as distâncias entre os que têm de tudo e os que sofrem de fome, carências e secas".

"É necessário, sobretudo no âmbito do turismo, que tanto se apóia na natureza, que todos tenham uma gestão equilibrada de nosso hábitat", acrescentou.

Para o Papa, nesta missão é de vital importância o trabalho das novas gerações, que devem ser promotores de um "turismo saudável e solidário, que rechace o consumismo e a degradação dos recursos, para dar espaço a gestos de solidariedade, amizade, conhecimento e compreensão".

Somente assim, disse o Pontífice, o turismo "pode se converter num instrumento privilegiado de educação para uma pacífica convivência".

O Papa disse também que a Humanidade "deve proteger o tesouro da criação e empenhar-se na luta contra o uso indiscriminado dos bens da terra, já que sem um adequado limite ético e moral, o comportamento humano pode transformar-se em uma ameaça".

Para Bento XVI, "a gestão responsável da criação integra, ou deveria, uma economia saudável do turismo", enquanto que ao contrário, "o mal uso da natureza e o abuso da cultura das populações locais causam danos também ao turismo".

Para o pontífice, a degradação ambiental "pode ser freada com a difusão de um comportamento que contemple estilos de vida mais sóbrios".

Fonte: EFE

Posted by rollingrains at 12:39 AM

September 29, 2008

A Rocket Scientist Witnesses a Blind Man Being "Launched" from a Dragonair Flight

Dragonair logo

I was finishing up my presentation for the 2008 Universal Design in Airports Conference that will start next Tuesday in Chicago. I speak on a panel led by my colleague and Greek-Brazilian-American friend Gus Zografopoules. The topic is "Where do people with disabilities go to get information on flying?" I thought I had nailed down the content. I was looking forward to exploring one of the wheelchair accessible trails shown to me last weekend by folks from the San Francisco Bay Greenbelt Alliance. Then I saw Jim's blog.

Jim Fruchterman's blog at Benetech.org will now be front and center in my talk.

The Rolling Rains blog chronicles a small percentage of the stories on air travel and disability that are sent here (see below) but Jim's tale helps us illustrate what is sometimes overlooked.

Some violations are so egregious that reflection on their deeper meaning requires a cooling down period. The shock value of some stories evoke outrage. Jim's story documents classic nonviolent praxis in the face of injustice. He tells the story in a way that allows for some critical thinking even while the story itself is fresh.

Simon Darcy made an observation about the market dynamics of travelers with disabilities in his game-changing research entitled "From Anxiety to Access." He alerted the world that that we are very well networked and leverage a disproportionately large referral market.

That point didn't need to be made explicit when we reported on billionaire Sminu Jindahl's mistreatment by Jet Air. It seems rather obvious that a billionaire might have more socially beneficial things to do than argue about her competence to sit in an airline seat - and probably had an influential social network.

Jim's Benetech.org is one of the San Francisco Bay Area's premiere social entrepreneurial enterprises. It builds technological solutions for entrenched social problems with such products as a database for documenting (and prosecuting) human rights violations called Martus and their rapidly-expanding service for those who need audio books known as Bookshare. He speaks regularly to industry leaders at events including the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Perhaps it is true that "all publicity is good publicity" but If Dragonair had contracted me to produce a "short list" of people who they would definitely not want to witness abusive practices on their part Jim's name would be on it.

It was unfortunate that Rami Rabby, the first blind foreign service officer working for the US State Department, was thrown off their Dragonair flight from from Hong Kong to Fuzhou. Like Jim I applaud Rami for the courage of his convictions.

But Jim is being overly humble so I also want to recognize his everyday heroism of solidarity and citizen journalism. He could easily have argued that he had more pressing things to do (yes he is literally a rocket scientist by training) yet he stood by witnessing and documenting this act of all-too-common injustice. Thank you Jim from our entire global community

A select list of similar incidents endured by air travelers with disabilities:

Katrina Segundo-Casino on Cebu Airlines

Lori Mango on American Airlines

Michelle Daley on Air France

Chrsitine Wolf on Qantas

Deaf discrimination by Tiger Airways

Rajeev Rajan on SpiceJet, AirSahara, and JetLite

Adele price on Air France

Qantas Issues a 'Non Servium" to a 72 year old

Deaf culture's response to airline discrimination

"Sometimes your just seen as a piece of luggage."

What was my presentation topic again - "Where do people with disabilities go to get information on flying?"

Same answer/new meaning: We go to our friends.

Read more on Benetech's contributions to the world at:

http://benetech.blogspot.com/

Posted by rollingrains at 07:40 PM

September 26, 2008

Disability and the UN Millennium Development Goals

Delegates of the Millennium Development Goals and Disability Conference from Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Panafric Hotel on 15th to 17th September 2008, to examine the status of Millennium Development Goals in respect to the inclusion and mainstreaming of disability.

THE STATEMENT OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND DISABILITY AFRICA REGIONAL CONFERENCE, HELD AT THE PANAFRIC HOTEL, NAIROBI, KENYA 15TH TO 17TH SEPTEMBER, 2008

We, the 200 delegates of the Millennium Development Goals and Disability Conference from the, Central, Eastern, Northern, Western and Southern sub regions of Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Panafric Hotel on 15th to 17th September 2008, to examine the status of MDGs in respect to the inclusion and mainstreaming of disability;

And further to enhance the capacity of leaders from the disability and development sectors on effective mainstreaming of disability in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in African countries;

Noting that MDGs have no specific reference to persons with disabilities and therefore their continued exclusion in the campaign processes, policies, planning, programmes and implementation;

Concerned also that disability has not been mentioned in the midway Millennium Development Goals Report;

Further acknowledging that the convention on the rights of PWDs has recently come into effect, to among other things strengthen the resolve for inclusion of people with disabilities;

We note with dismay the continued categorisation of people with disabilities as vulnerable which further marginalises us and consigns us to invisibility, we state that we wish to be recognised as actors in the development processes;

We Resolve As Delegates That We Shall;

· Communicate the outcome of this conference to our governments to review, prioritise and include issues of disability in their Country Statements during their high level meetings on MDGs in New York, in the September 2008 Summit

· Call on our Governments to move and support a motion during the UN General Assembly, calling for the establishment of a new UN Special Agency on Disability; to provide leadership, coordination, harmonisation and enhanced monitoring and reporting.

· Engage our Governments to ensure that People with Disabilities are protected from adverse effects from rising costs and related vulnerabilities and participate and benefit from existing social protection schemes

· Lobby Governments through the African Development Bank and related partners to establish an African Disability Equity Fund to support economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and business of people with disabilities

· Encourage the use of professional campaigners including goodwill ambassadors in promoting disability inclusion

· Recognise the efforts of parents, friends and guardians of people with disabilities and recognise them as part of the wider disability movement

· Uphold the principle of gender equity in disability

· Promote the use of positive language in reference to people with disabilities

We Urge The UN Through Member States;

· To establish a Specialist Agency on Disability in the league of UNICEF and UNIFEM to provide leadership and global accountability on matters related to the disabled people

· To prioritise include and partner with the disability movement in its entire millennium campaign initiatives and develop the strategies for doing so in the September summit

We Urge The AU And Related Bodies To;

· Set up a Disability Desk within all African regional bodies to monitor the implementation of both the convention and human rights violation of people with disabilities within the respective regions.

· Mainstream disability into their programmes and performance management systems

· Establish peer review mechanism and performance management system for disability in Africa

· Ensure political and social economic representation of people with disabilities in NEPAD and develop terms of reference for their participation.

· Work with DPOs to urgently review the structure and mandate of the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI)

· Extend the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities for another ten years by means of a proclamation by the meeting of the African Heads of State planned for January 2009

· Facilitate self- representation of PWDs in all commissions, Pan Africa Parliament and other structures

We Call On The Secretariat Of African Decade Of Persons With Disability to;

· Establish a programme to develop human resource capacity for policy analysis to act as a watch dog in monitoring disability inclusion

· Allocate responsibilities, roles and duties to the regional federations and other partners in order to ensure effective, well – monitored follow up and implementation strategies

We urge all Government to;

· Ratify, domesticate and implement the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

· Work with DPOs in nominating the members of the panel of experts in convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

· Recognise DPOs as agents of change and therefore as partners in development planning and programmes

· Include people with disabilities and disability into their poverty reduction and development programmes

· Put into place affirmative action to enhance participation in political social and economic sectors

· Include disability data collection within the general national data collection systems recognising diversity in disability

· Use data to inform planning and service delivery and monitoring and evaluation

· Highlight and include disability in the existing MDG indicators in partnership with the disability movement.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:05 AM

September 24, 2008

Economic Development & Disability: Central to the Mandate of Inclusive Tourism

"The Millennium Development Goals can be met by 2015, but only if all involved break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action now." - Kofi Annan

include everybody logo.png


While the Rolling Rains Report daily advocates for inclusion in the practice and policy of the tourism industry it does so knowing of the tremendous gaps in opportunity and income that are often painfully apparent firsthand to travelers with disabilities and those with disabilities in the receptive nations.

A strong global network is working to tackle disability as a development issue.


To coincide with this week's high level meeting in New York on the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs),
IDDC, (International Disability and Development Consortium) and the Millennium campaign are launching a new web site on disability and the MDGs:

www.IncludeEverybody.org

From the site:

What is the problem?

The Millennium Development Goals have the potential to make life better for billions of people in the world’s poorest countries. Yet when they were established by world leaders in 2000 they left out one in five of the world’s poorest people. This is not as surprising as it sounds. Disabled people have consistently faced discrimination and disadvantage, which is why disabled people are one of the largest single groups of excluded and chronically poor people in the world.

Without including disability in plans for tackling poverty the MDGs stand little chance of success. Disability is currently not included in indicators and targets set for the MDGs and disabled people are often excluded from international and national poverty reduction plans.

The site's main objective is to raise awareness among the general public
and NGOs /governments of the of the need for the MDGs and poverty
reduction programmes to address disability poverty.

The site is a work in progress and IDDC wants to link it to as many
other sites, sources and organisations as possible.

See:

www.IncludeEverybody.org

Posted by rollingrains at 05:52 PM

September 22, 2008

Travel and the ADA

Shirley Caudill's opinion piece at Kentucky.com is worth reading.

"ADA didn't remove all impediments" is a thoughtful article recounting the history of US legislation and illustrating with examples of where the yet-to-be-filled gaps remain by drawing from travel with a son who has a disability :

This summer, we went to Galveston Island in Texas, where we booked a trip with a local travel agent. He assured us that we had a room at the Hilton with a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and that the bathroom was handicapped accessible. It was not, and there was no balcony.

We had to go to the trouble of moving to another room that had a bathroom with handrails. The bathroom door was so heavy that I broke all my fingernails trying to open it from the inside.

Much the same thing happened when we went to Scotland, where the tub was too high, even for me. Again, the travel agent had assured us that the room was handicapped accessible.

Same thing happened in Panama Beach, Fla., and San Francisco, where there was no nearby parking. The hotel managers pretty much had the attitude: "Sorry about your luck."


Source:

http://www.kentucky.com/589/story/531336.html

Posted by rollingrains at 08:13 PM

September 16, 2008

EU Commissioner Tajani: The Commission will guarantee full transport accessibility

European Disability Forum press release:

Brussels, 11 September 2008 – “Ensuring full accessibility and equal rights to persons with disabilities is simply a question of realizing the internal market, and the right to free movement of all EU citizens”, said the Transport Commissioner and Vice-President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani at a meeting with an EDF delegation.

“It is my duty to respond to the demands of our citizens, and I will do my utmost to guarantee that accessibility to all modes of transport will be established, including European legislation”, he added.

Mr. Tajani also announced that the Commission is planning to come out with a package of proposals in December, including proposals on the rights of maritime and long-distance coach passengers.


“The Commission will take its role in monitoring the implementation of regulation 1107/2006 very seriously, and we are keen to be informed about any violations of the regulation in order to take appropriate action”, he said regarding the regulation on the rights of disabled passengers travelling by air, which was adopted in July.

Mr. Tajani declared his full commitment to ensuring, that the main principle of the regulation – the right to non-discrimination because of disability – shall not be overruled by any security measures or other internal air company policies.

He also requested the support of EDF to contribute to the successful implementation of the regulation on the rights of rail passengers (1371/2007) in order to ensure that all EU Member States guarantee the highest level of possible protection for rail passengers, and the regulation enters into application without delays.

“We are very satisfied with the meeting. The provision of equal rights for all passengers, including disabled persons, within Europe is one of the most important steps towards the opening of the internal market to disabled people. Freedom of movement is one of the four freedoms, guaranteed by the EU to its citizens, of which at the moment disabled persons take only limited advantage”, said the EDF Director Carlotta Besozzi.

“Now with the adoption of the air passenger rights regulation the situation is changing. The package of measures on the rest of the transport connections, which the Commission is planning to propose, gives hope for the future. It is, however, important, that the Commission looks at the other gaps and barriers, that disabled people face in transport such as the inaccessible general transport environment, and proposes a strategy which would bring an overall change”, she added.

For more information, please contact: Irina Papancheva, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; Mobile phone: (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; E-mail: irina.papancheva@edf-feph.org

Posted by rollingrains at 04:46 PM

September 13, 2008

Thank You Ministry of Tourism India!

Inclusive Tourism facilities mandatory for projects & tourism sites: MoT
Friday, September 12, 2008, 12:00 Hrs [IST]

By Krupa Vora | New Delhi

To further augment the tourist arrivals in the country, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has made it mandatory for all projects and tourists sites being developed that are being funded by it to incorporate elements of Inclusive Tourism, a segment that comprises and services People with Disabilities (PwD). As part of this mandate, all projects funded by MoT from now on will have facilities to cater to PwD like ramps, parking areas, restrooms etc. which will make travel convenient for PwD tourists. However, the Ministry is yet to take a call on developing facilities for tourists with special needs for projects that are already underway.

Speaking to Travel Biz Monitor, Devesh Chaturvedi, Director, MoT said, “It is mandatory for all MoT funded projects to provide facilities for Inclusive Tourism. This will help expand the scope of travellers coming into India.” There will be no separate investment for creating facilities for Inclusive Tourism as they will be part of the blue print of the projects.

“The projects and requirements to address the needs of Inclusive Tourism is very large, however if this is taken up in a phased manner it will work wonders for the tourism industry of India. Also, initially the facilities should be implemented at select destinations like for instance ones in the Golden Triangle, to study the effectiveness. Later the initiative can be implemented at other tourist destinations across the country,” said Rajiv Kohli, President, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) India Chapter. Last month ASTA, Society of Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) and MoT in conducted a series of seminars addressing the need for developing Inclusive Tourism in India.

Source:
http://www.travelbizmonitor.com/PrintArticle.aspx?aid=3626&sid=0

Posted by rollingrains at 01:24 AM

September 09, 2008

Mayor Sam Sullivan: Establish the Most Accessible & Inclusive City in the Country

Sam Sullivan.jpg

The Paralipmics are underway - but I'm already looking forward to the 2010 Winter Games. They will be in Vancouver, BC where Sam Sullivan is mayor.

Mayor Sullivan is a recipient of the nation's highest honour, the Order of Canada, for his community service on behalf of marginalized people. He has won several other awards, including the Terry Fox Award for national excellence, and the Christopher Reeve Award for his outstanding contributions to the community of persons with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities.

He obtained a Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University and has also taught himself the basics of several languages including Cantonese, Italian and Punjabi.

Sullivan broke his neck while skiing at the age of 19 and is a quadriplegic. He is the founder of six non-profit organizations that have improved the lives of thousands of North Americans with disabilities, including the Tetra Society which recruits technically-skilled volunteers to create assistive devices for people with disabilities (30 chapters throughout North America), and the Disabled Sailing Association which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to sail (20 chapters in North America). He is an avid sailor, and also enjoys hiking using an assistive device he co-invented called the TrailRider, a one-wheeled vehicle that enables people with disabilities to travel and participate in hiking/camping trips and is in use throughout North America.


From the web site of Mayor Sam Sullivan:

The following is a summary of accomplishments on this goal since the election:

* approved funding to establish “311 Access Vancouver” service in time for 2010 to provide information and city services around the clock and in multiple languages
* secured 2008 Beijing Paralympic Torch relay
* established regular online interactive surveys to gauge public opinion on important civic issues - resulting in over 4000 survey responses submitted
* $1.7 million annual funding increase over 2005 civic budget for Vancouver arts, culture & heritage projects
* worked with provincial government to develop $1 million accessible tourism strategy
* more accessible buses and taxis
* established a Triple R (Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships) panel to modernize Vancouver's volunteer civic agencies
* re-established Citizens Days to provide regular direct access with Mayor Sullivan
* increased cooperation with federal & provincial governments and outreach to First Nation and Metis
* supported expansion of Multicultural Helping Village to enhance community services for new Canadians
* initiated community roundtables on multiculturalism, accessibility & immigration
* renewed three-year funding agreement with Vancouver Heritage Foundation
* introduced Citizenship Ceremonies at Vancouver City Hall
* introduced YouthPolitik to encourage youth participation in local government
* conducted hundreds of hours of community meetings and public consultations
* approved a plan for guided tours of City Hall with the goal to educate newcomers and familiarize citizens with Vancouver, and its array of public services
* endorsed the recommendations of the Mayor's Task Force on Immigration, including providing funding for a recommended Business Summit to be held in Spring 2008

Posted by rollingrains at 09:28 PM

September 05, 2008

Eve of the Paralympics: Update on China

(New York, September 5, 2008) – Despite recent positive steps, discrimination against persons with disabilities continues in China and organizations for the disabled face government pressure and harassment, Human Rights Watch said today on the eve of the September 6 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

“The Chinese government deserves praise for enacting laws and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “But so far these protections have meant little to persons with disabilities and their advocates in China who struggle to promote their rights and, in particular, to fairly compete for employment.”

The Chinese government has in recent years enacted a variety of new laws including the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons, Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities, and the Regulations on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, which on paper provide impressive protections of the rights of China’s estimated 82.7 million persons with disabilities. Human Rights Watch applauded the Chinese government’s August 1, 2008, ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Human Rights Watch said that the new laws have not ended discriminatory employment practices.

Paralympic Pictograms

In June 2007, shocking images of workers who had been held in slave-like conditions in Shanxi brick kilns were published; many of the workers proved to have mental disabilities. Over the next two months, authorities endeavored to free 1,340 people from similar working conditions in kilns, mines, and other forced labor situations. In August 2007, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced that 367 of those freed had mental disabilities, underscoring that this population remains highly vulnerable to such exploitation.

A 2007 survey by the China University of Political Science and Law of 3,454 people in 10 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Nanjing, among others, revealed that 22 percent of the respondents said their physical disabilities had prompted employers in both the public and private sectors to reject them for jobs. Those attitudes may have contributed to unemployment of the disabled. Official statistics show that more than 8.58 million employable people with disabilities did not have jobs in 2007 and that this number rises by 300,000 per year. Although the government has imposed a mandatory quota requiring that people with disabilities comprise a minimum of 1.5 percent of all employees of government departments, enterprises, and institutions, there is little evidence of official efforts to enforce that quota.

Human Rights Watch called for the Chinese government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Optional Protocol, and to loosen restrictions on grassroots civil society organizations dedicated to assisting people with disabilities. Citizens of states which join the Optional Protocol can seek redress at the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities after they exhaust domestic legal remedies for convention violations.

The Chinese government has only in the past two decades begun to tolerate grassroots civil society organizations, which operate outside official bureaucracy and control of the Chinese Communist Party. However, such organizations, particularly those devoted to addressing the needs of China’s HIV/AIDS and chronic hepatitis B sufferers, continue to be targets for repression by Chinese security forces suspicious of such groups.

Meng Weina, founder of China’s Huiling Community Services, a nongovernmental organization which assists disabled people in eight major Chinese cities, complained of harassment by Shanghai police in a letter to the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees. A group of Meng’s mentally disabled students were harassed en route to the Special Olympics in Shanghai on October 11, 2007; Meng described the incident as evidence that Chinese police “believe that events initiated by civil society must be ‘dangerous’ and ‘destructive.’”

“Until the Chinese government tolerates a civil society which operates without threat of official repression and improves ordinary citizens’ access to justice, its commitments on paper to people with disabilities will remain limited,” Richardson said.

Human Rights Watch said that the Beijing Paralympics also offer the Chinese government an opportunity to fulfill its Olympics-related commitments to media freedom and internet access. During the August 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese government continued to obstruct media freedom and to restrict foreign journalists’ access to the internet.

“The Paralympics are the Chinese government’s last chance to live up to the Olympics-related human rights commitments made to the international community, but which were repeatedly violated during the Beijing Games,” Richardson said.

Source:
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/09/04/china19751.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 PM

Arab Advocate: "It doesn't need to be this way."

UNITED NATIONS // With her six-year stint as the UN's special rapporteur on disability drawing to a close, Sheikha Hissa Khalifa Al Thani questions whether handicapped people in the Arab world will ever get a fair deal.

During her time in office, Sheikha Hissa, a relative of Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has travelled from Morocco to Yemen, bringing together those with disabilities and government officials to promote equitable laws.

The UN's outgoing disability watchdog describes the Arab region as lagging behind the rest of the world.

"Disabled people are more marginalised and more isolated than other people. But specifically in the Arab region, they are invisible, because of negative social attitudes and the lack of a human rights culture," Sheikha Hissa said.

"It doesn't need to be this way. We don't have the same problems as the developing world, which suffers from a lack of resources. Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia could have standards like Scandinavian countries – but there is this obstacle, which is the lack of awareness."

Sheikha Hissa was appointed as the UN's disability inquisitor by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general, in 2003, making her one of the few people from the Gulf to hold a senior post in the world body.

Her three-year mandate to monitor and report on global conditions for handicapped people was extended in 2006 and she will complete her term at the end of the year.

With only a skeleton team, the Qatari royal has counselled politicians and handicapped people around the world, defining a set of 324 measures to ensure governments provide equal opportunities in hospitals, schools and the workplace.

Her key focus has remained the Arab world, and she will likely return to a regional position after hosting a swansong conference and ending her office on Dec 31.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said he "welcomed and supported Sheikha Hissa's continued work in this area and leadership in the region", according to a spokesman.

Sheikha Hissa was exposed to the difficulties experienced by disabled Arabs during her childhood, watching a polio-afflicted family friend struggle with a wheelchair.

In the early 1980s, she undertook voluntary work at Doha's hospitals and rehabilitations clinics while studying social sciences and sociology at Qatar University.

"During this time, I took part in conferences, and it was here that I noticed something different about the way people with disabilities were discussed in the Arab world," she said. "It was like people were talking from a charitable perspective, like they were taking pity on them."

She took these ideas to Helena University in Egypt, writing a thesis on care programmes for deaf Qatari children and graduating with a master's degree in social planning and social services in 1999. As rapporteur, Sheikha Hissa has advocated what she calls the "human rights approach". Disabled people should be entitled to the same rights to work, education and health care as everybody else – and granting these rights is a prerequisite rather than a concession, she said.

Conferences held in Amman, Rabat, Sana'a and Beirut since 2005 have brought politicians and disabled people face to face in a bid to generate discussion and debunk stereotypes.

"In many cases, this was the first time an Arab legislator had sat at the same table as somebody with disabilities and talked to them about their rights," Sheikha Hissa said during an interview with The National in her midtown Manhattan hotel.

She can reel off numerous examples that illustrate what she describes as her "struggle" against the attitude of Arab leaders.

"We had spent a long time at one of the conferences really exhausting the topic. Then, a parliamentarian from Bahrain got up and said those who had been plagued by disability during their lives would be rewarded in heaven," she said.

"But this was not the point. He was again saying that you have to be patient, but really we should be trying to make things better for disabled people now."

At another conference, Sheikha Hissa felt she had convinced one Kuwaiti politician of the "need for equalisation for all members of society, especially minority groups".

"But after that, I heard him being interviewed on the radio, talking about women in Kuwait's parliament. He said this would be the greatest shame on the nation if women were equal to men," said Sheikha Hissa.

A global UN treaty that came into force in May, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held out some hope for improvements after being signed or ratified by most Arab governments.

Signatories are bound to address the social, economic and cultural barriers that block disabled people from enjoying the benefits afforded to the able-bodied.

But Sheikha Hissa warns that treaty signings mean nothing if Arab politicians do not build the principles into law and improve conditions for handicapped people on the ground. Meanwhile, a social tradition of inter-family marriage leaves newborns highly susceptible to genetic defects.
Studies by the Dubai-based Centre for Arab Genomic Studies have found that people in the region experience among the highest global rates of genetic disorders, leading Sheikha Hissa to advocate for pre-martial genetic tests and caution against marrying relatives. "Despite all this progress, we are seeing in the Gulf, you still see this problem. I have visited families where the parents have had seven children, and all of them suffer from visual impairments. Or another case where there were four children and all were deaf," she said. "Of course, this is a matter of intermarriage. There should be more awareness on the part of the doctors, who should advise these families to think about stopping. And then again, there are families that do not want to listen. Again, it is about the culture."
http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080903/FOREIGN/331820926/1011/SPORT

Posted by rollingrains at 05:38 PM

August 26, 2008

A Post at BBC

You may want to read through this post at BBC and commentary:

So flying OUT of New York:

I skip the queues by inviting myself through all the 'elite access' lines for rich first class travellers, and no one seems to mind. We get to the bit where they screen your hand luggage.

Usually, I wave at someone to indicate a stick, they put the stick through the coneyer belt first and give it back to me.

On this occasion there is too much distance between me and the human being. It's noisy and crowded and I can't get her attention. So - possibly foolishly - I put the stick on the conveyor anyway and proceed: I can walk for a short while with no stick.

I get stopped by a VERY aggressive security type person who orders me to take my shoes off. I explain that I am willing to take my shoes off - always important to say that first! - but I cannot do that unless I am sitting down, and is it possible for me to sit down, please? She looks confused, I guess because I don't have my stick and am not at that precise moment looking obviously disabled. So I explain again.

So she shoves me into a side cubicle - glass fronted and locked so I can't get out(!) via the front, with her blocking the open side at the back and tells me to wait there. Now what I REALLY can't do with no stick is stand up for anything more than a few minutes, so tell her...


Full story:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbouch/F2322273?thread=5814358

Posted by rollingrains at 12:55 AM

August 18, 2008

Inclusão : ampla, geral e irrestrita; Audiodescrição (Portuguese)

Do blog de Fábio Adiron Inclusão : ampla, geral e irrestrita

A área da Deficiência anda em festa, pois há muito que comemorar, nos últimos tempos.

A audiodescrição (AD) é um dos fatos mais recentes: a Portaria N.o 466 (30/07/2008) concede o prazo de noventa dias para que as exploradoras de serviço de radiodifusão de sons e imagens e de serviço de retransmissão de televisão (RTV) acrescentem, na programação por elas exibidas, o recurso da audiodescrição, juntamente com a legenda oculta (closed caption) e a janela em Libras (língua brasileira de sinais).

Posted by rollingrains at 12:08 AM

August 03, 2008

The European Air Act: The Video Version!

From the European Commission comes 46 second captioned promotional video on new air travel regulations:

Are you interested in travelling by air? Would you like to receive assistance adapted to your needs? European legislation gives you rights on the ground and in the air, throughout the European Union. For more information, visit the European Commission's site http://apr.europa.eu

The video is available here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqGR4A3l1hI

Further information from ENAT

http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.themes.220

Posted by rollingrains at 02:29 PM

July 31, 2008

Turismo que Incluye a Todos

logo-1

Los gobeirnos de las naciones de America Central han prodizido un curso ejectutivo sobre turismo para todos.

logo_2f

EN EL CASO DEL TRATO CON PERSONAS CON DISCAPACIDAD

* La falta de INFORMACION para el libre desplazamiento en un destino

Las personas afectadas por alguna forma de minusvalía (concepto que involucra entre otros segmentos de la demanda al grupo de la tercera edad, grupo familiar con niños pequeños, niños, discapacitados temporales -mujeres embarazadas, enyesadas, etc.- y permanentes -motrices, sensoriales y mentales-, etc.), en el uso de su tiempo libre destinado a actividades turísticas y/o recreativas generalmente encuentran distintas situaciones de conflicto en el espacio turístico, que podemos agrupar en :

* Los ESPACIOS VERDES (Plazas y parques), en la ESTRUCTURA URBANA (Obras de saneamiento, cruces peatonales y vehiculares, etc.), en el MOBILIARIO URBANO (laminarías, bebederos, bancos, etc.)

* Los EDIFICIOS, en los que podemos destacar los destinados a ALOJAMIENTO hotelero y extrahotelero, las instalaciones para GASTRONOMIA (Bares, confiterías y restaurantes), y las instalaciones para el desarrollo de ACTIVIDADES CULTURALES como museos y salas de espectáculos.

* Las instalaciones para ACTIVIDADES CIENTIFICAS (Congresos y convenciones) se suman a las instalaciones para el desarrollo de ACTIVIDADES RECREATIVAS- DEPORTIVAS como estadios y sus espacios complementarios (Vestuarios, gimnasios, etc.). Estos son los ejemplos mas significativos de este segmento.

* El desarrollo de ACTIVIDADES LUDICAS en áreas naturales (Montañas, playas y ríos) y en áreas urbanas (zoológicos, casinos y discotecas) impiden por su conformación el acceso a estos atractivos.
*El variable TRANSPORTE también presenta situaciones de conflicto en el caso de terminales, accesos y áreas de estacionamiento, junto con los medios específicos de transporte aéreo, marítimo, terrestre y fluvial.

Las personas con discapacidad particularmente requieren índices mayores de seguridad durante su desplazamiento durante su tiempo productivo y durante el tiempo libre, principalmente en la faz informativa de servicios al usuario. Es conveniente considerar las siguientes recomendaciones de la Comisión Nacional Asesora para la Integración de Personas con Discapacidad:

"...Una persona con discapacidad podrá integrarse más o menos adecuadamente, de acuerdo al ambiente en el que le toque vivir: empezando por la familia y continuando con el medio educativo, recreativo, laboral, cultural, etc.: dentro de un enfoque físico e histórico concreto.

Por ello es necesario combatir la ignorancia, el desconocimiento, el mito, el prejuicio, etc., en que suele enfrentarse en torno de estas personas.
En este sentido se surgieron algunas propuestas con el objetivo de contribuir a la concientización y motivación de la comunidad en relación a la integración de las personas con discapacidad.

La integración es un proceso mutuo en el que intervenimos todos y se basa en el respaldo por el otro. Estar discapacitado no es estar enfermo; evite referirse a estas personas como enfermas o tratarlos como tales.

Fuente: http://www.paph-oea-cct.com/publicaciones/st01/libro/indice.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:36 AM

July 28, 2008

Para un turismo accesible a los minusválidos en los años 90 (Spanish)

La Oraganizacion Mundial de Turismo en su documento "Para un turismo accesible a los minusválidos en los años 90" considera con relación a este tema ciertas pautas de diseño:

"...A. Terminales, estaciones e instalaciones afines
1- Los pasajeros con deficiencias de movilidad en especial los que utilizan sillas de ruedas, deberían tener fácil acceso a servicios de transporte de ida y vuelta hacia y desde todas las terminales de los c/ Los prestadores de servicios deben contar con personal capacitado en la atención de PMR. medios de transporte.

2- Siempre que sea posible, las terminales deberían estar situadas a un mismo nivel o equipadas con rampas donde exista un cambio de altura.

3- Cuando sea necesario, deberían preverse rampas especiales o ascensores no utilizados para carga y otros fines, con destino a las personas con deficiencias de movilidad y a las que utilizan sillas de ruedas.

4- Los cruces de las vías de acceso deberían estar provistos de señales especiales y semáforos para las personas con deficiencias visuales o auditivas para que puedan atravesarlas con seguridad.

5- El acceso a los medios de transporte debería ser lo más sencillo posible y disponer de asistencia cuando sea requerida.

6- Las personas en silla de ruedas que tengan que trasladarse a sillas especiales de embarque, deberían poder hacerlo lo más cerca posible del medio de transporte, y las sillas de ruedas deberían ser almacenadas de modo que se les pueda devolver intactas inmediatamente a la llegada al destino o punto de tránsito

Fuente:

http://www.turismoparatodos.org.ar/tu

July 25, 2008

Samarthyam on Inclusve Tourism

Samarthyam, National Centre for Accessible Environments New Delhi (India) has issued a statement on the need for Inclusive Tourism in India.

Inclusive Tourism

Ms. Anjlee Agarwal, Executive Director
Mr. Sanjeev Sachdeva, Project Director

Samarthyam, National Centre for Accessible Environments
New Delhi (India)

www.samarthyamm.org

2008


1.1 Introduction

Tourism is a means of broadening horizons and developing friendship for a social group, which is less willing to remain, segregated from mainstream society. Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) have an equal right to travel with dignity and independence; access to all tourism infrastructures; products & services including employment opportunities and benefits that the tourism industry provides. PwDs, senior citizens and families with young children, are not considered potential customers by the Government and the service providers and are still an untapped market. Their travel experiences are characterised by transportation constraints, inaccessible accommodation to tourism sites and inadequate customer services.

1.2 Tourism in India- Some Facts

India is a country of continental dimensions with a fascinating kaleidoscope of diverse races, languages, religions, customs and traditions. The tourist attractions of India include historical monuments, places of religious importance, mountain and beach resorts, wild life, and interesting eco-systems, etc.

Tourism in India has grown substantially over the last three decades. Foreign tourist arrival during 2005 were 3.92 million and foreign exchange earnings were US $ 5730.86 million in 2005 to US$ 6569.34 million in 2006- an increase of 14.6%.

Domestic tourism plays a vital role in achieving the national objectives of promoting social and cultural cohesion and national integration. Its contribution to generation of employment is very high. An investment of Rs. 1 crore creates 470 direct jobs, which surpasses the employment potential from Agriculture and Industrial sector. With the increase in income level and emergence of a powerful middle class, the potential for domestic tourism has gone up considerably in the last few years. Every year 382 million domestic tourist’s visits are made.

The National Tourism Policy 2002 attempts to position India as a global brand to take advantage of the increasing global travel and trade and vast untapped potential of India as a destination.

1.3 Seven key areas identified are:

Swagat (welcome)
Soochna (information)
Suvidha (facilitation)
Suraksha (safety)
Sahyog (co-operation)
Samrachana (infrastructure development)
Safai (cleanliness)

However, none of the above key areas take into considerations requirements of disabled traveller. Also there are no statistics/data available on tourists’ with disability (both domestic and foreign) visiting places of tourist interest. There is no database maintained by Government agencies of the accessible tourist spots in the country. The efforts made by individuals/organizations are also scattered. There is a growing demand, for the tourism industry to improve its services to PwDs: accessible transportation, accessibility within hotel facilities and travel operators to provide tailoring packages to PwDs.

1.4 Access provisions for Barrier Free Tourism

1. Advocacy and negotiation with the Tourism industry and service providers.
2. Accessibility as criteria in ranking of hotels;
3. To make mandatory for petrol pumps on highways to have an accessible toilet.
4. Dissemination and sharing of information on Barrier Free Tourism.
5. Information material to be accessible to all.
6. Compiling database on accessible Tourists places (including accommodation).
7. Information and networking with disabled people and NGOs.
8. Highlighting the issue through electronic and print media.
9. Conduct Access Surveys.
10. Initiate one pilot project.


Case study of Dilli Haat- Access Audit & Strategic Implementation

1.1 Introduction

Samarthyam selected Dilli Haat, a famous tourist spot, a joint venture of Delhi Tourism, Union Tourism Ministry, Development Commissioner (DC) Handlooms & Handicrafts and the Ministry of Textiles, as its pilot project. It is spread out over six acres, set amidst idyllic environs that attempt to mimic the rural ambience of a traditional Indian little "Haat" or a weekly village market. It has high visibility value and ample scope of expansion, replicability and sustainability. On the basis of ticket sales for three months it was found that 180,000 domestic as well as foreign tourists visit Dilli Haat every month. Making Dilli Haat ‘Accessible to All’ would mean spreading the message to other parts of the country.

An access audit in ‘coordination’ with the architect of Dilli Haat was conducted in January 2001. The audit team examined the existing architectural plan of the complex, identified the problem areas and suggested possible solutions. The proposed changes included designated parking, uneven flooring in the front plaza, ticket counter height, access to office and handloom & handicrafts stalls, drinking water facility, toilets and other amenities.

1.2 Process

Samarthyam Access Resource Group worked with Mr. Pradeep Sachdeva, Architect, Delhi Tourism by providing standards, guidelines and accessible design layouts. The partnership between Delhi Tourism and Samarthyam culminated in the inauguration of “Barrier Free Dilli Haat” (first phase), on 28th March 2003. The changes include levelling of front plaza flooring, demarcated pathway, lowering of ticket counter, merging of level differences, around 17 small and big ramps with handrails are constructed which now provide access to Dilli Haat office, exhibition halls, stalls, STD/ISD booth, drinking water facility, approach to toilets, eatable stalls etc. The second phase would include designated parking, guiding and warning blocks and toilets.

Media highlighted the constructive work being done by Delhi Tourism and Samarthyam in making Dilli Haat, the first ever disability friendly tourist spot in the nation. The news items generated public awareness and discussion of accessibility issues in the tourism sector. The tourism department has committed to make all upcoming projects barrier free. “Garden of Five Senses” spread over 20 acres, reflects the same.

Dill Haat was awarded National Award by the Hon’ble President of India for the Barrier Free Environment category on 3rd December 2005.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:32 PM

Samarthya: A World-Class Example of Inclusive Tourism Promotion

One organization in India has distinguished itself on the national and international stage for innovation and expertise in Inclusive Tourism - Samarthya. It follows the path of "Promotion of a Barrier Free, Rights-Based Inclusive Society."

At the center of this remarkable organization are Ms. Anjlee Agarwal and Mr. Sanjeev Sachdeva. They have been trained in the Promotion of Accessible Tourism at Bali (Indonesia), 2000; Non-Handicapping Environment for Disabled People by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), 2002 & Asia Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD), Bangkok (Thailand) 2004. They have in turn taken this training and put it to continuous use for the benefit of their nation and the region.

* Sanjeev and Anjlee have represented India at various International forums such as: International Conference on Transport & Mobility for Elderly and the Disabled (TRANSED), Hamamatsu (Japan), 2004;
* Panelist at the 2nd International Conference for Universal Design, Kyoto;
* Guest Lecturer at Osaka Municipal Lifelong Learning Centre, Osaka, (Japan) October 2006
* Resource Persons at International Workshop on Implementing Accessibility Regulations in Sri Lanka, Colombo (Sri Lanka) December 2006

So far Samarthya has conducted Access Audits (facilities checks) of more than 80 public utility buildings in various States, most of them with implementation results.

In addition, Samarthya has organized more than 60 Awareness & Capacity Building Excursion Tours for persons with severe disabilities to Indian places of historical, cultural, religious and tourist interests’ promoting the concept of Barrier-Free Tourism. Some of the places visited include Agra, Mathura, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mt. Abu, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Dalhousie, Chamba, Amritsar, Shimla, Kurushetra, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Nainital, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mysore, Chennai, Tirupati, Goa, Port Blair, Bangalore, Gauhauti and Shillong.

Publications
include:

* Access for All- Technical Brochure on Internal & External Design Considerations prepared in consonance with internationally accepted standards and building bylaws fourth edition in English, Hindi and Braille for Professionals, Administrators and Planners.

* Authored first Training Manual to promote Barrier Free Environment- Guidelines for Training of Trainers, 2005 published by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). The contents as far as practicable, developed in Indian perspective with simple line illustrations, easy to understand format and result oriented case studies with photographs. Second Edition of the Manual is underway.

* Authored chapter in Handbook of Inclusive Education for Educators, Administrators and Planners, 2005 published by SAGE Publications; New Delhi/Thousand Oaks/London

* Authored chapters in Work Book for In-service Teachers, 2006 on Barrier Free Environment in Inclusive School published by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

* Currently reviewing of first edition of Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Environment for Disabled and Elderly Persons, 1998 by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, Government of India, is underway.

Other reports on Samarthya at RollingRains.com dating back to 2004 are available here.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:34 AM

Turismo Inclusivo na Argentina e Sergipe (Portuguese)

A Secretaria de Turismo da Argentina deu um passo importante ao definir as diretrizes para a acessibilidade nos alojamentos turísticos do país.

A consolidação dos esforços para convocar os empresários do setor hoteleiro argentino a aderirem o processo de implementação é a reta final para viabilizar as normas que entram em vigor em setembro próximo.

O evento, que teve lugar em San Martín de Los Andes, em meados deste mês, teve como objetivo familiarizar o setor de hospedagem com a questão da acessibilidade e do conjunto de práticas para viabilizar a sua aplicação. Em linhas gerais as autoridades do turismo argentino visam otimizar a prestação de serviços, assegurar a satisfação dos usuários e promover a inclusão sem discriminação.

Informações: www.turismo.gov.ar

Fonte: http://www.bj.inf.br/conteudo_visualiza.php?contcod=15787
__._,_.___

A Promotora de Justiça Especializada nos Direitos dos Idosos e das
Pessoas Portadores de Necessidades Especiais, Dra. Berenice Andrade,
reuniu representantes da Universidade Tiradentes (UNIT), do Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico
e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN), da Secretaria de Estado da Cultura, da
Empresa Municipal de Urbanização (EMURB) e da Secretaria de Estado do Planejamento
(SEPLAN), a fim de definir as ações de execução do projeto de acessibilidade à Câmara
Municipal de Aracaju.

Aberta a Audiência, o representante do IPHAN informou que, após a
reunião com a equipe da UNIT, foram efetuadas as modificações
solicitadas conforme o documento
apresentado, então o projeto foi entregue conforme as observações e
análise dos técnicos.

o projeto deverá ser analisado pela equipe da Secretaria de Cultura de
Sergipe, que emitirá o parecer conclusivo. Para isso, a representante
requereu o
prazo de sete dias. Já a SEPLAN e EMURB afirmaram que dentro do
encaminhamento tomado durante as audiências, o projeto atende à
acessibilidade.

Todo processo de plotagem do projeto arquitetônico de adequação será
feito pela equipe da UNIT, e em seguida, encaminhado à Promotoria de
Justiça.

Fonte: http://www.faxaju.com.br/viz_conteudo.asp?codigo=25720081391839750


Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 AM

July 23, 2008

Disability Body Blasts EU Anti-Discrimination Draft

A draft anti-discrimination directive from the European Commission has been criticised by a major disability lobby group for failing to cover technology accessibility standards.

The commission’s proposal, ‘Non-discrimination and equal opportunities: a renewed commitment’, deals with discrimination against people on the basis of disability, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and covers non-employment areas such as education, social security and health care (see http://fastlink.headstar.com/eur8).

In a statement European disability Forum (EDF) President Yannis Vardakastanis said the draft directive omits “important issues for persons with disabilities as the concept of universal design, the necessity of European and national accessibility standards and the right to services ensuring inclusion.”

In addition the document “leaves room for interpretation and will create legal uncertainties”, Vardakastanis said (see http://fastlink.headstar.com/edf2).

The EDF was created in 1996 to give a voice in the European Union to Europe’s 50 million disabled people (http://www.edf-feph.org).

Source:
http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=199

Posted by rollingrains at 06:36 PM

July 22, 2008

European Blind Union on Air Travel in the EU

As I prepare to fly to India to deliver a series of workshops on disability to the travel industry the following bulletin came in from the European Blind Union. With such common sense affirmations of the right to travel by people of all abilities it become all the more important that all tourist destination nations abandon discriminatory practices if they wish to participate in the profits of the growing seniors and disabled traveler market:

Over the past ten years the European Blind Union has been working to improve travel by air for blind and partially sighted, deaf blind and blind people with additional disabilities. As a result of our work, we are pleased to inform you that from 26 July 2008, the new Air Regulations come into operation at all airports throughout Europe.

To ensure these regulations work, we need your help in monitoring them at your local airport, to find out if they have in place, their staff with disability awareness training.

This must include the special requirements of training staff in the needs of blind and partially sighted people, which should include guiding a blind person, making sure that a wheelchair is not offered as an automatic help but only offered if the blind person has difficulty in walking.

Following are the parts of the regulations that you need to be aware of, and which we would like you to monitor for us. If you require a full set of the regulations they will be available from the Federation's office, address as above.

This summary is based on Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the same right as all other citizens to free movement, freedom of choice and non-discrimination. This applies to air travel as to other areas of life.

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility should therefore be accepted for carriage and not refused transport on the grounds of their disability or lack of mobility, except for reasons which are justified on the grounds of safety and prescribed by law. Before accepting reservations from disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility, air carriers, their agents and tour operators should make all reasonable efforts to verify whether there is a reason which is justified on the grounds of safety and which would prevent such persons being accommodated on the flights concerned.

In order to give disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility opportunities for air travel comparable to those of other citizens, assistance to meet their particular needs should be provided at the airport as well as on board aircraft, by employing the necessary staff and equipment. In the interests of social inclusion, the persons concerned should receive this assistance without additional charge.

Assistance given at airports situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies should, among other things, enable disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility to proceed from a designated point of arrival at an airport to an aircraft and from the aircraft to a designated point of departure from the airport, including embarking and disembarking. These points should be designated at least at the main entrances to terminal buildings, in areas with check-in counters, in train, light rail, metro and bus stations, at taxi ranks and other drop-off points, and in airport car parks. The assistance should be organised so as to avoid interruption and delay, while ensuring high and equivalent standards throughout the Community and making best use of resources, whatever airport or air carrier is involved.

To achieve these aims, ensuring high quality assistance at airports should be the responsibility of a central body. As managing bodies of airports play a central role in providing services throughout their airports, they should be given this overall responsibility.

Managing bodies of airports may provide the assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility themselves. Alternatively, in view of the positive role played in the past by certain operators and air carriers, managing bodies may contract with third parties for the supply of this assistance.

In deciding on the design of new airports and terminals, and as part of major refurbishments, managing bodies of airports should, where possible, take into account the needs of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Similarly, air carriers should, where possible, take such needs into account when deciding on the design of new and newly refurbished aircraft.

All essential information provided to air passengers should be provided in alternative formats accessible to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, and should be in at least the same languages as the information made available to other passengers.

Where wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices are lost or damaged during handling at the airport or during transport on board aircraft, the passenger to whom the equipment belongs should be compensated, in accordance with rules of International, Community and National Law.

Complaints concerning assistance given at an airport should be addressed to the body or bodies designated for the enforcement of this Regulation.

Member States should lay down penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation and ensure that those penalties are applied. The penalties, which could include ordering the payment of compensation to the person concerned, should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

An air carrier or its agent or a tour operator shall not refuse, on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility, to accept a reservation for a flight departing from or arriving at an airport to which this Regulation applies.

An air carrier or its agent shall make publicly available, in accessible formats and in at least the same languages as the information made available to other passengers, the safety rules that it applies to the carriage of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, as well as any restrictions on their carriage or on that of mobility equipment due to the size of aircraft.

A tour operator shall make such safety rules and restrictions available for flights included in package travel, package holidays and package tours which it organises, sells or offers for sale.

The managing body of an airport shall, taking account of local conditions, designate points of arrival and departure within the airport boundary or at a point under the direct control of the managing body, both inside and outside terminal buildings, at which disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility can, with ease, announce their arrival at the airport and request assistance.

The points of arrival and departure shall be clearly signed and shall offer basic information about the airport, in accessible formats.

Air carriers, their agents and tour operators shall take all measures necessary for the receipt, at all their points of sale in the territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies, including sale by telephone and via the Internet, of notifications of the need for assistance made by disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility.

When an air carrier or its agent or a tour operator receives a notification of the need for assistance at least 48 hours before the published departure time for the flight, it shall transmit the information concerned at least 36 hours before the published departure time for the flight: (a) to the managing bodies of the airports of departure, arrival and transit, and (b) to the operating air carrier, if a reservation was not made with that carrier, unless the identity of the operating air carrier is not known at the time of notification, in which case the information shall be transmitted as soon as practicable.

As soon as possible after the departure of the flight, an operating air carrier shall inform the managing body of the airport of destination, if situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies, of the number of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility on that flight requiring assistance and of the nature of that assistance.

When a disabled person or person with reduced mobility arrives at an airport for travel by air, the managing body of the airport shall be responsible for ensuring the provision of the assistance in such a way that the person is able to take the flight for which he or she holds a reservation, provided that the notification of the person's particular needs for such assistance has been made to the air carrier or its agent or the tour operator concerned at least 48 hours before the published time of departure of the flight. This notification shall also cover a return flight, if the outward flight and the return flight have been contracted with the same air carrier.

Where use of a recognised assistance dog is required, this shall be accommodated provided that notification of the same is made to the air carrier or its agent or the tour operator in accordance with applicable national rules covering the carriage of assistance dogs on board aircraft, where such rules exist.

If no notification is made, the managing body shall make all reasonable efforts to provide the assistance in such a way that the person concerned is able to take the flight for which he or she holds a reservation.

The assistance provided shall, as far as possible, be appropriate to the particular needs of the individual passenger.

Air carriers and airport managing bodies shall ensure that all their personnel, including those employed by any sub-contractor, providing direct assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have knowledge of how to meet the needs of persons having various disabilities or mobility impairments. They should also provide disability-equality and disability-awareness training to all their personnel working at the airport who deal directly with the travelling public, including that upon recruitment, all new employees attend disability-related training and that personnel receive refresher training courses when appropriate.

National Federation of the Blind of the UK
http://www.nfbuk.org

Posted by rollingrains at 01:58 AM

July 21, 2008

Comportamiento en sociedad: Personas con discapacidad (Spanish)

Una experta en protocolo y etiqueta escribió sobre el tema de personas con discapacidad y las normas de etiqueta para tener en cuentaen El Tiempo diario de Colombia.

Todo ser humano tiene derecho a las mismas oportunidades, de manera que depende de cada persona los éxitos que llegue logre en su vida y en su mundo profesional.

En el ámbito laboral es una máxima el permitir a quienes poseen algún impedimento acceder a puestos y desempeñar cargos de responsabilidad.

Sin embargo hace falta ponernos en el lugar de estas personas para saber actuar con prudencia y sensibilidad.

Me refiero además del comportamiento adecuado que se debe seguir, a la responsabilidad que deben sentir quienes construyen y diseñan espacios para que los tengan en cuenta en su labor.

Al respecto, me llega la siguiente consulta:

"Soy una profesional en mi área y como tal, participé en un concurso internacional para un cargo.

"Salí elegida, viajé y al llegar al destino previsto, tuve la primera entrevista con quien sería mi jefe. Él al verme en silla de ruedas, me dijo: "¡Uy! yo no sabía que usted era así, perdóneme", y se fue dejándome atónita.

"Sobra decir que hasta ahí llegó todo. Me vi obligada a regresar aterrada. Me gustaría conocer su opinión sobre esta situación.

Manuela

Discapacitados hay de varios tipos, los que padecen de un problema físico, como son los ciegos, los sordomudos y los que poseen discapacidad intelectual.

En algunos casos una misma persona puede sufrir de dos limitaciones al mismo tiempo y como tal requiere de mayor comprensión, respeto y consideración.


Siempre tienen prioridad, lo que significa que además de permitirles ingresar y salir en primer lugar de cualquier sitio, también se les debe ayudar en el caso de que no tengan quien los acompañe.


En cuanto a la adecuación física, es necesario prever situaciones para facilitarles el desplazamiento y su ubicación en toda ocasión, tanto en lugares públicos como en empresas y sitios de trabajo.


Por ejemplo, a los ciegos se les debe permitir ingresar con sus perros que hacen de lazarillos, y al respecto es preciso informar a las personas a cargo de las recepciones de los establecimientos para que lo sepan y lo permitan.

Al ubicarlos es aconsejable que sea cerca a los baños, puertas, ascensores, y en fin, que todo les quede lo más cómodo posible, y en especial, que sientan que se les ha tenido en cuenta con respeto.


Así se contribuido a que ellos pasen desapercibidas o por lo menos a que no llamen la atención. Se trata de evitarles las incomodidades.


Me ha sorprendido ver en las universidades a profesores ciegos que se desplazan con gran dificultad por falta de adecuación de los pasillos y salones de clase.

También, a alumnos llevando en brazos a un compañero discapacitado, debido a que las instalaciones no poseen la adecuación respectiva.

Se entiende que es costoso adecuar estos espacios para que se desplace una silla de ruedas, colocar las chapas de las puertas y demás muebles a la altura requerida.

Sin embargo, ya es hora de que nos pongamos a la altura de esta realidad para permitir que su incorporación a la vida cotidiana, se lleve a cabo de la manera más natural y exitosa posible tanto para ellos como para los demás

Es una simple norma de etiqueta ambiental el que las aceras, las calles, los hoteles, los restaurantes, los cines, los supermercados y cualquier auditorio tengan la adecuación requerida para los limitados.

Ojalá esa sea una realidad que pronto empiece a vivirse en nuestras ciudades.


Diana Neira Consultora de Imagen

susombra@gmail.com

Contenido publicado en El Tiempo punto com

http://www.eltiempo.com/vidadehoy/cronicasocial/2008-07-17/los-discapacitados-y-las-normas-de-etiqueta-para-tener-en-cuenta_4381298-1

Posted by rollingrains at 01:58 AM

July 17, 2008

Manual de Convivência (Portuguese)

Está disponível para download em PDF o Manual de Convivência, um guia prático de como se relacionar com as pessoas com deficiência.


Manual de Convivência: Pessoas com deficiência e mobilidade reduzida
http://www.vereadoramaragabrilli.com.br/manualc/manual_web.pdf

Posted by rollingrains at 01:02 AM

Hacer accesible el turismo beneficiaría al 35% de los ciudadanos europeos (Spanish)

Desde El Cisne:


El coordinador de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Oficina de Accesibilidad de Bélgica, Steven Vos, afirmó durante su intervención en el 'II Congreso de Turismo para Todos ENAT' que, teniendo en cuenta a las personas con discapacidad, a los mayores, a las mujeres embarazadas, a las familias con niños pequeños y a quienes tienen otras limitaciones, 'alrededor del 35% de todos los europeos pueden beneficiarse de las mejoras de la accesibilidad en el turismo', como las instalaciones y los servicios accesibles.

"No obstante, sólo un porcentaje muy pequeño del mercado se ocupa de las necesidades en materia de turismo accesible", agregó Vos. Este experto belga comentó que hay una gran cantidad de hoteles, servicios de transporte y lugares turísticos que "no son físicamente accesibles" para muchas personas con discapacidad y personas mayores. "Falta información precisa y accesible, los empleados no están capacitados para proporcionar servicios adaptados a las personas con discapacidad, y el personal de los servicios de turismo a menudo carece de formación sobre los medios para satisfacer las necesidades de accesibilidad de los turistas con discapacidad", agregó Vos.

Por su parte, la directora de Ocio y Bienestar del Reino Unido, Susan Thomas, hizo un llamado a los estados miembros de la UE para que compartan "las buenas prácticas", armonicen los criterios de accesibilidad y fomenten y permitan que todos los servicios relacionados con el turismo "elaboren y apliquen planes de acción sobre accesibilidad para mejorar la experiencia de los viajes y el turismo del cliente".

Por su parte, Ercan Tutal, representante de la Asociación Turca de Agencias de Viajes, habló sobre el turismo accesible en Turquía y comentó que en los últimos años se han producido muchos avances con el objetivo de convertir a Turquía en un lugar más accesible, con "más habitaciones para personas con discapacidad en los servicios de alojamiento, nuevos hoteles sin barreras y nuevos reglamentos en la accesibilidad del transporte". Asimismo, recordó que la normativa de la UE en materia de accesibilidad turística se basa no sólo en la "rehabilitación" de las personas con discapacidad, sino también en la "integración" de este colectivo en la sociedad, lo que se considera "una cuestión de derechos humanos". Tutal explicó que la asociación a la que pertenece creó una "Comisión de turismo sin barreras para todos", que, entre otras iniciativas, ayuda en la creación de una guía turística titulada "Estambul sin barreras para todos", dirigida a personas mayores y personas con discapacidad.

En representación de Noruega, Aina Olsen, consultora de la Dirección de Sanidad y Asuntos Sociales, destacó el hecho de que en el 2004 se estableciera una comisión en su país con el objetivo de crear un "sistema de etiquetado" para los destinos turísticos accesibles. Ello supone, en su opinión, un gran reto para "ver cómo un sistema nacional de etiquetado puede abarcar las necesidades de todos los grupos de discapacitados". En cuanto a las medidas que se pueden tomar para convencer al sector turístico de la necesidad de adoptar el sistema de etiqueado, Olsen destacó que hay que "apelar a la conciencia social", porque el bienestar de las personas con discapacidad "no es sólo responsabilidad del sector sanitario, sino también del turístico", sin obviar que "la gran proporción de personas con discapacidad y mayores suponen un área de mercado muy importante".

En este sentido, la secretaria delegada de la Asociación de Turismo y Discapacidad de Francia, Emmanuelle Tulliez, comentó que desde su institución se ha creado la etiqueta "Turismo y Discapacidad", que comprende los cuatro tipos de discapacidad (motora, visual, auditiva y mental) y todos los alojamientos turísticos, hostelería, sitios turísticos, lugares de ocio, etc. Dicho sello distintivo, explicó, "sirve para potenciar los esfuerzos de las personas que trabajan en la industria del turismo y hace una invitación a todos los que quieran abrir sus lugares a la mayor variedad de clientes".

Posted by rollingrains at 01:00 AM

July 16, 2008

Marriott Courtyard in Columbia, SC

Watchdog ( Tony Bartelme ) at the Charleston Post and Carrier reports on abuse of disabled parking spaces and ignorance of the law by staff at a local hotel. While this abuse is common the Post and carrier is to be commended for taking notice of such a "small" infraction and protecting the safety of the disability community as we travel for work and pleasure -- and probably stay at a competitor's hotel:

Last April, Laura Kirkham was a guest at Marriott Courtyard in Columbia and noticed these materials stored on a disabled parking space. [photo in original article here ]

Kirkham said she uses crutches and that this was the only covered handicap parking spot at the hotel. She it would have been helpful to have this space available because it rained several inches during her stay. "Rain and crutches are a treacherous combination," she noted...

Michael Wells, a manager, told Watchdog that the hotel has 189 spaces total, five of which are for disabled motorists, including the one covered up. He said the hotel was only required to have four. He declined additional comment.

In fact, the hotel is required to have 6 spots available at all times.

Total Parking in Lot -- Required Minimum Number of Accessible Spaces

1 to 25 -- 1

26 to 50 -- 2

51 to 75 -- 3

76 to 100 -- 4

101 to 150 -- 5

151 to 200 -- 6

201 to 300 -- 7

301 to 400 -- 8

401 to 500 -- 9

501 to 1000 -- 2 percent of total

1001 and over -- 20 plus 1 for each 100 over 1000

Source: access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 11:54 PM

July 12, 2008

US National Parks Web Site on Disability Access

Crater-Lake

From the web site:

The National Park Service has developed and made available a web site to aid visitors with disabilities and special needs to find accessible trails, programs, activities, and other features at national park units nationwide. It is hoped that we can assist visitors and their families and friends in travel planning to the NPS site of their choice. Visit the “National Parks: Accessible to Everyone” website at http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/access/index.htm to learn about what opportunities are available in parks for visitors with disabilities and special needs.
Posted by rollingrains at 12:31 AM

July 11, 2008

Will You Be Traveling to Ohio?

The following video was produced by Day al-Mohammed to support discussion of disability issues by the US presidential candidates.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:23 PM

July 08, 2008

Transforming / Re-Forming Tourism. Perspectives on Justice and Humanity in Tourism’: Perspectives from 25 years of civil society

ECOT Transforming Tourism.jpg


The Ecumenical Council on Tourism has published, "Transforming / Re-Forming Tourism. Perspectives on Justice and Humanity in Tourism," edited by Ceasar D'Mello

A review by Dr. T T Sreekumar entitled, "Practicing the Rage: Perspectives from 25 years of civil society engagement in Tourism", begins:

Tourism has eclipsed traditional industries and livelihood options in many parts of the world and has emerged as the single most important industry in several countries. However, studies that seek to understand its impacts on economy, environment, and culture are constrained by methodological and theoretical limitations. One of the reasons for the ambiguities and inadequacies in the area of tourism research has been its inability to properly appreciate the importance of the ethical dimensions of human development.

The review continues:

Review of TRANSFORMING, RE-FORMING TOURISM: PERSPECTIVES ON JUSTICE
AND HUMANITY IN TOURISM-A Publication marking the twenty fifth
anniversary of the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism. Editor: Ceasar
D’Mello by Dr. T T Sreekumar

A focus on the distributional and socio-cultural effects of tourism within the framework of ecological approaches to development would help understand the complex and diverse impacts of tourism on nations, regions and local communities. Tourism certainly engenders a framework for redistribution as it opens avenues for consumption and production. Nonetheless, redistribution that disregards the political and ethical imperatives that would mould its shape and directions would reinforce structures of unequal exchange.

Regarded as a third world phenomenon, tourism is indeed a post
colonial challenge. Its discourses encompass some of the major debates
in justice, development, deprivation and freedom in the era of
decolonization. Institutional critique of tourism began to take shape
in the post colonial period responding to the growing concerns about
combating poverty and other development maladies in the poor
countries. Janus-faced character of tourism in contemporary
discourses, (as a universally replicable model of development and as
an instrument of oppression, dispossession and cultural
disintegration), emanates from the contestations that generated the
new debates on the impacts of post colonial tourism.

The book under review, “Transforming, Re-Forming Tourism”, published
on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of The Ecumenical Coalition of
Tourism (ECOT) is subtitled “perspectives on justice and humanity in
Tourism”. It is a bold attempt to address this challenge reexamining
facts and perceptions, rhetoric and reality, ironies and paradoxes
while exploring spaces for initiating changes in the unequal economic
and social power equations that tourism has engendered. It is now
clearly known that one of the most important international agendas of
global tourism industry is to silence the civil society.
Contextualized in the dilemmas of contemporary civil society
interventions for claiming its rightful place in current debates, a
book that looks at the processes and patterns in global tourism from
perspectives that provide models and paradigms for alternatives is
deeply political and challenging.

Enriched by a reflexive reassessment of the role of ECOT in shaping
the current debates the introduction by Ceasar D’Mello sets the
underlying tone and tenor of the book with his reflections, inter
alia, on how post colonial tourism has disadvantaged local
communities. He says that “from the very beginning, ECOT’s
‘preferential option’ has been with the communities marginalized and
made vulnerable by tourism” (P.12). The substantial work that ECOT has
carried out in defining, positioning, sustaining and redefining
alternative policies and practices in Tourism in the last two and a
half decades forms the subject matter of Peter Holden’s informative
essay “Maintaining the Rage: Roots of ECOT”. Transforming a post
colonial rage against global iniquities of modern tourism into
concrete action has been a particularly challenging task given the
multitude of institutional and organizational barriers in mobilizing
resources for developing an alternative platform. Holden brings to our
attention the fact that a post colonial dimension has been deeply
built into the programme of alternative tourism from the very
beginning. Holden makes several insightful observations in his essay.
Reciting ECOT’s history, he says “tourism in the context of Third
World people have had effects which are qualitatively different from
the impacts which it has outside Third World. Consequently it is third
worldness and not simply tourism where the rage needs to be
maintained” (P. 26). This is a broader view that must help shape
future civil society interventions and guard activists from cynical
retrogressions.

The book is usefully divided into several sections of uniting themes
and concerns. The first substantive thematic section explores the
contestations of Tourism as a tool for building a world community. The
articles by Tricia Barnett, Rosemary Viswanath, Annette Groth and
Judith Almeida look at the ethical, economic, environmental and gender
dimensions of global tourism. Barnett’s article reassesses the
possibilities of transcending cultural and economic barriers through a
transformed tourism informed by ethical guidelines. Recognizing the
place of tourism within formidable economic project of neo-liberal
policies thrust upon third world by global financial institutions,
Viswanath provides an illuminating narrative of the processes that
keeps the quest for justice and humanity in tourism disappointingly
elusive. Taking the argument a step further, Groth discusses the
intensifying corporatization of tourism industry and its disempowering
effect on local communities. She concludes that increased
concentration in the tourism industry in the recent decades is a cause
for serious concern. Quite insightfully, she also argues that the
tweezers-grip of corporatization will affect the nature and quality of
critical research and action in tourism. Nothing could be closer to
truth than her observation that “it is increasingly difficult to find
political analysts and academics, generally, and in the field of
tourism who have the background as well as financial means to conduct
neutral and objective research. Academics and scholars are
increasingly dependent on consultancies paid by multinational
organizations and/or companies and therefore ot independent” (P.60).
Irrespective of one’s reservations on the notion of what constitutes
“neutral and objective research" her argument on the constraints of
freedom of research remains valid. Almeida’s paper focuses on the Goan
(India) experience of gender representation and women’s participation
in tourism industry. The essay seeks to challenge the economic
conservatism of the UNWTO that tourism offers “enormous opportunities”
for women’s advancement.

The section on Tourism and Development consists of three
contributions. The essay by Jeff Wild argues for the necessity of
engaging the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by religious and
civil society organizations. This, for him would be a more strategic
approach than either ignoring or too heavily criticizing the project.
Heinz Fuchs’s note reflects on the joint journey by ECOT and Church
Development Service, Germany. The essay by Julia Schornhall and
Shirley Susan explores in some detail the nexus between tourism,
poverty and AIDS. They argue that tourism industry must discard its
inhibition to recognize the relationship between tourism and AIDS and
join the campaigns that fearlessly address the issue.

The section on “Tourism and Faith Perspectives” addresses the
spiritual dimensions of tourism and approaches of world religions to
the question of just tourism. Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and
Anthony Rogers in separate notes provide different aspects of pastoral
approaches to the awareness and critiquing of tourism. Buddhism’s
perspectives on tourism are sketched in the contribution by Sukthawee
Suwannachairop. Muhammad Abdus Sabur provides a brief introduction to
the contours of Islamic approach to the question of accountability in
tourism. The need for including tourism and human rights perspectives
in theological education is convincingly brought out in the paper by
Margit Leuthold and Christian Baumgartner.

In the section on Tourism and Environment, two short essays and an
interview with Oliver Hillel are included. The essay by Marco Vinicio
Garcia critically reviews the concept of eco tourism while ECOT’s
interview with Hillel brings out some dilemmas faced by international
organizations like UNEP in addressing ecological questions related to
mass tourism practices. Rungrot Tangsurakit and Sabine Minninger
shares some experiences from the post Tsunami field work and draws
lessons for future policy making and disaster prevention interventions
in Coastal tourism destinations. The two subsequent sections on
“Regional perspectives” and “Case studies” provide glimpses and
snapshots of the diverse impacts of modern tourism on Nations and
local communities. The insights and caveats in the essays by Rami
Kassis and Regula Kauffman, Peter Rezel, Nic Maclellan, Ernest Canada
and Jordi Gascon help readers to appreciate better the similarities
and dissimilarities in the effects of tourism in different regions.
The illuminative case studies by Alison Johnston, Maureen Seneviratne,
Frederick Noronha and Nicole Haeusler adds immensely to the to value
of the book and its authenticity as a volume that seeks to balance
theory and practice. Ron O’Grady’s post script “The end and the
beginning” consolidates the book’s message for readers and for ECOT.

The most surprising aspect of the book, perhaps, is the poetry of
Cecil Rajendra appended below each section. He narrates a deepening
sense of alienation and an intensified experience of loss in the hyper-
real consumerist world. The drastic scaling down of expectations and
aspirations of fishers, farmers and folks at large caused by the
disempowering imperatives of global tourism is innovatively captured
in the deep and dark poetic imageries of emerging realities:

“The bulldozers, tractors
And tourists have moved
in with a vengeance;
hotels duty-free
shops, cafes and chalets
have sprung like fungi.

As the bewildered villagers
are pushed off their land
to make way for another
billion-dollar condominium
they begin to question
which was the greater burden:
Mashuri’s or our Century’s
Curse of dust and development?”

(Cecil Rajendra, “Lankawi, Mashuri and the 21st Century”)

ec

Posted by rollingrains at 06:14 PM

July 07, 2008

Peace through Tourism Course Launched

World Leisure International Centre of Excellence logo

While I have not reviewed the final curriculum I did contribute in the research phase of this promising new course:

At the 4th IIPT African Conference, May 20th – 25th 2007, Kampala, Uganda, a course on Peace through Tourism was launched, discussed and enthusiastically received by the international community. WICE – World Leisure International Centre of Excellence at Wageningen University, The Netherlands – developed this course; course director is Drs Jan te Kloeze.

The course is an initiative aiming to consolidate the concept of Peace through Tourism. It is open to external participants, members of institutions interested in the subject, and tourism and peace policy makers.

The course – duration 4 weeks – is divided in four thematic units:

1. Sustainable tourism and the world today;
2. Theory of peace making and peace keeping in a national and international context;
3. The role of tourism in promoting international understanding; and
4. Tourism and community development: tourism as an agent for poverty reduction.

Peace through Tourism Course Launched


A trans-interdisciplinary approach is used to outline the potential of tourism as a peace tool. Lecturers from WICE together with international academics, carefully selected from the WICE world wide network of renowned experts are giving the lectures.

The classes will take place at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. When certain conditions are met, the course can be given in other guest countries too.

Costs and fees: € 3,770.—[including living costs, travel costs, and fee; fee only: € 1,750.–].

About World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE)
In 1988 the Association began exploring the concept of a truly international post-graduate programme in leisure studies. Ultimately this led to the creation of a framework for the World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE). The purpose was to provide an unique opportunity whereby postgraduate students from countries around the world and international leisure specialists come together in one location for a two-year program leading to a graduate degree.

The first such program was established in The Netherlands in 1992, with substantial support from the Dutch government. Today, through a contract with Wageningen University, a leading international institution in Holland, the WICE program gives students access to the resources of the University and at the same time provides instruction and consultation through a visiting faculty of 40 professors in any given year. Up to 25 students are admitted each year. Students completing the program receive a M.Sc. degree in Leisure and Environments. Many of the graduates have gone on to occupy senior leadership positions in their home countries.

A WICE Advisory Panel, responsible to the World Leisure Board, reviews and advises on existing programmes and new initiatives. For more information, visit www.worldleisure.org.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:25 PM

US: The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008 [H.R. 6320]

Wireless RERC reports on proposed legislation affecting accessibility of communications and video technology in Technology and Disability Policy Highlights 8.06.

Proposed Legislation Advances Access Requirements for IP-Enabled Video & Communications

06.19.2008 – The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008 [H.R. 6320] was introduced in the house and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The proposed legislation seeks to ensure that IP-enabled communication and video programming is accessible by people with disabilities. H.R. 6320 outlines requirements for access to services and equipment, as well as administrative obligations for service providers and the FCC. Stipulations include:

• Hearing aid compatibility requirement for IP-enabled telecommunications equipment
• Manufacturers of IP-enabled technologies and software must design and develop products that are accessible
• IP-enabled communications service providers must ensure interoperability of real-time text communications in data formats between provider networks
• Video programming devices must have built-in decoder circuitry
• Emergency information and alerts must be accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired through the use of video description
• Broadens the FCC’s closed captioning rules to include video-programming distributed over the Internet
• Closed captioning options must be easy to access via remote control
• Television menus for program selection and other uses must be accessible to people who are blind or have low vision
• Provides for universal service support for the distribution of equipment to individuals who are deaf-blind
• IP-enabled communications service providers must contribute to the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund
• Obliges the FCC to prescribe regulations to implement and enforce the provisions of the bill, including issuing an inquiry on closed captioning decoder and video description capabilities, user interfaces and video programming guides and menus
[Source: Library of Congress]

Additional Information:
H.R. 6320
[http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.6320:]

Posted by rollingrains at 01:30 AM

July 03, 2008

Air Access Code: Are You Ready?

The new disabled passenger rights coming into effect in the EU mean some changes. After explaining some of these changes -- and noting that the fine for violation could be up to £5,000 they note and ask:

ABTA is working with the Department for Transport on a revised voluntary Air Access Code, which is expected to be published this month. The code will outline steps agents, operators and airlines can take to help make their services more accessible to disabled passengers.

* Are you prepared for the new regulations? Email travel.weekly@rbi.co.uk

Full article:

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2008/07/03/28095/travel-agents-could-face-5k-fines-under-new-mobility.html

Posted by rollingrains at 10:56 PM

July 02, 2008

Disasters are Always Inclusive

The Bonn Declaration makes explicit the need for inclusive reconstruction and development. The document begins:

In humanitarian emergency situations, persons with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable groups of society and tend to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of disasters. At the same time, they often remain ‘invisible’, even though their number statically makes up approximately ten percent of any population. Persons with disabilities, be they of physical, sensory, intellectual or psychological nature, are most often not included in the various stages of disaster response and in disaster preparedness measures, neither as recipients of aid to meet their basic as well as specific needs, nor as active stakeholders and designers or planners of aid measures, voicing their own needs and opinions.

It continues:

Inclusive reconstruction and development, focussing on participation and empowerment of all groups of society and especially of vulnerable groups, leads to better living conditions than before the disaster and at the same time to a higher level of preparedness and thus reduction of vulnerability in the face of a potential next disaster.

The full document follows

International Conference: Disasters are always inclusive. Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations

Bonn, 7 - 8 November, 2007


BONN DECLARATION



Preface – Situation Analysis

In humanitarian emergency situations, persons with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable groups of society and tend to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of disasters. At the same time, they often remain ‘invisible’, even though their number statically makes up approximately ten percent of any population. Persons with disabilities, be they of physical, sensory, intellectual or psychological nature, are most often not included in the various stages of disaster response and in disaster preparedness measures, neither as recipients of aid to meet their basic as well as specific needs, nor as active stakeholders and designers or planners of aid measures, voicing their own needs and opinions. In addition, the incidence of new disabilities created by disasters is often not sufficiently taken into account and not responded to in an adequate, long-term manner, neither by local Governments, local NGOs or Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs), nor by intervening international NGOs. This lack of long-term rehabilitation perspective can lead to detrimental or even fatal outcomes for injured disaster victims, even after the disaster has long since passed and is no longer present in public awareness. This includes the neglect of severe trauma symptoms, which, if not professionally dealt with, can result in permanent psychological disabilities.


As a basis for a change of mindsets as well as for concrete action, the UN Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in December 2006, constitutes the crucial instrument of international law to claim and reinforce equality and full participation of persons with disabilities. Article 11 calls for State parties to undertake “all measures to ensure protection and safety for persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters”.

In humanitarian emergency situations, humanitarian aid agencies and other stakeholders are called to comply with minimum standards and indicators of humanitarian aid in order to secure and protect lives, especially of vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities. These minimum standards and indicators can be valuable guidelines, but are not yet sufficiently explicit and practical with regard to inclusion of persons with disabilities (for example refer to the handbook of The Sphere Project, 2004 edition).

In conclusion to the international conference “Disasters are always inclusive! Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations”, held November 7 and 8, 2007, a number of recommendations for inclusive disaster preparedness and emergency response in the sense of “Humanitarian Aid for ALL” were deduced. It was the common understanding that the most important and at the same time most difficult requirement is to change mindsets in such a way that inclusion becomes a matter of course. From there to actual practical adjustments towards inclusiveness of disaster preparedness and response programs is a much easier step.


I. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Response in General

II. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Preparedness Planning

III. Recommendations for Inclusive Response in Acute Emergency Situations and Immediate Rehabilitation Measures

IV. Recommendations for Inclusive Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Development Measures


I. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Response in General


It is important to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities, their families and communities as well as Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) at every stage of disaster response, from planning to implementation, in order to cater for basic as well as special needs of persons with disabilities in pre, acute and post disaster situations.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusion in all stages of disaster response are:

1) Enable full participation of persons with disabilities and their families as active stakeholders and advisors;

2) Guarantee full accessibility for persons with disabilities and their families to information and services in pre, acute and post disaster situations;

3) Strive for involvement and creation of ownership of local government structures with regard to inclusive disaster response measures;

4) Lobby for government action plans for inclusion / disability mainstreaming in disaster response;

5) Strive for cooperation and networking between humanitarian aid agencies and organisations specialising in disability issues, both on the national and international level;

6) Define and learn from “best practices” of inclusion / disability mainstreaming in disaster response;

7) Adapt existing disaster response guidelines to include criteria and practical indicators for inclusion of disability issues;

8) Provide easily applicable methodologies and tools for practical inclusive action in disaster response;

9) Establish (self-)evaluation mechanisms to monitor and improve the quality of inclusion measures in disaster response;

10) Allocate adequate funding for disability issues in disaster response budgets as well as in development aid budgets for disaster prone areas.


II. Recommendations for Inclusive Disaster Preparedness Planning

Special focus must be directed towards inclusive disaster preparedness planning to ensure effective inclusive disaster response when an emergency actually takes place (be prepared = best case scenario).

Since the emergency affects local people in situ on the level of local communities, disaster preparedness planning must be community-based. Tailor-made community based disaster preparedness planning can then respond adequately to the special situations and needs of ALL, including vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, in a given community.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive disaster preparedness planning are:

1) Raise sensitivity and awareness that disaster preparedness is important for all members of a community;

2) Raise sensitivity and awareness that persons with disabilities have basic and special needs that require specific attention in an emergency situation;

3) Mobilize and strengthen the capacities of local human resources, in particular individuals with disabilities, their families (especially the parents of the intellectually disabled), their village communities, local government structures, existing local DPOs, local research institutes etc;

4) Provide theoretical and practical training on disability issues (knowledge and skills) for relief workers, volunteers, family members etc. – Possible training topics: understanding disability and related basic and special needs; understanding and overcoming barriers; acquiring and improving practical skills by exercising communication techniques and evacuation methods adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities etc;

5) Involve disabled people themselves, their families and local DPOs in local needs assessments (participatory vulnerability mapping of communities);

6) Involve and train disabled people themselves, their families and local DPOs for participation in local disaster response task forces;

7) Establish a system of accountability for all involved stakeholders (local NGOs, voluntary task forces, local government structures etc), based on a catalogue of criteria / indicators and easily applicable self-monitoring systems to determine the degree and quality of inclusive preparedness.


III. Recommendations for Inclusive Response in Acute Emergency Situations and Immediate Rehabilitation Measures

Most often the “best case scenario”, meaning that inclusive disaster preparedness planning has taken place and preparedness measures are implemented, is not given at the incidence of disaster. Nevertheless, it is possible to include persons with disabilities in relief and in immediate rehabilitation measures.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive relief and immediate rehabilitation after an acute emergency are:

1) Include issues of disability in rapid assessments of aid relevant sectors;

2) As a tool for rapid assessments, use easy to handle (updated) checklists which comprise disability related questions;

3) Find and provide assistance for the ‘invisible’ persons with disabilities already living in the disaster affected communities, including those with intellectual and psychological disabilities;

4) Pay adequate professional medical attention to newly injured or disabled persons to avoid medical complications, secondary disabilities or even fatal outcomes;

5) Avoid aggravation of injuries or new disabilities by inadequate transportation of injured persons during evacuation;

6) Pay adequate attention to the emotional and social needs of disaster victims to help them overcome normal trauma symptoms;

7) Pay adequate professional psychological attention to disaster victims displaying severe traumatic symptoms to avoid long-term psychic disabilities;

8) Include local and international experts for special focuses in rapid assessment teams and advisory teams, such as disability experts, psycho-social trauma counsellors, experienced persons with disabilities etc;

9) Strive for coordination of intervening stakeholders on the spot, for example through cluster meetings of local and international NGOs representing different aid sectors, including disability specific organisations;

10) Build alliances with other vulnerable groups, because what you do for one group (persons with disabilities) is often also valuable for others (elderly persons, pregnant or nursing mothers, mothers with many children etc);

11) Incorporate tools for inclusion in the context of relief and immediate rehabilitation into the next revision of The Sphere Project handbook (knowing about these tools is also an aspect of preparedness);

12) Link relief and immediate rehabilitation activities with long-term rehabilitation and development by negotiation and cooperation with local Governments and authorities.


IV. Recommendations for Inclusive Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Development Measures


Inclusive reconstruction and development, focussing on participation and empowerment of all groups of society and especially of vulnerable groups, leads to better living conditions than before the disaster and at the same time to a higher level of preparedness and thus reduction of vulnerability in the face of a potential next disaster.

Recommendations instrumental for inclusive post-disaster reconstruction and inclusive development are:

1) Apply principles of universal accessibility for ALL, including flexibility for adaptations to various needs of persons with disabilities when implementing housing reconstruction projects;

2) Include universal accessibility features when involved in planning and reconstruction of infrastructure and public facilities;

3) Involve beneficiaries as active participants in every stage of the reconstruction project cycle;

4) Facilitate and monitor inclusive planning and reconstruction with the help of expert advice from skilled and specialized persons with disabilities;

5) Allocate sufficient time for sensitization, awareness raising, negotiation and cooperation with key (local) stakeholders, such as affected communities, persons with disabilities and their families, DPOs, local authorities (community and national levels), professionals (architects, engineers) etc;

6) Lobby for government policies and minimum standards for barrier-free reconstruction, including reconstruction of infrastructure and public facilities (refer to article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities);

7) Raise awareness for cost efficiency of barrier-free reconstruction from the very beginning as compared to subsequent technical adjustments;

8) Further develop and apply tools (checklists, manuals) for barrier-free reconstruction and adapt them to local environments (adjustment of minimum standards to local context);

9) Strive for continuation of medical care and rehabilitation as well as psycho-social support for persons injured or disabled by the disaster through their integration into long-term local public health programs;

10) Support the development of a referral system linking existing facilities required in long-term rehabilitation;

11) Develop self-help capacities of persons with disabilities and their families through livelihood programs (professional training, income generating projects);

12) Monitor and evaluate long-term rehabilitation and development measures to make necessary changes for improved impact and sustainability;

13) Make disaster preparedness planning a crucial element of and a trigger for inclusive community development (refer to paragraph I. of this document).

_____________________________________________________________________


The Bonn Declaration was composed and published as result of the international conference “Disasters are always inclusive. Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations” which took place from 7 – 8 November, 2007, in Bonn/Germany.


The conference was organized by Disability & Development Cooperation (bezev), Kindernothilfe, Christian Blind Mission, Caritas Germany International Dptm., Handicap International and Der Paritätische Gesamtverband.

Further information and documents on ‘Humanitarian Aid for All’, Inclusive Disaster Preparedness and Response are available under: www.bezev.de

Posted by rollingrains at 02:42 PM

July 01, 2008

The ADA Amendments Act is Not the ADA Restoration Act

ADAWatch.org of the National Coalition for Disability Rights offers the following article on current US disability legislation. It reports on the fundamentally flawed legislation known as the ADA Amendments Act which accepts a scarcity model of social resources rather than affirmation of Universal Design and implicitly endorses the Medical Model of Disability by accepting a medically determined severity test.


OPINION: As the ADA Amendments Act Passes In the House…

The ADA Watch/NCDR Board and State Steering Committee has announced, in a show of unity with other disability organizations, its support of the ADA Amendments Act.

This is not, however, the ADA Restoration Act we all worked so hard on and it is quickly moving forward without the support of key disability rights organizations and leaders. The concerns being voiced come from many who were vital in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (www.dredf.org), for example, as part of an analysis posted on their website, states that:

"Passage of the current deal will improve the status quo for many, but it will also mean that the opportunity to correct the paradigm to remove severity as a factor of coverage and include many more who are currently unable to use the ADA because they are not considered "disabled enough" will be lost or indefinitely delayed as the new provisions are interpreted up the judicial ladder."

[The medical severity test evokes eligibility criteria for benefits programs, an area of law that the courts encounter more frequently, rather than supporting a civil rights interpretation. The severity of disability should be irrelevant to whether the plaintiff's impairment resulted in discrimination. The ADA Restoration Act, unlike the ADA Amendments Act, would remove a medical severity test, allowing any person with an actual or perceived impairment the opportunity to show that he or she was subjected to an adverse action on the basis of that impairment.]

As you might have noticed, ADA Watch has been publicly quiet for some time now. Spending 18 months on the Road To Freedom bus traveling the United States to promote the original ADA Restoration Act certainly has left us in a prolonged period of reentry both organizationally and personally. [See below for what we have been cooking up] But we also we also held our public tongue at the request of disability negotiators who were in "delicate" negotiations with the business community.

Well now those negotiations are over, there is a deal that does not allow for any strengthening of the bill by our supporters in Congress, and there is little time to use this process to build community or change public consciousness about disability rights. There also seems to be, in this process, a missed opportunity.

As this process unfolded, ADA Watch/NCDR was at the table and, like others, expressed our concerns regarding content, process and timing. While many say that this is the best deal that could be had in the current environment, and while the Congressional leadership forced us into negotiations with business lobbying groups before it went to the floor, it seems that we, as a community, could have done more to soften the ground leading to these negotiations. A more cohesive and inclusive campaign, much like the one that led to the initial passage of the ADA, could have produced greater unity in our community and capitalized on all of our strengths -- from the grassroots advocates to the legal teams, from our lobbyists to our media experts, and more.

ADA Watch/NCDR was praised by the disability negotiators for the extensive media we received in publicly making the case for ADA Restoration on the Road To Freedom bus tour. While we appreciate the praise, the reality is that we have one of the smallest budgets of any national organization - less than the yearly CEO salaries of some of the larger organizations. The fact that we received the bulk of media coverage in the year prior to this deal leaves us wondering what might have been had there been the will to fund either our campaign or another centralized effort to compete against the well-organized campaign of our opponents. While we often say that we are a poor community and that we can never compete with the well-funded corporate lobbyists, the reality is that - while our constituency is poor - there are billions of dollars being raised annually in the name of disability. Isn't it time that a larger share of those funds went to publically promote the ADA and disability rights - not as charity, not as sympathy, not just as research or cure - but as fundamental civil and human rights.

As we learned in traveling around the country, and as you surely know, we are not winning in the media. More times than not, the ADA is covered as "big government putting "Mom and Pop" stores out of business." (Never mind that this is fiction and that, more times than not, we are talking about multinational corporations!) These stories are generated directly from the news releases from corporate lobbying groups and associations. When the original ADA Restoration Act was introduced these groups took aim, even declaring that individuals with a "hangnail" were now going to be covered by the ADA! Outrageous as they sound, they have been very effective.

So we are left to guess how the negotiations might have been influenced were there an organized effort that matched or even exceeded that which led to the passage of the ADA in 1990. A campaign that drew fairly on the resources in our community. A campaign with earned and unearned media portraying the struggle for equal opportunity nearly 20 years after passage of the world's first civil rights law for people with disabilities. Community organizing efforts to teach and build coalition in support of restoration. Maybe even an ADAPT action at the Chamber of Commerce after the "hangnail" remarks. A united community pushing for full restoration of the ADA.

While, as an organization, we are not second-guessing our colleagues and have expressed support for the ADA Amendments Act, it is difficult not to imagine the results of a more unified effort. One that, in addition to the considerable legal drafting and negotiations, put similar emphasis - and funding - on the other "prongs" of the social change "pitchfork." That we could have gotten more seems evident in the now public sentiment of at least one of the business lobbyists involved in the negotiations. Randel Johnson, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, referring to the original ADA Restoration Act, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, "We couldn't beat this bill so there was a need for a compromise…"
Concerns about timing have also been raised in regard to sending this bill to President Bush, as the Administration responded to passage of the Act in the House with criticism that it "could unduly expand" coverage and significantly increase litigation. This criticism follows the Bush Administration's release of federal regulations that many disability rights experts declare will further weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. As disability rights attorney, Steve Gold reports, "On June 17, 2008, the Department of Justice issued proposed rules to the ADA's federal regulations which, if adopted, will significantly undercut the original 1990 compromises and will impose numerous regressive restrictions. Many of the proposed rules will ensure that full accessibility will be, at best, postponed indefinitely."

The process leading to passage of the ADA Amendments Act has undeniably taken a toll on our community. There are many divisions, many bruised egos, many damaged relationships. When the smoke clears, we hope there is an awareness that there remains a need for a unified campaign to change the "hearts and minds" of Americans regarding the ADA and disability rights. We don't claim that our coalition alone is the answer to fill that need, but we hope that we can be a part of such an effort. And as we assess what happened, we should avoid the polarizing - and often self-serving - characterizations highlighting supposed dichotomies in our community such as disabled/nondisabled, lawyers/lay-advocates, Inside/Outside the Beltway, physical/mental disabilities, rights/research, and the like. This is not a time for further segregation but for greater unity.

This certainly is not our last legislative battle and many in our community have said that laws alone will not lead to the kind of social change we are seeking. The "missed opportunity" that many are seeing in this process will present itself again. Perhaps, however, we should not wait for the next battle and can commit now to greater unity and the fostering of a stronger disability community. Now, more than ever it seems, we need to join together behind a common agenda and we need to unite all aspects of what we call the "disability community." We need to work together as national, state and local organizations; legal, non-legal and self-advocacy organizations; advocates and academics; youth organizations; rights and research organizations; student and educator organizations; parent and family organizations; aging organizations; as well as associated non-disability led civil rights and social justice organizations.

We can't afford to exclude anybody who wants to get behind our vision of equality and opportunity for people with disabilities in America.

See below for what the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) has in the works for fostering "unity in the community" and changing public consciousness about disability rights. New membership information for NCDR has just been posted at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3621464/NCDRMembership-

What do you think? Contact ADA Watch/NCDR's president, Jim Ward, directly and share your thoughts. He can be reached by email at jimward@ncdr.org and our mailing address is:

ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights
ATTN: Jim Ward
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004

Posted by rollingrains at 01:44 AM

June 25, 2008

Revolução no turismo -- O Poder do Consumidor (Portuguese)

Para diretor do Ministério do Turismo, Diogo Demarco é preciso que grandes empresas, governos, entidades e consumidor final exijam empresas certificadas no setor.

O consumidor irá impulsionar uma verdadeira revolução no setor de turismo quando começar a exigir a certificação das empresas das empresas do setor, acredita Diogo Demarco, diretor do Departamento de Qualificação e Certificação e Produção Associada ao Turismo, do Ministério do Turismo.

Revolução no turismo passa por consumidor exigente

Segundo ele, a certificação dos estabelecimentos e das empresas que trabalham com turismo só acontecerá de fato à medida em que grandes empresas, governos, entidades e o consumidor final exijam que empresas sejam certificadas para a aquisição de produtos.

“Quando uma Petrobras exigir que seus funcionários só se hospedem em hotéis certificados, será uma correria pela certificação”, diz. Demarco lembra que o Rio de Janeiro está vivendo uma situação parecida provocada por uma exigência do Comitê Olímpico Internacional. “Eles querem uma lista de hotéis por classificação. Todo mundo começou a correr atrás para conseguir uma classificação”. Atualmente no Brasil há apenas 18 hotéis classificados por classe no País, segundo o representante do Ministério do Turismo.

De acordo com o diretor, a proximidade com a Copa do Mundo de 2014 já está fazendo com que algumas empresas estejam procurando as certificações necessárias. “Não é fácil certificar o setor de serviços. Quando falamos de produto é fácil conseguir uma padronização por tamanho, tipo, etc. Mas o serviço prestado é subjetivo”.

Dival Schmidt, consultor do Sebrae Nacional, lembra as dificuldades nos anos 80 para implementação da ISO. “A Europa restringiu a compra de produtos que não tivessem a ISO. Foi uma correria e tanto no Brasil”. Segundo ele, a certificação no turismo exige campanhas de esclarecimento à população, nos moldes das campanhas sobre epidemias, como Aids e Paralisia Infantil.

Os dois especialistas participaram no último sábado (21) da palestra 'Certificação no Turismo: Desafios e Perspectivas', durante a terceira edição Salão do Turismo, realizado entre 18 e 22 de junho no Parque de Exposições do Anhembi, em São Paulo.

Normas no turismo

Atualmente existem 67 normas técnicas em vigor no setor de turismo, sendo que apenas 10 não foram publicadas. Desse total, 28 foram elaboradas a partir do apoio direto do MTur a projetos de formulação dessas regras.

A consulta às normas pode ser feita pelo endereço http://www.abntnet.com.br, pelos sites do MTur e da ABNT (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas). Para realizar a consulta, o usuário terá que fazer um cadastramento, prestando informações como nome completo, CPF e RG e motivo de interesse.

Desde 2003, o Ministério do Turismo aposta em programas de capacitação e certificação para pessoas, produtos e empreendimentos nos segmentos do turismo, mais especificamente em turismo sustentável, turismo de aventura e competências profissionais. Vale lembrar também que o Brasil conta com 40 mil profissionais certificados nos diferentes ramos do turismo. A maioria deles é de garçons e cozinheiros.

Projetos

Um acordo de cooperação técnica assinado no ano passado entre Sebrae, Ministério do Turismo (MTur) e Instituto Brasileiro de Turismo (Embratur) prevê investimentos de cerca de R$ 21,5 milhões para o turismo nacional, com foco no desenvolvimento das micro e pequenas empresas. As ações têm prazo de dois anos, com a possibilidade de renovação pelo mesmo período.

O convênio se baseia no Plano Nacional de Turismo 2007/2010 e pretende utilizar a capacidade do setor para promover inclusão social. Pela parceria, serão realizadas ações como capacitação dos profissionais, incentivo para adoção das melhores práticas de gestão e fortalecimento do trabalho desenvolvido pelos órgãos estaduais de turismo e pelas empresas do setor.

O acordo também terá investimentos para a criação de um banco de dados do setor turístico e para a produção do Guia do Empreendedor do Turismo, entre várias outras iniciativas.

O trabalho conjunto do Sebrae e do MTur ainda aborda a questão ambiental, com o objetivo de promover a sustentabilidade no entorno das áreas de preservação e dos parques nacionais. Os especialistas em turismo hoje chamam a atenção para a necessidade de conciliar o potencial turístico com o respeito à ecologia e à preservação ambiental.

Fonte: Portugal Digital

Posted by rollingrains at 12:25 AM

June 24, 2008

Blogswarm: Writing on the Travel, Universal Design, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a historic document because of the unprecedented prominence that it gives to Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

To hone in on those topics when reading the CRPD head straight for Chapter 30 entitled, Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport. Then backtrack to Chapters 18 through 21 for Liberty of movement and nationality through Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information.)

The manual Human Rights. Yes! published by the University of Minnesota provides simple analyses and is helpful for those preparing to advocate for ratification of CRPD. Chapter 14 The Right to Sport and Culture has a section called Tourism that is its module on disability and travel.

Before I offer a critique let me begin by noting that two of the three citations for the section are my research so rather than coming across as uncharitably harsh on someone else’s work let me admit that this section would have been better if my original work had provided the authors with a more well-rounded argument.

There are also particular experiences in my own life that make a critique of Human Rights. Yes! and similar tools of special significance to me.

As an undergraduate at the University of Washington I was recruited to do statewide education on Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. I declined the position but retained a keen interest in the process of public education on the rights of my community. As a professional educator at Santa Clara University I was involved in university administration of compliance plans during the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over the intervening decades I have had numerous opportunities to observe how seemingly small errors in the public education and enforcement processes related to major disability rights legislation can have disproportionately disappointing consequences.

Without serious, systematic, and coordinated efforts to communicate the intent, scope, and consequences of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this historic moment will slip away and its promise remain unfulfilled.

Human Rights. Yes! succeeds at best practices in course design through good sequencing, defined scope, specific learning goals, appropriate language level, and clear graphic design. In the discussion of tourism it makes clear the unique role of the CRPD in the area of tourism and disability:

Responsible tourism development and tourism that respects the human rights of persons with disabilities must consider inclusion in planning, designing, and implementing tourism projects. Most important, disabled peoples organizations must participate in such processes and need to engage in accessible tourism advocacy. The CRPD, which is the only major international human rights treaty to explicitly mention tourism, requires States to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to tourism and tourist services.

That is it:

• Affirms Inclusive Destination Development (which is in turn founded on Universal Design)
• Assigns legitimacy to disabled peoples organizations (DPOs)
• Specifies consultative and transparent planning and management processes
• States that the CRPD is unique among human rights treaties in addressing tourism
• Observes that States are required to assure access to tourism and tourist services

Critiquing the training module on tourism as a stand-alone tool and doing so in light of the paragraph quoted and outlined above I find the module’s sidebar to be incomplete and unrepresentative of what it aims to address, namely “The Barriers Faced by Tourists with Disabilities”:

• Inaccessible airport transfer and ill-trained airport staff
• Lack of accessible transport
• Inaccessible hotel rooms
• Professional staff not trained to inform and advise about accessibility issues
• Lack of information about a specific attraction's accessibility (e.g., museums, castles, exhibitions)
• Non-adapted toilets in restaurants and public places
• Inaccessible restaurants and tourist attractions
• Inaccessible streets (e.g., no curb cuts, cars blocking wheelchair access
• lanes)
• Lack of disability equipment rental (wheelchairs, bath chairs, toilet raisers,
• electric scooters)

All these are barriers commonly faced. The question is, “By whom?” The underlying problem is two-fold.

First the examples overwhelmingly reflect those with mobility impairments. Second the examples do not capture the important distinction between physical accessibility (well represented in the examples) and program accessibility (overlooked). (Program accessibility means access to all programs and services offered to non-disabled people once physical barriers are eliminated.)

This list of barriers is followed immediately by “Exercise 14.5: Speaking Up for Accessible Tourism.“ The learning objective of the exercise is, “To examine discrimination in tourism and tourism development and to consider how to take action against it.” I have not field-tested this exercise in role-playing a presentation to a “Tourism Development Board” but I would make some predictions based on experience.

My assumption is that the intended goal of the exercise is to (learn to) convince the board to use their authority in the interest of travelers with disabilities. The chapter’s introductory section stipulates the participation of DPOs for any solution to be legitimate. This suggests a solution-oriented presentation incorporating the foremost cultural product of disability culture for addressing the built environment - the seven principles of Universal Design. Yet the exercise does not present Universal Design either in isolation or as a component of Inclusive Destination Development thus making the logical link to the Board’s area of authority for destination management.

I would predict that by failing to prepare participants with these conceptual tools and by norming the exercise on an implicit person with a mobility impairment the exercise would most frequently result in:

• A laundry list of anecdotal stories of barrier encountered during travel
• A preponderance of physical and attitudinal barriers being recounted
• Superficial reference to or application of Universal Design as a set of mandated measurements (building code specifications) rather than as the design approach with no pre-mandated design solutions
• A scarcity of solutions presented (actionable items that are within the domain of the Board)
• Low participation by exercise participants with non-mobility related disabilities

In fairness to the authors of Human Rights. Yes! the topic of Universal Design is discussed in Chapter 2 on Accessibility. The seven principles are listed. The exercise there explicitly encourages reflection on Universal Design as applied to “people with physical, sensory, learning, intellectual, psycho-social, and multiple disabilities.” Barriers to accessibility are broken down into the four categories of physical, informational, institutional, and attitudinal. However, it would be helpful to review, in Chapter 14, the principles of Universal Design introduced 12 chapters earlier and add some intellectual scaffolding to help participants transition from four abstract categories of barriers to the solution-oriented distinction between physical and program accessibility in tourism. Such a modification would improve the exercise.

For legislative milestones such as CRPD to be sustainable they must be either 1) constantly supported by the legal mechanisms such as monitoring, enforcement, and modification 2) find sustainability outside the legal system or 3) both.

The purpose of the Second International Conference on Inclusive Tourism (ICAT 2007) held in Bangkok in November of 2007 was to promote a rights-based approach to tourism. Citing the the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights –based Society for Persons with Disabilities (BMF), Biwako Plus Five and the Plan of Action for Sustainable Tourism Development in Asia and the Pacific (Phase II 2006-2012). The message of its opening keynote, “Inclusive Tourism: A New Strategic Alliance for the Disability Rights Movement,” was that the most promising means of sustaining inclusion in tourism outside the legal system is the travel and hospitality industry itself. In fact, the claim was made that the industry is moving rapidly to self-standardize to meet the burgeoning demand for travel by persons with disabilities.

The grassroots and institutional efforts of individuals and DPOs around the world to promote ratification of and educate the public on the implications of CRPD play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s support. That support will be effective and durable to the extent that DPOs succeed in speaking with a unified voice that reflects distilled cultural wisdom such as Universal Design and represents the current experience of their constituency.

However, their constituencies also have ongoing direct access to the industry as consumers, guests, consultants, travel industry employees, academics, and focus-group participants. The legitimacy of DPOs depends on paying attention to the groundswell of interest in this topic by people with disabilities.

A strategy for success in establishing Inclusive Tourism and inclusive Destination Development practices involves careful attention to constituent education on the part of DPOs. It should provide consumers with disabilities with awareness of their rights. It must also make them competent to offer solutions consistent with the overall interests of those in their community with disabilities other than or more extensive than their own. Careful attention to the training we provide on this subject within our own community can make sustainability of the gains promised by CRPD a reality.

One approach to sustainability of the promise of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is under discussion at the Geotourism Challenge here:

http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

Posted by rollingrains at 02:33 AM

June 16, 2008

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The following article in English and Thai on the UN CRPD was forwarded by Saowalak Thongkuay of Disabled People's International (DPI). Saowalak is an important facilitator of Inclusive Tourism in SE Asia and DPI a diligent institutional ally in this work.

Fine words without actions are meaningless but actions usually only come about after fine words have been written - Victoria Brignell celebrates a new UN convention

คำพูดหรู ๆ โดยไม่ทำอะไรนั้นไร้ความหมาย แต่การกระทำนั้นก็มักเกิดขึ้นหลังจากที่เราได้คำพูดหรู ๆ แล้ว

โดย Victoria Brignell celebrates a new UN convention

Last month the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force. It may not be a snappy title but it marks an important development in disabled people's pursuit of equality. Sixty years after the original UN Declaration on Human Rights was launched, disabled people have finally gained their own charter and full recognition that they too have human rights.

เมื่อเดือนที่แล้วอนุสัญญาว่าด้วยสิทธิคนพิการเริ่มมีผลบังคับใช้ ชื่ออาจจะไม่เตะตานักแต่ก็ถือว่าเป็นการพัฒนาที่สำคัญด้านความเสมอภาคของคนพิการ เป็นเวลากว่า 60 ปีแล้วที่องค์การสหประชาชาติมีประกาศด้านสิทธิมนุษยชน ท้ายที่สุดคนพิการก็ได้รับการยอมรับในเรื่องสิทธิมนุษยชนด้วยเช่นกัน

Disabled people are one of the last "vulnerable" social groups to be given the protection of a specific human rights convention. While women, ethnic minorities, children and migrant workers all received one years ago, disabled people have had to wait until the 21st century for this moment.

คนพิการเป็นกลุ่มเสี่ยงทางสังคมกลุ่มสุดท้ายที่ได้รับการคุ้มครองด้านสิทธิมนุษยชนโดยอนุสัญญา ในขณะที่ผู้หญิง กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์ เด็ก ลูกจ้างอพยพมีอนุสัญญาของตัวเองตั้งนานแล้ว แต่คนพิการต้องรอจนกระทั่งถึงศตวรรษที่ 21 เลยทีเดียว

In a way, this isn't surprising. No international treaty has ever come about without a long and hard campaign. But in order to campaign, people need to be able to take part in demonstrations, attend meetings, sign petitions, write letters and lobby politicians. You can only do these things if you have a reasonable level of education, access to transport and the ability to make your voice heard. Sadly, the vast majority of disabled people in the world are denied such luxuries.

แต่ก็ไม่ใช่เรื่องน่าแปลกใจเท่าใดนัก ไม่เคยมีอนุสัญญาฉบับใดเลยที่ไม่ต้องใช้เวลานานในการรณรงค์เรียกร้อง แต่ในการรณรงค์นั้น ประชาชนต้องเข้ามามีส่วนร่วมในการเดินขบวน ประชุม ยื่นข้อเรียกร้อง เขียนจดหมายและล๊อบบี้นักการเมือง เราจะทำแบบนี้ได้ก็ต่อเมื่อเรามีระดับการศึกษาที่ดีพอควร เข้าถึงระบบขนส่งมวลชนและต้องมีความสามารถในการที่จะทำให้เสียงของเราดังพอให้คนอื่นได้ยินได้ แต่ก็น่าเศร้า คนพิการส่วนใหญ่ในโลกนี้ไม่มีโอกาสทำเช่นนั้นได้

Imagine for a moment that you are a paralysed person living in a slum somewhere in Africa. Without a welfare state, you can't afford a wheelchair so you are stuck indoors much of the time, only able to travel as far as anyone is prepared to carry you. Your chances of finding employment are virtually non-existent, so you don't have any income of your own. You can't afford to pay carers so you are totally reliant on your family and friends for support. Somebody in this situation is hardly in a position to be able to campaign for a human rights treaty.

สมมติว่าเราเป็นคนพิการอัมพาตอยู่ในสลัมในแอฟริกา หากไม่มีรัฐสวัสดิการ เราก็ซื้อวีลแชร์ไม่ได้ ก็เลยต้องอยู่แต่ในบ้าน ไปได้ไกลที่สุดก็เท่าที่คนอุ้มจะสามารถพาไปได้ โอกาสที่จะหางานทำก็ไม่มี ก็เลยไม่มีรายได้ เราไม่มีทางจ่ายค่าคนดูแลได้ เพราะฉะนั้นเราก็ต้องพึ่งพาอาศัยญาติหรือเพื่อน คนที่มีสภาพเช่นนี้คงยากนักที่จะออกมารณรงค์เรื่องสิทธิในสนธิสัญญาได้

But I believe there is another reason why we have had to wait so long for this new convention. Disabled people's rights are different from other kinds of rights. Ending discrimination against women, for example, involves changing attitudes (a major challenge in itself) but there are relatively few cost implications. In contrast, eliminating discrimination against disabled people means not only combating prejudice but also adapting buildings, redesigning public transport and investing in social care. All this requires resources which developing countries simply do not have. Any cash-strapped government is unlikely to actively push for a treaty which would require them to spend money, especially when they have so many other demands on their tight budgets.

แต่ก็มีอีกเหตุผลหนึ่งที่เราต้องรออนุสัญญานี้นานมาก สิทธิของคนพิการนั้นแตกต่างจากสิทธิประเภทอื่น ๆ ยกตัวอย่างเช่น การยุติการเลือกปฏิบัติต่อผู้หญิง ต้องเกี่ยวข้องกับการเปลี่ยนทัศนคติ แต่ก็มีค่าใช้จ่ายที่เกี่ยวข้องไม่มากนัก ในทางตรงกันข้าม การขจัดการเลือกปฏิบัติต่อคนพิการไม่ได้หมายความถึงการขจัดทัศนคติที่ไม่ดีอย่างเดียวเท่านั้น แต่ต้องมีการปรับเปลี่ยนอาคารสถานที่ ออกแบบระบบขนส่งมวลชนใหม่และต้องลงทุนในการดูแลสังคม ทั้งหมดนี้ต้องใช้ทรัพยากรมาก ซึ่งประเทศกำลังพัฒนาคงทำไม่ได้มาก รัฐบาลที่มีหนี้สินคงไม่อยากผลักดันให้อนุสัญญานี้ผ่านเพื่อที่ตัวเองจะต้องเสียเงินเพิ่ม โดยเฉพาะเมื่อยังมีความต้องการที่จะใช้งบประมาณเพื่อการอื่น ๆ อีกมากมาย

It's therefore something of a miracle that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the end only took four years to negotiate. Four years might sound a long time but that makes it the fastest negotiated human rights treaty in history. And on the opening day for signing the convention, 81 countries put their names to it - a record at the opening for any UN treaty. At the time of writing, 129 countries have signed it.

ด้วยเหตุนี้มันจึงดูเหมือนปาฏิหาริย์ที่อนุสัญญาว่าด้วยสิทธิคนพิการใช้เวลาเพียง 4 ปีในการพัฒนา แม้ว่า 4 ปีจะดูเหมือนนานแต่มันก็เป็นอนุสัญญาด้านสิทธิมนุษยชนที่เสร็จเร็วที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์ และในวันที่เปิดให้ลงนาม ก็มีถึง 81 ประเทศที่ร่วมลงนาม เป็นสถิติใหม่ของสนธิสัญญาของยูเอ็น ในขณะที่เขียนอยู่นี้ 129 ประเทศได้ลงนามแล้ว

However, before we start popping the champagne corks, it's worth noting that only 27 countries have so far ratified the convention. As with any UN treaty, once it's been signed, the next step is to ratify it. Ratification is essential for the convention to be effective because it is ratification that makes the initial pledge binding and enforceable under national law. Yet many significant countries have still not ratified it including the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, USA, Australia and Canada. I find it rather amusing that Ecuador, Namibia and San Marino have ratified it but none of the UN Security Council have done so.

อย่างไรก็ตาม ก่อนที่เราจะเริ่มการรณรงค์ เราก็ควรจะรู้ไว้ว่าตอนนี้มีประเทศที่ให้สัตยาบัน (ratification) ไปแล้ว 27 ประเทศ ตามระเบียบของยูเอ็นนั้น หลังจากลงนามแล้ว ขั้นต่อไปก็คือการให้สัตยาบัน การให้สัตยาบันนั้นเป็นหัวใจสำคัญที่จะทำให้อนุสัญญามีผลบังคับใช้ในกฎหมายของประเทศต่าง ๆ ที่ให้สัตยาบัน น่าแปลกใจว่าประเทศสำคัญ ๆ อย่างเช่น อังกฤษ ฝรั่งเศส เยอรมัน สวีเดน อิตาลี่ อเมริกา ออสเตรเลียหรือแคนาดายังไม่ได้ให้สัตยาบันเลย น่าขันทีเดียวที่ประเทศอย่างเช่น เอกวาดอร์ นามิเบีย แซนมาริโน่ได้ให้สัตยาบันแล้ว แต่ไม่มีสภาความมั่นคงของยูเอ็นทำเช่นนั้นเลย

And how much difference will the new convention actually make to the reality of disabled people's lives? You could easily argue that it's just the latest in a long line of international initiatives regarding disability. In 1981 we had the "World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons". This was followed in 1993 by the "Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities". And then in 1995 they unveiled the "Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons". Despite these worthy ventures, millions of disabled people worldwide still face discrimination in education, employment, health care and decision-making.

แล้วอนุสัญญาจะทำให้เกิดความเปลี่ยนแปลงต่อชีวิตคนพิการได้อย่างไร? คุณคงจะเถียงทันทีว่ามันคงอยู่ท้ายสุดของงานด้านคนพิการในระดับนานาชาติเป็นแน่ ในปี 1981 เรามีแผนปฏิบัติการโลกด้านคนพิการ แล้วในปี 1993 เราก็มี “กฎมาตรฐานเพื่อความเสมอภาคทางโอกาสของคนพิการ” ต่อมาในปี 1995 เราก็มี “ประกาศด้านสิทธิของคนพิการ” แม้ว่าจะมีสิ่งเหล่านี้ คนพิการหลายล้านคนทั่วโลกก็คงยังคงถูกเลือกปฏิบัติในด้านการศึกษา การจ้างงาน สุขอนามัยและการตัดสินใจ

Cynics might also point out that, 27 years after the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women came into force, women's rights are still violated all over the world. Every day, countless women are subjected to rape, trafficking, forced marriage, restrictions on their movements, female genital mutilation and laws weighted against women. (In Algeria, the police still consider it acceptable for a husband to forbid his wife to travel and in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to vote or drive cars.). If there are disabled people out there who have doubts about the value of the new convention, then they do seem to have some justification for their skepticism.

คนที่ชอบเย้ยหยันอาจชี้ให้เห็นว่า 27 ปีหลังจากที่มอนุสัญญาว่าด้วยการขจัดการเลือกปฏิบัติต่อสตรี (CEDAW) มีผลบังคับใช้ สิทธิของสตรีก็ยังคงถูกละเมิดทั่วโลก ในทุก ๆ วัน สตรีนับไม่ถ้วนถูกข่มขืน ถูกหลอกไปค้ามนุษย์ หย่าร้าง ห้ามไม่ให้เคลื่อนไหว การตัดอวัยเพศ และกฎหมายที่ให้น้ำหนักกับชายมากกว่า (ในประเทศอัลจีเรีย ตำรวจเห็นว่าสามีสามารถห้ามไม่ให้ภรรยาออกไปเที่ยวได้ และในซาอุดิอาระเบีย ผู้หญิงถูกห้ามไม่ให้ออกเสียงลงคะแนนหรือขับรถ) หากคนพิการคนหนึ่งจะสงสัยว่าอนุสัญญานี้มีค่ามากขนาดนั้นจริง ๆ หรือ เขาก็มีเหตุผลที่จะสงสัยเช่นนั้นได้

Nevertheless, we should acknowledge that the convention has the potential to be a highly useful tool in the struggle to improve disabled people's lives. It's the first legally binding treaty to clearly set out the obligations on states to avoid discrimination against disabled people in all its forms, and to create a society in which disabled people can fully participate. For example, the convention requires states to take measures to ensure personal mobility, access to work, justice, the physical environment, and information technology.

แม้ว่าจะเป็นอย่างนั้น เราก็ควรทราบไว้ว่าอนุสัญญามีศักยภาพสูงที่จะเป็นเครื่องมือให้เราพัฒนาคุณภาพชีวิตของคนพิการ สนธิสัญญานี้เป็นฉบับแรกที่กล่าวไว้อย่างชัดเจนว่ารัฐจะต้องหลีกเลียงการเลือกปฏิบัติต่อคนพิการในทุกรูปแบบ และต้องสร้างสังคมที่คนพิการสามารถมีส่วนร่วมได้อย่างเต็มที่ ยกตัวอย่างเช่น อนุสัญญา (หรือสนธิสัญญา) กล่าวไว้ว่ารัฐต้องมีมาตรการในการให้การเข้าถึงงาน ความยุติธรรม สภาพแวดล้อมทางกายภาพรวมถึงข้อมูลข่าวสารและเทคโนโลยีแก่คนพิการ

It’s difficult to overestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Global disability statistics make bleak reading. According to the World Health Organisation there are 650 million people with disabilities worldwide. Eighty per cent are estimated to live in developing countries, yet 90 per cent of rehabilitation measures take place in industrialized countries. Only two per cent of disabled children in developing countries receive an education and a recent World Bank study indicated that disability is a bigger barrier to school participation than gender and household economic status. In many countries - including India, Thailand and Vietnam - more than three-quarters of disabled adults are out of work. Research commissioned for the UN World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled People suggests that 350 million people with disabilities live in areas where essential services needed to help them are not available. Achieving change will require a Herculean effort.

เป็นการยากที่จะบอกว่าเราต้องใช้ความพยายามอีกเท่าไร จากข้อมูลขององค์การอนามัยโลก มีคนพิการ 650 ล้านคนทั่วโลก ประมาณ 80 เปอร์เซ็นต์อาศัยอยู่ในประเทศกำลังพัฒนา อีกกว่า 90 เปอร์เซ็นต์ของการฟื้นฟูสมรรถภาพอยู่ในประเทศอุตสาหกรรม มีเพียง 2 เปอร์เซ็นต์ของเด็กพิการในประเทศกำลังพัฒนาได้รับการศึกษา จากการศึกษาของธนาคารโลกเมื่อเร็ว ๆ นี้ชี้ให้เห็นว่า ความพิการเป็นปัญหาสำคัญในการเข้าถึงการศึกษามากกว่าปัญหาเรื่องการมีส่วนร่วมในเรื่องของเพศสภาพและสถานะทางเศรษฐกิจของครัวเรือน ในหลาย ๆ ประเทศ เช่น อินเดีย ไทยและเวียดนาม มากกว่า 3 ใน 4 ของคนพิการวัยทำงานไม่มีงานทำ คณะทำวิจัยของแผนปฏิบัติงานโลกด้านคนพิการของยูเอ็นชี้ให้เห็นว่า คนพิการ 350 ล้านคนอยู่ในพื้นที่ที่ไม่มีบริการที่จำเป็นสำหรับคนพิการ การเปลี่ยนแปลงต้องใช้ความพยายามอย่างใหญ่หลวง

The UN is right to describe the new convention as "a major milestone in the effort to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity". Yes, fine words without actions are meaningless but actions usually only come about after fine words have been written. I know I would rather live in a world with the convention than one without it.

ยูเอ็นทำถูกแล้วที่มีอนุสัญญาใหม่เพื่อส่งเสริม คุ้มครองและรับประกันสิทธิมนุษยชนและเสรีภาพขึ้นพื้นฐานของคนพิการ และเพื่อส่งเสริมให้เกิดการเคารพในศักดิ์ศรีความเป็นมนุษย์ ก็จริงที่ว่า คำพูดหรู ๆ โดยไม่ทำอะไรนั้นไร้ความหมาย แต่การปฏิบัติก็มักเกิดหลังจากคำพูดหรู ๆ เหล่านั้น ฉันจึงขออยู่ในโลกที่มีอนุสัญญาดีกว่าไม่มีอะไรเลย

PS: Here's a quiz question for you. Which country was the first to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? Answer: Jamaica. I'm sure you're as surprised by that information as I was.. .

ป.ล. คำถาม – ประเทศใดให้สัตยาบันอนุสัญญาว่าด้วยสิทธิคนพิการของยูเอ็นเป็นประเทศแรก? คำตอบ – จาไมก้า น่าแปลกใจจริง ๆ


Victoria Brignell
June 2008

Source:
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/crips-column/2008/06/rights-disabled-convention

Posted by rollingrains at 02:00 AM

June 14, 2008

Acessibilidade, Um Exemplo a Ser Seguido... (Portuguese)

"Pérolas do Dicas do Pernambuco", um boletim eletrônico, publicou o seguente por Rita de Cássia Nogueira Lima Promotora de Justiça de Habitação e Urbanismo

ACESSIBILIDADE, UM EXEMPLO A SER SEGUIDO...

Parabenizo a promotora pública Rita de Cássia Nogueira Lima, que escreveu esta pérola...

ESTADO DO ACRE - MINISTÉRIO PÚBLICO

PROMOTORIA DE JUSTIÇA ESPECIALIZADA DE HABITAÇÃO E URBANISMO

RECOMENDAÇÃO Nº 01/2008

Dispõe sobre as providências administrativas necessárias para o cumprimento da legislação de acessibilidade de portadores de deficiência ou com mobilidade reduzida, nos edifícios públicos e de uso coletivo, no mobiliário urbano, nas vias e espaços públicos localizados no Município de Rio Branco.

O MINISTÉRIO PÚBLICO DO ESTADO DO ACRE, por meio da Promotoria Especializada de Habitação e Urbanismo, representada pela Promotora de Justiça signatária, no uso das suas atribuições constitucionais e legais, previstas na Constituição Federal (art. 127, "caput", e art. 129, II); e, com fundamento na Lei n.º 8.625/93; na Lei nº 7.853/89, regulamentada pelo Decreto n.º 3.289/99; nas Leis n.º 10.048/2000 e n.º 10.098/2000, regulamentadas pelo Decreto n.º 5.296/2004, bem como fulcrado nas normas de acessibilidade prescritas pela ABNT – NBR-9050, sobre acessibilidade a edificações, mobiliário, espaços e equipamentos urbanos; e,

CONSIDERANDO que a Constituição Federal atribui ao Ministério Público a função de zelar pelo efetivo respeito aos direitos individuais indisponíveis e coletivos assegurados na Carta Magna, bem como a defesa da ordem jurídica, do regime democrático e dos interesses indisponíveis (CF, art. 127 e Constituição Acreana, art. 106); e, ainda, pugnar pelo efetivo respeito aos Poderes Públicos e pelos serviços de relevância pública aos direitos assegurados na Carta Magna, promovendo as medidas necessárias à sua garantia, cabendo à Instituição Ministerial, dentre outras medidas, velar pela celeridade dos procedimentos administrativos, inclusive, EMITINDO RECOMENDAÇÕES AOS PODERES ESTADUAIS E MUNICIPAIS, BEM COMO AOS ÓRGÃOS DA ADMINISTRAÇÃO PÚBLICA ESTADUAL OU MUNICIPAL, DIRETA OU INDIRETA, NOS TERMOS DO ART. 27, IV, DA LEI N.º 8.625/93.

CONSIDERANDO que a Carta Magna estabelece como um dos fundamentos da República Federativa do Brasil a dignidade da pessoa humana (artigo 1º, inciso III), e, como um dos seus objetivos fundamentais "promover o bem de todos, sem preconceito de origem, raça, sexo, cor, idade e quaisquer formas de discriminação" (art.3º., inciso IV), além de expressamente declarar que "todos são iguais perante a lei, sem distinção de qualquer natureza" (Princípio da Igualdade), premissa básica e consentânea dos direitos fundamentais das pessoas com deficiência (art. 5º, caput, e inciso XLI).

CONSIDERANDO que a cidade cumpre sua função social quando propicia o bem-estar de todos os seus habitantes (art. 182, da Constituição Federal).

CONSIDERANDO que constitui um dos objetivos da Política Nacional para a Integração da Pessoa Portadora de Deficiência, nos termos do Decreto nº. 3.298/99, o acesso, o ingresso e a permanência da pessoa portadora de deficiência em todos os serviços oferecidos à comunidade; assegurando a referida Lei (n.º 7.853/89), àquela época, há mais de 20 (vinte) anos, no art. 2.º, parágrafo único, inciso V, "a", "na área das edificações: a) a adoção e a efetiva execução de normas que garantam a funcionalidade das edificações e vias públicas, que evitem ou removam os óbices às pessoas portadoras de deficiência, permitam o acesso destas a edifícios, a logradouros e a meios de transporte".

CONSIDERANDO que, corroborando o já estabelecido pela Lei n.º 7.853/89, foi editada a Lei n.º 10.098/2000, que disciplinou a necessidade de adequação de logradouros públicos, edifícios públicos e privados, transportes coletivos, etc., visando a sua acessibilização às pessoas com deficiência, tendo sido regulamentada pelo Decreto nº 5.296/2004, que além de determinar a forma pela qual deve ser feita essa acessibilização, definiu prazos, diferenciados de acordo com a natureza do bem a ser tornado acessível, para sua realização.

CONSIDERANDO, assim, que é dever do Estado promover ou realizar a adaptação dos logradouros e edifícios públicos, objetivando propiciar acessibilidade ao portador de deficiência ou àquele com mobilidade reduzida, conforme estabelecido nos arts. 227, § 2º, e 244, ambos da Constituição Federal, na Lei nº 7.853/89, regulamentada pelo Decreto 3.298/99, na Lei nº 10.098/2000, regulamentada pelo Decreto n.º 5.296/2004, bem assim no art. 92, § 2.º, da Lei Orgânica do Município de Rio Branco.

CONSIDERANDO, ainda, que o direito a acessar edifícios e circular livremente pelas ruas e praças da cidade está diretamente ligado ao princípio constitucional da liberdade, sendo a acessibilidade um direito fundamental social como se encontra elencado na Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil, constituindo-se, pois, consectário do mais básico dos direitos, o de ir e vir, fundamental pilar de cidadania e dignidade.

CONSIDERANDO, neste sentido, o disposto na Lei Estadual n.º 1.058/92, que estabelece: "Art. 1.º A construção de prédios e logradouros de uso público deverá ser adaptada às pessoas que portam os mais diversos tipos de deficiência. Art. 2.º - Entende-se por adaptação toda e qualquer medida que venha facilitar o acesso, o deslocamento e a permanência, bem como o uso das instalações pelas pessoas que portam deficiência."

CONSIDERANDO, da mesma forma, o que preceitua o art. 1.º da Lei Municipal n.º 1.142/94: "Fica obrigado que os projetos arquitetônicos dos prédios públicos e privados comerciais, construídos no Município de Rio Branco, permitam o livre acesso de deficientes físicos, com detalhes arquitetônicos como rampa, larguras das portas, corrimões, banheiros adequados, telefones, etc., visando o perfeito atendimento.".

CONSIDERANDO, também, que, nos termos do art. 2.º, da supracitada Lei: "A Prefeitura não concederá alvará de construção nem habite-se aos projetos que não cumprirem o estabelecido no artigo anterior"; e, em complementação, estabelece o art. 3.º, da Lei n.º 1.142/94, que o disposto nos artigos anteriores se aplica também aos projetos de reforma e ampliação.

CONSIDERANDO que, além das normas citadas, o novo Plano Diretor de Rio Branco – Lei Municipal n.º 1.611/2006, preceitua, no art. 7.º, inciso VII, que "... constituem-se funções sociais do Município de Rio Branco: VII – garantir às pessoas portadoras de deficiência física condições estruturais de acesso a serviços públicos e particulares de freqüência ao público, a logradouros e ao transporte coletivo."

CONSIDERANDO que o Decreto n.º 5.296/2004 impôs o prazo de 30 (trinta) meses, a partir da publicação do referido Decreto (02.12.2004), para a adaptação às normas de acessibilidade das edificações de uso público já existentes, concernentes a: edificações administradas por entidades da administração pública, direta e indireta, ou por empresas prestadoras de serviços públicos e destinados ao público em geral, incluindo, aí, as instituições financeiras; locais de reunião, esporte, espetáculos, conferências; instituições de ensino público; nos termos da ABNT NBR 9050:2004, cujo prazo, portanto, de há muito se expirou, ou seja, há quase 01 (um) ano, mais precisamente, em data de 02.06.2007 (art. 19, § 1.º).

CONSIDERANDO, ainda, que, nos termos do aludido Decreto, no que diz respeito ao mobiliário urbano (espaços públicos), o prazo para implantação da referida legislação de acessibilidade, era imediato, ou seja, a partir da publicação do Decreto n.º 5.296/2004 (02.12.2004).

CONSIDERANDO, deste modo, que, nos termos do art. 15, do Decreto n.º 5.296/2004, e art. 1.º, da Lei n.º 10.098/00, o planejamento e a urbanização das vias, praças, dos logradouros, parques e demais espaços de uso público, estão sujeitas aos efeitos das normas técnicas de acessibilidade da ABNT: construção ou adaptação de calçadas para circulação livre de barreiras, rebaixamentos de meio-fio com rampa acessível, elevação de calçadas para travessia em nível, instalação de piso tátil direcional e de alerta, instalação de vegetação e mobiliário urbano.

CONSIDERANDO que, não obstante a clareza das imposições estabelecidas pela legislação supracitada (não existe discricionariedade), tem se observado, no âmbito do Município de Rio Branco, que os responsáveis por seu cumprimento optaram, ao longo dos últimos anos, por ignorá-la, perpetuando a situação de exclusão à qual é submetido o segmento das pessoas com deficiência e com mobilidade reduzida; fato que tem sido constado, inclusive, em obras recentes executadas pelo Poder Público Municipal e Estadual, concernente à construção de praças e passeios, a exemplo da Avenida Ceará, Nações Unidas e Isaura Parente, com desenhos pintados de forma errada, ausência de piso tátil e direcional, dentre outras irregularidades.

CONSIDERANDO que calçadas bem arrumadas facilitam o trânsito de pessoas portadoras de deficiência ou com mobilidade reduzida, e, principalmente, impedem muitos acidentes que poderiam ser evitados se estas estivessem padronizadas e em perfeito estado de conservação.

CONSIDERANDO, como referido alhures, que, no caso das edificações de uso público, a violação dos dispositivos legais informados é ainda mais contundente, haja vista que o prazo para que fossem realizadas as adaptações dos prédios de uso público já existentes, a teor do Decreto n.º 5.296/2004 (art. 19, § 1.º), já se encontra vencido, sem que qualquer providência fosse ou esteja sendo tomada por parte do Poder Público

no sentido de garantir a todos, sem discriminação, o seu impostergável direito de "ir e vir".

CONSIDERANDO, também, que as iniciativas de acessibilidade favorecem não apenas os deficientes físicos, o que, por si só, já seria suficiente para sua efetiva implantação, mas laboram, também, em prol de toda e qualquer pessoa com mobilidade reduzida, aqui entendida como aquela que, temporariamente, tem reduzida a sua capacidade de locomoção, tais como: crianças, pessoas idosas, obesas, anãs, grávidas, pessoas com carrinho de bebê ou acompanhadas por criança de colo, a pessoa engessada com muleta, entre outras.

CONSIDERANDO, neste mesmo prisma, que, segundo estudos científicos, apenas com o processo de envelhecimento, a probabilidade de que uma pessoa tenha algum tipo de incapacidade chega a ser de 10% (dez por cento) até os 21 anos, eleva-se a 36% (trinta e seis por cento) em pessoas na faixa etária de 55 a 64 anos, atingindo 72% (setenta e dois por cento) naquelas com mais de 80 anos.

CONSIDERANDO, nesta esteira, que inúmeras pessoas têm deficiências em diferentes níveis, e a não observância da legislação de acessibilidade implica em uma dificuldade de acesso para que esses cidadãos estabeleçam contatos e troquem informações, exerçam uma atividade produtiva e rentável, encontrem formas alternativas de lazer e aprendizado, aumentem as suas relações sociais, em resumo, torne possível a construção de uma vida mais digna e feliz.

CONSIDERANDO, noutro giro, que qualquer argumento de natureza econômica que possa ser levantado para justificar a não acessibilidade dos edifícios, logradouros públicos e mobiliários urbanos nesta Capital, será inócuo e injustificado, pelo simples fato de que o prazo concedido pelo Decreto Federal n.º 5.296/2004 foi mais do que suficiente, sendo certo que, caso houvesse sensibilidade e, principalmente, respeito ao princípio da legalidade, o planejamento arquitetônico e financeiro para tanto teria sido realizado e, conseqüentemente, as obras necessárias teriam sido feitas.

CONSIDERANDO, sobremaneira, o contido no Inquérito Civil n.º 043332-2005, em trâmite nesta Promotoria de Habitação e Urbanismo e Promotoria Especializada de Cidadania e Saúde Pública, que versa sobre o cumprimento da legislação de acessibilidade, onde se verifica que o Município de Rio Branco não vem observando com regularidade as normas de acessibilidade, nem, tampouco, exigindo a sua observância.

CONSIDERANDO que a administração pública municipal deve adotar ações programadas visando à fiscalização das edificações de uso público e coletivo já existentes, de forma a dar efetivo cumprimento à legislação de acessibilidade.

CONSIDERANDO, por fim, que o Município de Rio Branco não vem exigindo a adaptação dos prédios de uso público e de uso coletivo já existentes; e, quando provocado pelo Ministério Público, limita-se, tão-somente, a realizar as vistorias requisitadas, ou seja, sem que seja tomada por ele qualquer providência ante a constatação de irregularidades, visando saná-las.

RECOMENDA:

1. AO MUNICÍPIO DE RIO BRANCO – Poder Executivo, através do Prefeito Municipal:

1.1. Providencie, no prazo máximo de 180 (cento e oitenta) dias, a adaptação de todos os edifícios públicos sob sua administração, de acordo com as especificações da NBR ABNT 9050, em cumprimento ao disposto nos arts. 227, § 2.º e 244, ambos da Constituição Federal, artigo 19, § 1º, do Decreto Federal nº 5.296/2004, bem como da Lei Estadual n.º 1.058/92, da Lei Orgânica do Município de Rio Branco e da Lei Municipal n.º

1.142/94.

1.2. Tornar acessíveis os edifícios de uso público e coletivo, teatros, cinemas, auditórios, estádio, ginásios de esporte, casas de espetáculos, salas de conferências e similares, estabelecimentos de ensino de qualquer nível, etapa ou modalidade, públicos ou privados, na forma do disposto no art. 23, "caput", e § 8.º, do Decreto Federal n.º 5.296/2004, ou seja, no prazo de 30 (trinta) meses, para as edificações de uso público, que venceu em data 02.06.2007; e, 48 (quarenta e oito) meses, para as de uso coletivo, cujo prazo se expira em 02.12.2008.

1.3. Definir os alinhamentos prediais e de meios fios.

1.4. Adotar todas as medidas necessárias a garantir o direito de uso dos passeios e logradouros públicos (mobiliário urbano), com a devida acessibilidade e respeito à dignidade humana, na forma do artigo 16, do Decreto nº 5.296/2004, cujo prazo para adequação era imediato, a partir da publicação daquele Decreto (02.12.2004); providenciando, também, a retirada de quaisquer obstáculos que se encontrem sobre os passeios e logradouros públicos, tais como churrasqueiras, ferro-velho, comércios informais, garagens, obras e materiais de construção, oficinas mecânicas, metalurgias, lavagens de automóveis e demais atividades comerciais.

1.5. Estabelecer padrões arquitetônicos, expedindo normas ou prescrições técnicas, para as calçadas no município de Rio Branco com material e dimensões apropriadas ao tráfego de pessoas, obedecendo aos dispositivos de acessibilidade determinados na Norma Técnica NBR 9050, atentando-se não somente, mas, principalmente, à reserva da faixa destinada ao mobiliário urbano (espaços necessários à colocação de árvores, postes de iluminação, sinalização de trânsito, lixeiras e outros elementos), e a reserva de faixa livre para circulação de pedestres, no que diz respeito à largura mínima e inclinações; bem como aplicar medidas administrativas sanciona tórias àqueles que não construírem os passeios em conformidade com tais normas.

1.6 Promover campanhas publicitárias, visando conscientizar e informar a população sobre os padrões arquitetônicos e as normas técnicas especificadas no item 1.5.

1.7. No exame de projetos arquitetônicos para fins de aprovação, exigir que proprietários, arquitetos, engenheiros e responsáveis técnicos firmem declaração, acompanhada de relação dos itens e elementos construtivos sujeitos às regras especiais de acessibilidade, afirmando que a obra projetada, no que se refere a portadores de deficiência e de mobilidade reduzida, atende às prescrições das normas técnicas brasileiras da ABNT e da legislação pertinente.

1.8. No licenciamento de obras, o servidor responsável deverá verificar e atestar o atendimento da exigência prevista no item 1.7, procedendo da mesma forma, no que couber, em relação aos projetos elaborados pelas Secretarias de Estado das áreas de Infra Estrutura, Obras Públicas e Habitação, Saúde, Educação e Segurança, enfim, para todas as obras públicas, em face do disposto no art. 57.º, do Código de Obras do Município de Rio Branco, Lei Municipal n.º 611/1986.

1.9. Para efeito de emissão de certificados de conclusão, exigir declaração de proprietários, arquitetos, engenheiros e responsáveis técnicos de que a obra foi concluída com atendimento das regras de acessibilidade do portador de deficiência, bem como atestado da veracidade desta afirmação assinado pelo servidor responsável pela vistoria final.

1.10. Em cumprimento ao estabelecido na Lei nº 7.853/89, regulamentada pelo Decreto 3.298/99, na Lei nº 10.098/00, regulamentada pelo Decreto n.º 5.296/2004, bem assim na Lei Estadual n.º 1.058/92, na Lei Orgânica do Município de Rio Branco, art. 92, § 2.º, e na Lei Municipal n.º 1.142/94, a instituição de ações programadas de fiscalização dos prédios existentes, com agendamento de prioridades, prazos, locais e responsáveis pelas vistorias.

1.11. Remeter à Promotoria de Justiça de Habitação e Urbanismo, no prazo de 30 (trinta) dias, relatório acerca das medidas tomadas em conformidade com esta Recomendação.

2. AO ESTADO DO ACRE - SECRETARIAS DE ESTADO DE INFRA-ESTRUTURA, OBRAS PÚBLICAS E HABITAÇÃO, SAÚDE, EDUCAÇÃO E SEGURANÇA PÚBLICA:

2.1. Providenciem, no prazo máximo de 180 (cento e oitenta) dias, a adaptação de todos os edifícios públicos sob sua administração, de acordo com as especificações da NBR ABNT 9050, em cumprimento ao disposto no artigo 19 § 1º, do Decreto Federal nº 5.296/2004, bem como da Lei Estadual n.º 1.058/92, da Lei Orgânica do Município de Rio Branco, e da Lei Municipal n.º 1.142/94.

2.2. Tornar acessíveis os sanitários dos edifícios de uso público, bem como teatros, auditórios, estádio, ginásios de esporte, casas de espetáculos, salas de conferências e similares, estabelecimentos de ensino de qualquer nível, etapa ou modalidade, sob sua administração, na forma do disposto no Decreto Federal n.º 5.296/2004.

2.3 A observância, no que couber, das orientações previstas nos item 1.7 e 1.8 desta Recomendação, quando da aprovação de projetos arquitetônicos e do licenciamento das obras de responsabilidade própria, conforme art. 57.º e seguintes do Código de Obras do Município de Rio Branco.

2.4. Atuar conjuntamente com os órgãos municipais competentes pela execução de calçadas e colocação dos elementos de arborização (SEDOP, SEMEIA, RBTRANS), quando da realização de tais obras pelo Estado.

2.5. A remessa à Promotoria de Justiça de Habitação e Urbanismo, no prazo de 30 (trinta) dias, de informações a respeito das medidas tomadas em conformidade com esta recomendação.

A Promotoria de Justiça de Habitação e Urbanismo coloca-se à disposição dos órgãos Recomendados para discutir sugestões visando ao aperfeiçoamento das ações estabelecidas.

Impende ADVERTIR, igualmente, que o não cumprimento da presente RECOMENDAÇÃO, com a tomada das devidas providências, implicará, sem prejuízo da responsabilidade administrativa, no ajuizamento da competente ação civil pública, inclusive, por improbidade administrativa, conforme prevê o artigo 11, inciso II, da Lei n.º 8.429/92.

Por fim, tendo em vista que as atividades de engenheiros e arquitetos são fiscalizadas pelo Conselho Regional de Engenharia, Arquitetura e Agronomia - CREA/AC e que referidas profissões, além de fundamentais para a efetivação da acessibilidade, caracterizam-se "pelas realizações de interesse social e humano", recomendando o respectivo Código de Ética que os profissionais devem interessar-se "pelo bem público e com tal finalidade contribuir com seus conhecimentos, capacidade e experiência para melhor servir à humanidade", em conformidade com a Lei nº 5.194, de 24 dezembro de 1966 e a Resolução nº 205, de 30.09.71, do CONFEA - Conselho Federal de Engenharia, Arquitetura e Agronomia; e, ainda, que, para aprovação ou licenciamento ou emissão de certificado de conclusão de projeto arquitetônico ou urbanístico deverá ser atestado o atendimento às regras de acessibilidade previstas nas normas técnicas de acessibilidade da ABNT, na legislação específica e no Decreto n.º 5.296/04, conforme o disposto no art. 11, § 2º, do citado diploma legal; encaminhe-se cópia desta Recomendação ao CREA/ACRE, para conhecimento e providências a seu cargo, no que se refere à estrita observância por parte dos engenheiros e arquitetos à legislação de acessibilidade.

Remeta-se cópia, também, para conhecimento, às entidades privadas e órgãos públicos de defesa do portador de deficiência, especialmente, à Associação dos Deficientes Visuais do Acre - ADEVI; Centro de Apoio ao Deficiente Visual – CEADV; Associação de Pais e Amigos dos Excepcionais - APAE; à Associação Riobranquense de Deficientes Físicos – ARDEF; à Pastoral da Pessoa com Deficiência; bem como à Secretaria

Municipal do Trabalho, Cidadania e Assistência Social; à Câmara Municipal; ao Tribunal de Justiça; ao Estado do Acre (Governo) – Poder Executivo; à Procuradoria-Geral do Estado do Acre; à Secretaria de Estado de Cidadania e Assistência Social; à Assembléia Legislativa; à Defensoria Pública do Estado; à Procuradoria-Geral de Justiça e à Corregedoria do Ministério Público; à Coordenadoria de Defesa do Meio Ambiente, Habitação e Urbanismo; à Promotoria de Justiça Especializada de Cidadania e Saúde Pública; e, à Procuradoria da República no Estado do Acre – Procuradoria Regional dos Direitos do Cidadão.

Publique-se,

Notifique-se,

Cumpra-se.

Rio Branco, 23 de maio de 2008.

Rita de Cássia Nogueira Lima

Promotora de Justiça de Habitação e Urbanismo


Entidades de Classe, Conselhos Regionais, Instituições de Ensino, Comissões especiais que tratam deste assunto no Sistema Confea/CREAs, que tal encaminharmos por ofício às Prefeituras, órgãos Públicos, Ministério Públicos, Promotores públicos locais, as mesmas proposituras deste boletim para que as demais autoridades constituídas tomem ciência e repitam em suas cidades os mesmos procedimentos, que esta brilhante promotora nos concede. Isto sim é cidadania.

Engenheiro Civil Marcio de Almeida Pernambuco – CREA 0600905790

***************************

Copyright© "Pérolas do Dicas do Pernambuco" é um boletim eletrônico,

Distribuído gratuitamente por e-mail: tiragem 10.000 exemplares.

Envie-nos um e mail com artigos, sugestões, ou solicite o boletim e comece a recebê-lo mensalmente.

Engenheiro Civil Marcio de Almeida Pernambuco - email : engpernambuco@uol.com.br.

Todos os direitos reservados - Permitida a reprodução se e quando comunicada ao autor e citada a fonte.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:50 PM

June 06, 2008

Discrimination in Travel Insurance?

The following news comes from Only Finance.com:

Travel insurers have been accused of contravening the Disability Discrimination Act by unfairly treating 9 million sufferers of medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease etc in the UK.

Managing Director of karmainsurance.com, Brian Wright who made the allegation, said they flout the law which requires insurers to justify their action if they wished to differently treat people with medical conditions from others.

Reminding that premiums ought to be based on actuarial statistics and thorough knowledge of a condition, he said the opposite is usually what happens.


“As soon as people with pre-existing medical conditions ask for a travel quote, discriminatory assumptions are made and they’re faced with higher insurance premiums or no quote at all,” he explained.

In a recent survey by Parkinson’s Disease Society, in a sample of 10,000 respondents, it was found that 27 per cent of people had either been quoted increased premiums for travel insurance or refused cover.

This was in spite of the fact that Parkinson’s does not affect longevity.

Also, another study revealed that diabetics had been given quotes four times more expensive than the normal price.

For the full story see:

http://www.onlyfinance.com/Travel-Insurance-News/12749064-Travel-Insurers-Accused-of-Breaching-Disability-Act.aspx

<--!

Mr Brian said a situation whereby insurers stigmatise those with pre-existing conditions should be challenged. “They take a one size fits all approach, believing specific conditions present the same symptoms and are at the same stages.”

But their argument or judgement often crumbles under scrutiny as they have no statistical proof to justify their assumption, he said.

Although most people heading off on holidays and wanting to purchase cover do not see their condition as medical but a normal way of life, the expert said insurers often refuse to accept this position.

He thus called on the industry to reconsider its risk assessment, pricing strategies and intrusive medical screening processes so as to make insurance policy accessible and affordable to everyone.


--!>

Posted by rollingrains at 08:08 PM

Museum Accessibility News

Ray-Bloomer

On June 3, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the terms of a settlement agreement with the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., to make the museum more accessible to people with visual impairments. Ray Bloomer, director of education for the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University, provided DOJ and the museum staff with technical guidance on the accessibility needs and expectations of visitors who may be blind or have low vision.

Ray Bloomer, a 30-year veteran of the National Park Service, said the settlement agreement requires the museum to provide for increased program access by including such design features as the provision of tactile maps of the museum and floor plan that visitors can borrow; qualified audio describers for any requested museum audiovisual presentations, computer interactives or exhibits; qualified readers to read labels in all exhibitions; and a representative sample of objects, models and/or reproductions of objects to communicate the main themes of the exhibitions for tactile examination, accompanied by audio description. Bloomer has advocated for such measures for the past 20 years and expects the agreement to result in design improvements in other museums.

"This is a wake-up call to other museums," Bloomer said. "It lets people with disabilities, in particular those who are blind or have low vision, know that they have a right to receive equal benefit and enjoyment of the museum experience."

Bloomer lost his sight at age 17 and has since become one of the nation's most prominent experts on museum access for people with disabilities. He has worked to improve access for people with visual impairments and advocated for universal design on projects such as the Statute of Liberty restoration, Trail of Tears exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Okla., and the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center exhibit hall in California.

NCA, part of the IU Bloomington School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, provides training, technical assistance and research on the inclusion of people with disabilities in parks and recreation. To learn more, visit www.ncaonline.org/.

Bloomer can be reached at 812-856-4422.

Source:

Indiana University press release
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/8343.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:32 AM

June 05, 2008

Candy Harrington on the Air Carriers Access Act

Candy's work in this field is legendary. Her multiple books, magazine Emerging Horizons, and behind-the-scenes support of the travelers with disabilities market keeps our work in focus. Read here her analysis of amendments to the US Air Carriers Access Act.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:06 PM

May 23, 2008

One-fifth of Japanese Population Aged 65 or Older in Rapidly Aging Japan

Int'l ageing graph.png

In 2007 the senior population of Japan rose to more than 27 million in 2007. Since 2005 when the country's population peaked at 128 million population has been in decline. This "age-inversion" phenomenon is widely studied among aging and disability scholars but largely unknown to the public and not adequately addressed by policy makers. The Cabinet Office of Japan recently issued a report on the topic.

The annual report by the Cabinet Office showed Japanese aged 65 or over making up 21.5 percent of the population last year, while the so-called "late-stage elderly" — those 75 or older — accounted for nearly 10 percent.

"We have become a full-fledged aged society," the report declared.

"The pace of aging has reached the highest level (among advanced countries) at the beginning of the 21st century, and is expected to enter a phase that no other country in the world has yet experienced," the study added.

For signs of things to come read One-fifth of Japanese population aged 65 or older in rapidly aging Japan

Posted by rollingrains at 05:22 AM

May 19, 2008

India: Public Education by AccessAbility on "Carriage by Air of Persons with Disabilities and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility"

This notice was received from AccessAbility, India:

The office of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India has recently released the ‘Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR)– Carriage by Air of Persons with Disabilities and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility’. Therefore, it is important that the rights conferred to passengers with disabilities are clearly understood and further disseminated in a simpler format.

We at AccessAbility have taken the initiative of compiling a synopsis of the CAR document, to inform and guide passengers with disabilities of the new rights. The synopsis “Air Travel – Know your Rights” is available at http://accessability.co.in/AirTravel-Know-Your-Rights.pdf as a free download. Please feel free to circulate/ post/ distribute this further.

The complete CAR Document (Section 3, Air Transport Series-M, Part-1) as released by the DGCA on 2nd May 2008 is available for viewing at http://dgca.nic.in/cars/D3M-M1.pdf.

We hope you find the synopsis useful. I also request you to forward this information further.

Warm Regards,

Vikas Sharma | Chief Access Consultant | AccessAbility
Web: www.AccessAbility.co.in | E-mail: contactus@accessability.co.in

“for most people, accessibility makes things easier, for people with disabilities, it makes things possible.”

Passengers with disabilities were done a disservice by the inclusion of a loophole for the industry. The document allows airlines to charge for, "any human assistance rendered."

In other words, as long as Universal Design is not adopted in air terminals, transfer services, and aircraft design airlines are able to charge passengers for less-than-equal service (separate, "special", services are not equal; are not social inclusion, full citizenship, or good customer service. Inclusion of a profit incentive for these "special" and marginalizing substitutes for good design retards progress toward full social participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

As India invests heavily in rail transportation modernization will this system of exclusion-by-design also be rewarded financially?

I related news, Imtiaz Muqbil of Travel Impact Newswire reports on regional cooperation among airlines. Will best practices or loopholes be disseminated?

Thursday, May 15, 2008 - The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) today inked an agreement with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to promote mutual cooperation in civil aviation between the two organisations. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) was signed by Mr Lim Kim Choon, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, CAAS, and Dr K. Ramalingam, Chairman, AAI.

Under this arrangement, CAAS and AAI will share knowledge in areas of airport management and operations, exchange information on civil aviation programmes and projects, and coordinate training, research and development programmes.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:32 PM

May 15, 2008

Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

One way to understand the Rolling Rains Report - and the network thriving behind the published word - is to think of it as the Think Tank and resource archive for implementing Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

A new tool exists to help understand the impact of the CRPD with reference to US standards. The United States National Council of Disabilities has released a Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). I encourage readers to facilitate similar studies in their own countries and disseminate them internationally. In particular I encourage analysis of Article 30 and contribution of those analyses to the Google group Article 30: The CRPD on Tourism, Sports, & Leisure

Here is the document's analysis of Article 30 of the CRPD as it relates to US Law:

Article 30 - Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure, and Sport

The United States’ approach to participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport is based almost entirely on an antidiscrimination model. This means that to the extent that such opportunities exist for the general population, the federal government provides a legal right to people with disabilities to participate in such activities without discrimination. In terms of enforcement, the Department of Justice has made accessibility of cultural and recreation facilities a priority. But the larger project envisioned by Article 30, including enabling persons with disabilities to develop and utilize creative and artistic potential, establishing support and recognition of specific cultural and linguistic identities, and encouraging mainstreaming of sporting opportunities, is largely left to private actors and advocacy organizations. Accordingly, a gap exists between U.S. law and CRPD protection, albeit one that could be filled with aggressive implementation and/or additional Congressional action.

In the Appendix they further elaborate:

Coverage of United States Law

United States domestic law has several provisions that prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport. Many such activities take place at privately owned places of public accommodation – that is, privately owned businesses or establishments that open themselves up to the public – and are covered by Title III of the ADA. As such, the owners and operators cannot discriminate in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.

Title III’s reach has therefore extended significantly into recreation and cultural opportunities for people with disabilities. The organizers of sports and recreation activities must make reasonable accommodations unless such accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services being provided. Thus, for example, the Professional Golf Association had to provide a golf cart as a reasonable accommodation to a professional golfer to allow him to participate in tournament play. A requested accommodation also does not have to made if it causes a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Title III has been applied to sports leagues; i.e., its coverage is not limited to actual locations.

As discussed above, pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules requiring closed captioning of most, though not all, television programming.

Similarly, as with any Title III covered entity, facilities that house cultural and recreational opportunities have accessibility obligations. Facilities that predate the ADA must be accessible to the extent that doing so is “readily achievable,” and new facilities (and modifications to existing facilities) must be more fully accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with the ADAAG standards. The accessibility of entertainment venues (sports stadiums and movie theatres) has been a heavily litigated area. In particular, there have been several “line of sight” cases, involving the issue of whether people who used wheelchairs are entitled to seats where they can see over people who stand in the rows in front of them. Another frequently litigated issue is whether wheelchair seating in stadium-style movie theaters must offer choices of position within the theater, and to what extent wheelchair seating must be integrated into the stadium seating section of the theater.

Some of the parties that control and manage recreational opportunities are public entities; for example, public parks and high school athletic associations. Therefore, Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (to the extent these entities receive federal funds) are relevant as well. A public entities’ obligations regarding recreation opportunities under Title II and Section 504 closely track those of private operators of places of public accommodation: they cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in their operations (which includes a duty to provide reasonable accommodation), and must make their facilities accessible. One frequently litigated issue in this area involves public sports associations’ role as standard-setters for who gets to participate in high school athletics.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:42 PM

May 11, 2008

Federal Court of Appeal Denies Airline Application to Overturn Historic Disability Transport Decision

May 7, 2008 For Immediate Release

The Federal Court of Appeal has denied Air Canada and Westjet's application
for leave to appeal a historic decision of the Canadian Transportation
Agency (CTA) that allows Canadians with disabilities to travel by air
without having to pay for a second seat to accommodate their disabilities,
whether for themselves or their attendant.

In January 2008 the CTA ruled on a complaint launched by the Council of
Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), the late Eric Norman and Joanne Neubauer
seeking to ensure that persons with disabilities traveling by air would not
have to pay for a second seat for their attendant or because of the nature
of their disability. Train, bus and marine services do not charge for
additional seats. Only the airlines made people with disabilities
effectively pay double what others pay to fly.

"CCD is ecstatic over the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal." said
Marie White, Chair of CCD. "We knew the airlines did not have a legal
argument
. They were simply trying to stall implementation of the CTA
decision and thus save money by continuing to discriminate
against people
with disabilities," said White.

"Canadians with disabilities have been raising this issue for over 20 years
and the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal says to the airlines they
must abide by the CTA decision. Finally this issue is put to rest and once
again the courts have made it clear that people with disabilities must be
accommodated," said Pat Danforth, Chair of CCD Transportation Committee.

CCD thanks David Baker our legal counsel for his long and determined
support. CCD also thanks the CTA for understanding the importance of this
issue and the strong decision they handed down.

CCD calls upon the Minister of Transport to regulate access to federal
transportation systems thus making it clear that carriers must remove
barriers to the mobility of Canadians with disabilities. "It is time for
the Department of Transport to show some leadership and lessen the burden
disabled persons and their organizations are having to bear through long
hard fought legal battles like this and VIA Rail," said Laurie Beachell, CCD
National Coordinator.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:21 PM

Brasil: Hotéis Devem Ter 5% de Seus Quartos Acessíveis (Portuguese)

Sao Sebastiao


Desde janeiro de 2005 os novos empreendimentos hoteleiros em São Sebastião devem deixar pelo menos 5% de seus leitos de forma a atender a Lei de Acessibilidade. As áreas comuns devem ser 100% acessíveis. Esse panorama foi apresentado para proprietários de hotéis e pousadas, além de comerciantes durante a última reunião do Conselho Municipal de Turismo (Comtur), pela presidente da Comissão de Acessibilidade, Kátia Gomes Severi.

Ela aproveitou a ocasião para tirar as dúvidas dos presentes e mostrar o que o município tem feito para adequar os prédios e espaços públicos à legislação nacional.

É importante que vocês perceberam que há todo um leque de mercado com relação à acessibilidade e aqueles que estiveram em acordo serão os maiores beneficiados", explicou a arquiteta e também diretora do Departamento de Planejamento, da Secretaria de Obras e Planejamento.

Segundo Kátia Severi, o Brasil tem atualmente cerca de 25 milhões de deficientes e a cidade que tem esse perfil sai na frente do turismo acessível.

A diretora de Receita da Secretaria da Fazenda, Marica Avramidis, também participou da reunião e explicou aos membros e convidados do Comtur sobre as leis de Incentivo Fiscal que o município oferece para aqueles que se adequam à legislação.

"Foi uma reunião muito produtiva e tenho certeza que os empresários entendem essa necessidade de adequação", disse o presidente do Conselho, Eduardo Cimino, que também é empresário do setor hoteleiro e presidente do Litoral Norte de São Paulo Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Por: Depto. Imprensa - Prefeitura Municipal de São Sebastião

Posted by rollingrains at 01:44 AM

May 05, 2008

CRPD and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)

People come to disability through a variety of means. Landmines is one preventable cause. below the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) hails the passage of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Landmine survivors and all people with disabilities can now count on a powerful tool to ensure their rights are respected and their needs met, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said today, hailing the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Disability Rights Convention).

The Convention, considered the first major human rights treaty of this century, was signed in December 2006. It will enter into force tomorrow, 30 days after the deposit of the 20th ratification (by Ecuador, on 3 April 2008).

"Like the Mine Ban Treaty just over ten years ago, the Disability Rights Convention is the result of a close partnership between governments and civil society organizations, whose contribution was crucial in achieving a strong legal instrument," said Firoz Ali Alizada, Advisor to the Afghan Landmine Survivors' Organization (ALSO), stressing the high levels of participation of the disability community – including landmine survivors – in the process.

"We are confident that the Disability Rights Convention will help bring about real change in the lives of landmine survivors, through the adoption of effective legislation and a shift in attitude," Alizada added.

In mine-affected countries, the Disability Rights Convention will complement the obligations for assisting landmine victims contained in the Mine Ban Treaty and strengthen the notion that providing comprehensive assistance to landmine survivors and other people with disability is fundamentally a human rights issue.

"Unfortunately, despite repeated verbal commitments, support for landmine survivors is still lacking in many countries, and decisive action is needed to turn promises into real improvements for survivors, their families, and communities," said ICBL Executive Director Sylvie Brigot.

Of the 24 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty that have identified themselves as having the most pressing needs in terms of victim assistance, only four have so far ratified the Disability Rights Convention: Croatia, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru. The ICBL urges all countries to join the Convention and start adopting national legislation to put it into practice as soon as possible.

As the international community prepares to meet in Dublin from 19 May 2008 to negotiate a new treaty to ban cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, the ICBL expressed the hope that the principles of equality and inclusion enshrined in the Disability Rights Convention will be fully reflected in the new treaty.

"From the experience of the Mine Ban Treaty, we have learned the importance of placing concrete requirements on states for victim assistance. We hope the new treaty will include solid implementation and reporting requirements in this area," Brigot said.

Background

The ICBL's Landmine Monitor Report 2007 estimates the global number of landmine survivors at 473,000 but actual numbers are likely to be higher.

During the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2004, the following 23 countries identified themselves as having significant numbers of mine survivors and needs for assistance, but also the greatest responsibility to act: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Croatia, Dem. Rep. of Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda and Yemen. Ethiopia later added itself to the list.

Through the Nairobi Action Plan, adopted at the end of the First Review Conference in 2004, States Parties to the treaty pledged to enhance efforts for the care, rehabilitation and reintegration of landmine survivors during the period 2005-2009.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please call the ICBL office in Geneva: +41 (0)22 920 03 25

Source: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/ASAZ-7E9H9Z?OpenDocument

Posted by rollingrains at 04:04 PM

May 02, 2008

Disability Rights in China

The news note below on the rights of Chinese with disabilities is provided in anticipation of the Paralympic Games:

Last week, the Chinese government adopted a law amendment to better protect the country's more than 83 million persons with a disability, in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in September..."

The amendment to the Law on Protection of the Disabled, which has been discussed twice by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in February and April, was expected to go into effect on 1 July 2008.

"Caring for persons with a disability is a sign of social progress, and is an important part of building a harmonious society," said China's government official Wu Bangguo at the meeting. "Persons with a disability should be guaranteed the right to play a fair role in social life and share the fruits of our country's economic and social development", he added.

It is the first law amendment adopted by the 11th NPC Standing Committee, which convened its first meeting in March this year.

The amendment added details about stable financial support, better medical care and rehabilitation for persons with a disability, along with favorable jobs and tax policies. Governments at county level or above should provide stable funding and draw up annual plans to persons with a disability. Governments and social organizations, enterprises, and non-government organizations should have a quota of persons with a disability on their payroll, and should contribute to persons with a disability in other aspects if they failed to meet the quota. Government purchase should also give priority to products or services provided by persons with a disability, according to the amendment.

Furthermore, the amendment also made clearer the legal consequences of violating the rights and interests of persons with a disability.

China is the host of the Beijing 2008 Paralympics in September 2008 as well as the Asian Para Games in Guangzhou in 2010.

According to the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF), the country has about 83 million disabled, accounting for 6.34 percent of the population. More than 75 percent of persons with a disability live in rural areas.

www.cdpf.org.cn/english/index.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 08:10 PM

April 23, 2008

Wellington City Council and Tourism for All

A public forum held by the Wellington City Council at Te Papa earlier this month was entitled “Tourism for All” and concentrated on a number of aspects around accessible tourism for people with disabilities (PWDs) and seniors. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is probably the most proactive jurisdiction in the country when it comes to access tourism, and the forum, driven by the council’s Disability reference Group (DRG), was opened by Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast.

Guest speaker Sandra Rhodda from Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth said that the New Zealand tourism and hospitality industry ignores the boomer, senior, and access tourism market to its peril.

She suggested that PWDs, seniors, and boomers are all part of the same equation. In spite of the fact that the world population is dominated by baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1965 and now aged 43 to 62), in spite of the fact that this age group has the most disposable income, in spite of the fact that as these boomers age, they will swell enormously the ranks of the seniors market (25% of New Zealand’s population will be 65+ by 2040) and the ranks of PWDs, in spite of the fact that already over half of international visitors to New Zealand are over 45 (as are over 70% of cruise passengers in New Zealand), in spite of the fact that PWDs are the worlds largest minority group (e.g., 17% of New Zealanders have a disability), Rhodda pointed out that these groups are apparently rarely considered in New Zealand tourism and hospitality planning and market targeting. Unlike in countries overseas, very few New Zealand businesses or jurisdictions are gearing up to meet the demands of these groups, and there is little New Zealand research providing information on their size, spending power, habits, or needs.

A presentation by the Barrier Free New Zealand Trust (BFNZT) outlined how it plans to create a “one-stop” website of accessible venues for all people. The website will include accommodation venues, conference facilities, restaurants, bars, and cafes, and event centres. The BFNZT is a charitable trust, made up of consumers and individuals with experience and expertise in local government, the building industry and the disability sector.

Garth Stewart of NZ Bus outlined how his company will invest $40m over the next two and a half years on 90 new buses, and plans to have 95% of their fleet fully accessible by end of 2009. New customer service training and accessible bus stops are planned, together with GPS and Real Time services (up-to-date information by internet, phone, or txt).

Patrick FizGerald8360 from Squiz NZ described a plan to develop the online and print version of the “Accessible Wellington” map so that it remains up to date, interactive, and so that the visually impaired and blind would have full access to the information.

Michael Grace from Positively Wellington Tourism (the local marketing organization) made a plea for sector cooperation in increasing the accessible tourism offer in Wellington. He noted that there was currently no disability-specific accreditation scheme in New Zealand and in fact his organization depended on self-assessment by operators who listed their business on the Positively Wellington site. He discussed the various pros and cons of various international accreditation systems, and the adoption of an Independent Qualmark type rating system for disability accreditation.

The DRG reported back to the community on its work plan progress over the previous 12 months. Of particular importance was mobility parking, access to the railway station, the Kilbirnie Community Sports Centre, bus driver training with Stage Coach, input into the councils draft annual plan, and issues relating to the Footpath Management Policy. A project called the Kumutoto Open Spaces, which has reconnected the city waterfront to the CBD, was reported on. Project improvements included having ramps at a 1-in-15 gradient (as opposed to the legislated 1-in- 12), colour contrasts, and hand rails. However, a ramp to the water’s edge was not included despite the recommendations of the DRG. The DRG intends in the coming year to raise the issue of access gangways on the inter-island ferries, provide further Universal Access training, submit on the council’s Draft Annual Plan, progress issues with the council’s website in respect to accessibility, and work closely with the Greater Wellington regional Council to implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission Report into Accessible Land Transport.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 AM

April 22, 2008

Open Letter to José Manuel Barroso from the European Disability Forum

Open Letter to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission:

Brussels, 22 April 2008

Dear President,

It is with great satisfaction that I am writing to you, following public announcements made by your services that a proposal for a European directive fighting discrimination against disabled people will be proposed to the College of Commissioners at the end of June as part of a comprehensive ‘Social package’.

This is the best response that you, together with Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, could give to the ‘1million4disability’ campaign that EDF has led over last year, and that has gathered the support of over 1.364.984 citizens including prominent national and European politicians, representatives of a wide variety of civil society organizations, trade unions, and heads of State. It is also very significant as it is the first citizen’s initiative that is followed up by the European Commission, even before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. All citizens will rejoice of your decision, as it sets a positive example of democratic dialogue between the European Commission and the people of Europe.

EDF had been campaigning for a disability specific directive since 2000. In 2003, at the closing of the European Year of People with Disabilities, the European Commission, while stating that the time was not ripe, announced that there would be a disability specific directive.

This directive is also a first significant step in the process of implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that the European Commission is about to ratify, as non discrimination is a prominent element in this new binding Human Rights instrument, which covers civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

EDF would like to express its gratitude and support for such an important initiative, which will contribute to strengthening non discrimination acquis, and to establishing a strong link between disability, non discrimination and Human Rights, across the European Union.

Until today, too many citizens with disabilities have remained among the most invisible and neglected, segregated in institutions or even in their homes; they have been denied access to education, employment, transport, social or health services, they have been unable to access information, watch television, to go to cinemas and restaurants as any other citizen…

A European legislation will allow persons with disabilities to have access to the same rights across the EU, and to benefit for the first time from free movement rights, from which they have been so long deprived.

50 million disabled persons across Europe and their families are looking forward to an ambitious and effective legislation tackling rights of disabled people in all areas of life, able to create change and making the EU the most advanced region for disability rights. EDF has drafted a proposal for legislation with the support of legal experts, published on our website. We are at the disposal of your services for further contributions.

It is also critical that such legislation adequately addresses the situations of multiple discrimination, in which all disabled people may find themselves, regardless of their age, sex, religion or belief, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. EDF is also calling on all EU institutions to move forward the debate on legislative measures that will strengthen provisions fighting discrimination on all grounds of Article 13.

EDF is also calling on the Council of the EU, the Member States who will be called to decide on such a proposal, and the European Parliament that has supported a disability specific directive in so many statements, resolutions and reports over the last seven years, to carry forward such disability legislation, which will undoubtedly bring citizens closer to the European Union.

Yannis Vardakastanis

President of the European Disability Forum

Read a selection of key support messages in favour of European disability legislation: http://www.1million4disability.eu/supporters.asp?langue=EN

For more information, please contact: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; Mobile phone: (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; E-mail: communication@edf-feph.org

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled citizens in Europe. EDF membership includes national umbrella organisations of disabled people from all EU/EEA countries, as well as European NGOs representing the different types of disabilities, organisations and individuals committed to disability issues. The mission of the European Disability Forum is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe.



Lettre ouverte à José Manuel Barroso,
Président de la Commission européenne

Bruxelles, 22 avril 2008

Monsieur le Président,

C’est avec une immense satisfaction que je vous adresse ce courrier, suite à l’annonce publiée par vos services stipulant qu’une directive européenne de lutte contre la discrimination des personnes handicapées serait proposée au Collège des Commissaires à la fin du mois de juin, dans le cadre d’un ‘paquet social’ global.

C’est la meilleure réponse que vous pouviez offrir, conjointement avec le Commissaire Vladimir Spidla, à la campagne ‘1million4disability’ (Un million pour le handicap) orchestrée l’an dernier par le FEPH et qui a rallié le soutien de plus de 1.364.984 citoyens, dont d’éminents responsables politiques nationaux et européens, des représentants d’une large palette d’organisations de la société civile, des syndicats et des chefs d’Etat. Il s’agit d’un événement marquant vu que cette initiative de démocratie participative est la première à être mise en œuvre par la Commission européenne, avant même l’entrée en vigueur du Traité de Lisbonne. Tous les citoyens se réjouiront de votre décision qui constitue un exemple positif de dialogue démocratique entre la Commission européenne et la population européenne.

Le FEPH fait campagne en faveur d’une directive axée sur le handicap depuis l’an 2000. En 2003, lors de la clôture de l’Année européenne des personnes handicapées, bien qu’en précisant que le moment n’était pas encore l’approprié, la Commission européenne avait annoncé qu’il y aurait une directive axée sur le handicap.

Cette directive constitue également une première avancée de taille dans le processus de mise en œuvre de la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées que la Commission européenne est sur le point de ratifier. En effet, la non-discrimination constitue un élément prépondérant de ce nouvel instrument contraignant afférent aux droits de l’Homme qui couvre les droits civils, politiques, sociaux, économiques et culturels des personnes handicapées.

Le FEPH souhaiterait exprimer sa gratitude et apporter son appui à une initiative d’une telle importance qui permettra de consolider les acquis en terme de non-discrimination et de tisser un lien solide entre le handicap, la non-discrimination et les droits de l’Homme dans toute l’Union européenne.

Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, trop de citoyens handicapés sont restés invisibles, ont été laissés à l’écart, confinés dans des institutions, voire même dans leurs maisons. L’accès à l’éducation, à l’emploi, au transport, aux services sociaux et de santé leur a été trop longtemps refusé. Ils n’ont pas été en mesure d’avoir accès à l’information, de regarder la télévision, de se rendre au cinéma ou au restaurant comme le citoyen lambda…

Une législation européenne permettra aux personnes handicapées de jouir des mêmes droits dans toute l’UE, de bénéficier pour la première fois des droits à la libre circulation dont elles ont été si longtemps privées.

50 millions de personnes handicapées de toute l’Europe et leurs familles espèrent une législation ambitieuse et efficace qui examine les droits des personnes handicapées dans tous les domaines de la vie quotidienne, capable de susciter le changement et de faire de l’UE la région la plus à la pointe en matière de droits des personnes handicapées. Le FEPH a rédigé une proposition de législation avec l’aide de juristes et l’a publiée sur son site web. Nous restons à la disposition de vos services pour toute aide complémentaire.

Il est également impératif qu’une telle législation aborde adéquatement les situations de discrimination multiple que toutes les personnes handicapées sont susceptibles de rencontrer indépendamment de leur âge, de leur sexe, de leur religion ou de leurs convictions, de leur origine ethnique ou de leur orientation sexuelle. Le FEPH exhorte également les institutions européennes à faire progresser le débat sur les mesures législatives qui renforceront les dispositions visant à lutter contre la discrimination fondée sur l’ensemble des motifs énoncés dans l’Article 13.

Le FEPH invite aussi le Conseil de l’UE, les Etats membres qui seront appelés à se prononcer sur une telle proposition, ainsi que le Parlement européen qui s’est exprimé en faveur d’une directive axée sur le handicap dans de nombreuses déclarations, résolutions ou rapports publiés ces sept dernières années, à faire avancer la législation en matière de handicap qui rapprochera indubitablement les citoyens de l’Union européenne.

Yannis Vardakastanis

Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées.

Lisez une sélection de déclarations clé en faveur d’une législation européenne en matière de handicap: http://www.1million4disability.eu/supporters.asp?langue=EN

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, Responsable de Communication et Presse; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; GSM : (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; Courriel: communication@edf-feph.org

Le Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH) est la plateforme européenne qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de citoyens handicapés au sein de l’Union européenne. Les organisations membres du FEPH incluent les plateformes nationales des personnes handicapées de tous les Etats membres de l’UE et de l’Espace économique européen, ainsi que les ONG européennes représentant les différents types de handicap. La mission du FEPH est de garantir le respect total des droits fondamentaux et humains des personnes handicapées par le biais d’une implication active dans le développement et application des politiques européennes.


Posted by rollingrains at 12:47 PM

April 13, 2008

An Endemic Epidemic Gets the Media Coverge it Deserves

"Ludwig van Beethoven (the famous deaf composer) would not be allowed to fly alone on a Tiger Airways flight if he were alive today, because of the Singapore-owned airline's purported policy on deaf passengers."
.

A representative of Tiger Airways Australia told the group last month they could not make an interstate flight without a care provider who could hear. The group was allowed on the March 4 flight eventually, but was then sent a note by the flight attendant that they will not be allowed to fly alone on the airline again, the Herald Sun newspaper reported.

Source:
Airline Slammed on Deaf Policy

Airline Slammed on Deaf Policy

By ROD McGUIRK – 1 day ago

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ludwig van Beethoven would not be allowed to fly alone on a Tiger Airways flight if he were alive today because of the Singapore-owned airline's purported policy on deaf passengers, a government minister said Friday.

Bill Shorten used the example of Beethoven — who famously continued composing until his death in 1827 despite losing his hearing — in condemning the treatment of deaf passengers by the Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways.

The policy bars deaf passengers from flying unless accompanied by a fare-paying adult care provider, a Tiger Airways reservations agent who said she goes by only one name, Jinky, told The Associated Press.

But airline spokesman Matt Hobbs denied that the airline had such a policy, and said he was investigating why air crews and call center staff in the Philippines were telling passengers otherwise.

Shorten, Australia's parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children's services, said he telephoned the airline Friday to tell them that barring deaf people from flying alone was wrong.

"Under this, Beethoven would never have been able to catch a plane" on his own, Shorten told Sky Television. "Just because people are deaf doesn't mean that they're stupid."

A group of four deaf adults has lodged a complaint with the Australian government's anti-discrimination watchdog agency after a representative of Tiger Airways Australia told them last month that they could not make an interstate flight without a care provider who could hear, the Herald Sun newspaper reported Friday.

The group was eventually permitted to take their seats on the March 4 flight but a flight attendant told them they would not be allowed to fly alone again on the airline, the newspaper said.

Hobbs, Tiger Airways Australia's head of corporate communications, said the cabin manager had written the four a note saying: "In future, so you know, you'll need to travel with a carer for safety reasons."

"We're clarifying with all staff that deaf people do not require a carer to travel with them," Hobbs said, adding that he could not explain the widespread misunderstanding within his company.

"We are apologetic and very sorry that the people involved in this feel in any way that they've been discriminated against or upset by this in any way," he said.

Hobbs said his company's sister airline, Tiger Airways Singapore, had changed its policy that once required deaf passengers to be accompanied by a care provider.

The Australian subsidiary of Singapore-based Tiger Aviation entered the Australian domestic aviation market last November. Its Australian competitors allow deaf passengers to fly alone.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:23 PM

April 08, 2008

Philippines: Access 2010 - First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities

The First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities March 27-28, 2008 at the Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines. The objectives of the conference were "to promote transport accessibility as an entry point to building a non-handicapping environment for persons with disabilities."

At the end of the Conference the participants shall have:

• Developed common inter-sectoral understanding and dialogue on public transport and accessibility issues.
• Linked the call for accessible transportation to efforts on creating non-handicapping public transport facilities and physical environments.
• Identified the consideration needed for drawing an intervention plan for increasing inter-sectoral partnership for transport and accessibility issues.
• Recommended measures to address the identified gaps and issues in the public transportation system that limits the mobility of persons with disabilities resulted from the regional transport summits held in 2007.
• Drawn and formulated a National Plan of Action for an accessible public transportation system for persons with disabilities in the country.


below is the conference Delaration of Support and Commitment.


“ACCESS 2010”:

First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities

DECLARATION OF SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT

We, the participants of the Access 2010: First National Conference on Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities belonging to the government and the private sectors, declare to commit ourselves to work together in a common platform and uphold the principles of :

Respect for the dignity and rights of all persons with disabilities; and,

Empowering them to live independently and participate fully and equally in all aspects of community life especially the women with disabilities whose involvement in community activities have been undermined because of gender
biases and discriminations.

We pledge to participate actively and unfailingly in the implementation of the National Plan of Action for an Accessible Land, Rail, Air and Sea Public Transportation System for Persons with Disabilities in the country.

Further, we resolve in particular to achieve the following five-point action agenda in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, BIWAKO Millennium Framework for Action Towards an Inclusive, Barrier-Free and Rights-Based Society for Persons with Disabilities and the Accessibility Law:

1. Formulate strategies that will improve attitudes and behavior towards persons
with disabilities particularly in the public transport sector;

2. Undertake comprehensive review of accessibility standards for planning of
public transport systems, as well as universal vehicular standards for
indigenous public transport;

3. Provide opportunities for the development of a strong multi-sectoral
partnership for public transport accessibility;

4. Improve existing public transport systems and ensure new and renovated public
transport systems are accessible; and,

5. Provide education and training for public transportation stakeholders on
accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities.

To achieve this five-point agenda, the participants commit to undertake the following:

Assist in the development of an effective mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of laws and policies pertaining to the accessibility of transportation services provided to the public;

Review and amend existing policies, guidelines and standards on public transport systems as well as universal vehicular standards for indigenous public transport that restricts mobility resulting in the discrimination of persons with disabilities in the transport industry;

Actively support the development of a strong multi-sectoral partnership for public transport accessibility among government organizations, non-government organizations and the sector of persons with disabilities that will result in a pro-active public transportation industry responsive to the enjoyment of persons with disabilities of their rights as Filipino citizens;

Support the development of existing transport systems to include standards in the designs of vehicles and other transportation facilities as well as ensure that new and renovated public transport systems are accessible; and,

Provide continuing capability-building activities for public transportation stakeholders on accessibility for the effective implementation of guidelines/policies/standards as well as ensure that persons with disabilities have the same access and are treated in a dignified and non-discriminatory manner.

Finally, in support of the above five-point agenda, we urge all persons with disabilities to organize themselves in all levels of the political subdivisions of our country so that with one voice they can call for government’s affirmative action in pursuit of the attainment of the objectives of this Declaration.

Signed this 28th day of March 2008 at Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City.


Undersecretary Anneli R. Lontoc –DOTC
Asst. Secretary Elmer A. Soneja – DOTC
Director Ildefonso T. Patdu, Jr. - DOTC
Undersecretary Rosie Lovely Romulo –NCDA
Asst. Secretary Nora Salazar – NCDA
Michael P. Davies – CBM-Seapro
ies

Posted by rollingrains at 04:22 PM

April 04, 2008

ADA: US is Playing With Broken Toys

The 20th nation has ratified the United nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD.)

Ecuador was the tipping point nation. This means that the document will attain force of law on May 3.

It is no secret that the United States has not been supportive of this culmination of 30 year's work by the disability community. The US disability community has written and vigorously promoted the ADA Restoration Act as a remedy to US abdication of the core intent of the ADA. It now appears that the next phase in the backslide will take the form of benign disinterest and subtle claims that the ADA and CRPD are equivalent. It remains for the united disability community to mount an effective public education initiative to turn aside such patronizing dismissal of our political will as:

"We recognize that many other states may consider the convention a useful tool as they develop their own national framework for persons with disabilities," said U.S. mission spokesman Richard Grenell.

"But for the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 2001, was the most sweeping legislation to provide access for people with disabilities."

*


The momentum for justice on disability rights has bypassed the United States. Case in point, in practice the ADA does not provide the coherent and fundamental human rights affirmation on leisure and tourism contained in Chapter 30 of the Convention.

Speaking to US readers explicitly for the moment - It is in our best interest as a nation to admit our failure to live up to our own promise as embodied in the ADA. It is time to join the international community rather than cower behind protests of having been "first." Protests of psuedo-support are a disingenuous disservice to the disability community. False assurances that the existing - and complacent - US system is the endpoint to be sought is also a disservice to business. Without a vision equivalent to that of Chapter 30 of the CRPD the tourism industry in the US will fall further and further behind the rest of the world.

* Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN03333101

See also:

Secretary-General Ban hails entry into force of treaty on disability rights

[UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (left) addressing the signing ceremony of the Convention last year]

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (left) addressing the signing ceremony of the Convention last year
3 April 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the entry into force of the first international treaty on the human rights of persons with disabilities, after the required twentieth country ratified the landmark convention today.

“It is a historic moment in our quest for realization of the universal human rights for ALL persons, creating a fully inclusive society for all,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson Marie Okabe said in a statement celebrating the rapid progress of the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in December 2006.

“The Convention will be a powerful tool to eradicate the obstacle faced by persons with disabilities,” she said, pointing to discrimination, segregation from society, economic marginalization, and lack of opportunities for participation in social, political and economic decision-making processes.

Today’s ratification by Ecuador means that the Convention, along with an optional protocol that will allow individuals and groups to petition for relief, will be legally binding as of 3 May. Tunisia and Jordan also ratified the treaty earlier this week.

Through today’s statement, the Secretary-General also congratulated the States that have ratified or acceded to the Convention. Some 126 countries have signed the Convention since 30 March 2007, and 71 have signed the optional protocol.

“It is estimated that there are at least 650 million persons with disabilities worldwide, of whom approximately 80 percent live in less developed countries,” Ms. Okabe noted.

As many as two-thirds of United Nations Member States do not have any legal protection for people with disabilities, according to the UN Focal Point on Disability Akiko Ito, even though they comprise one in 10 of the global population.

“The Convention, together with its Optional Protocol, is deeply rooted in the firm commitment of the international community to rectifying the egregious neglect and dehumanizing practices that violate the human rights of persons with disabilities,” Ms. Okabe concluded, calling on all States that have not yet done so to accede or ratify it without delay.

In a statement issued this past weekend, more than 20 UN departments, agencies, programmes, and funds pledged their support to implementing the convention.

The newly-formed Inter-Agency Support Group for the Convention said that support will focus on six main areas: policies to support the purpose and objectives of the Convention; programmes including international cooperation; capacity-building of Member States, civil society, and the UN system; research and access to knowledge on disabilities; accessibility; and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Source:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26199&Cr=&Cr1=

Posted by rollingrains at 11:08 PM

April 02, 2008

From Tourism-Review.com

April issue cover Tourism-Reviw
A special issue of the magazine Ethical has been published on Barrier-Free Tourism. The 13 page pdf download is available here.

Articles include:

Tourism Accessible for All in Europe
0,6 Mb

For those who associate tourism only with holiday and leisure and luxury it should be mentioned that tourism is a sector of remarkable economic importance. The European tourism economy contributes to about 5 % (depending on its definition up to 11 %) to the GDP of the European Union and provides between 8 and 24 million jobs (depending on the definition of the sector). Furthermore, it should be taken into account that tourism is indispensably linked with travel...

Case Study: Economic Advantages of Accessible Tourism in Germany
0,3 Mb

In November 2002 Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour commissioned a project group, comprising the University of Münster and the consulting firms NEUMANNCONSULT and Reppel + Lorenz, to conduct a study on the economic impulses of accessible Tourism for All. For the first time reliable data and statements were brought together, which represent the customer’s potential and manner regarding accessible Tourism in Germany...

Merging Architecture and Accessibility
0,4 Mb

In the Nordic countries, improving disabled people's access to museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions has been an important consideration for a number of years. It is evident that museum buildings and the way displayed objects are presented should embrace all visitors; one of the challenges confronting museums at the turn of the twenty-first century is to ensure the greatest possible accessibility for all without compromising the architectural expression...

Providing Services in an Accessible Manner
0,4 Mb

Access is about the absence of barriers to the use of facilities. Although this is usually seen in terms of physical access or access to informa¬tion and communication, poorly trained staff can represent a serious barrier for disabled people if they are unable to provide services in an appropriate, non-discriminatory way...
Barrier-Free Asia?

Posted by rollingrains at 10:31 PM

March 30, 2008

2000 Bali Declaration on Barrier-Free Tourism for People with Disabilities

The 2000 Bali Conference on Inclusive Tourism was a watershed in the field. Below is the conference report.

Regional Training Workshop on Promotion of Accessible Tourism (24-28 September 2000)


Report: Asia-Pacific Conference on Tourism for People with Disabilities (24-27 September 2000)
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Recommendations

A. Issues

People with disabilities and older persons are growing groups and consumers of tourism services. Families with young children are beginning to travel more. These three groups have similar needs for accessible tourism. However, the majority of tourism service providers in the ESCAP region do not, as yet, understand the economic and social significance of early action to create barrier-free tourism.

The built environment (buildings, streets, parks, public transportation and communication infrastructure) has a major impact on the quality of tourism experience, especially concerning its safety, convenience, efficiency and enjoyment aspects. There is insufficient integration of the planning and development of the built environment and tourism development, both within and across countries.

To create tourism that caters to the full range of consumer needs, there is a need to improve the useability of transportation, accommodation, tourism sites and services, and tour programmes.

B. Promotion of tourism for all

1. Guiding principles

Persons with disabilities have equal right of access to all tourism infrastructure, products and services, including employment opportunities and benefits that the tourism industry can provide. The tourism industry should provide the same choices for all consumers to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities, and protection of the individual's right to travel with dignity.

Tourism master plans, policies and programmes should incorporate the principle of universal access to tourism infrastructure, products and services. Furthermore, access improvement in tourism benefits many other groups, including older persons and families with young children. The inclusion of universal design in tourism development can create environments, products and services that are useable by a wide spectrum of consumers, irrespective of their experience, knowledge, skills, age, gender, as well as their physical, sensory, communication and cognitive abilities. Thus the spirit of barrier-free tourism means the reduction of all physical and non-physical barriers and dangers so that they do not adversely affect tourism experiences and activities.

With regard to tourism access improvement, it is important for all concerned to take into consideration the rights and needs of diverse user groups, including single disability groups, persons with multiple disabilities, and women and girls with disabilities.

2. Strategic actions

(a) People with disabilities and disabled persons' organizations should:

1. Develop empowerment programmes focusing on skills for advocacy and negotiation with the tourism industry;
2. Acquire skills in appraising tourism facilities, programmes and services, and in recommending action to raise their quality, as appropriate;
3. Learn to conduct access surveys;
4. Document and share information on the quality of tourism components and user experiences (accommodation, transportation, tourism sites and services, tour programmes, and information and communications systems);
5. Create local access guides and maps for in-country and foreign visitors;
6. Serve as resource persons or advisors to training institutions and policy-making bodies concerned with tourism services;
7. Communicate rights and needs in an effective manner to people encountered in the course of travel, especially those who are unaware and inexperienced concerning disabled persons or discriminatory in their behaviour;
8. Strengthen craft production and marketing skills among persons with disabilities as an economically viable interface with the tourism industry;
9. Support disabled persons in acquiring training and employment in the tourism industry.

(b) Government authorities should:

1. Train immigration officers and ministry of foreign affairs staff concerned with visa applications on disabled person-friendly procedures to be observed in a systematic manner;
2. Work towards uniform disabled person-friendly immigration procedures at the subregional level;
3. Improve the accessibility of immigration offices to facilitate travel document application by all tourists, including tourists with disabilities;
4. Exempt from customs duty all assistive devices required by disabled persons for supporting their activities of daily living, including computers required by blind persons;
5. Update annually a list of items that should be exempted from customs duty;
6. Simplify customs clearance procedures for all assistive devices required by disabled persons for supporting their activities of daily living, including computers required by blind persons;
7. Train customs officers on ways of communicating with disabled persons, especially with deaf and hard of hearing persons.

(c) Tourism service providers should:

1. Develop in-house programmes to raise awareness, sensitivity and skill levels to provide more appropriate services for persons with disabilities;
2. Communicate more with disabled persons and their organizations to exchange accurate and reliable information for strengthening tourism services to better meet diverse consumer needs;
3. Encourage tourism service providers to make their websites accessible for disabled persons, especially blind persons;
4. Involve disabled persons with the requisite experience and skills in conducting access surveys of premises and to serve as resource persons and advisors in improving tourism services;
5. Introduce barrier-free tourism into the agendas of their regular meetings;
6. Introduce accessibility as a criterion in the ranking of hotels and restaurants.

(d) Tourism training institutions should:

1. Include in training curricula (for all levels) the following contents concerning a client focus that respects the rights and needs of diverse consumer groups, including persons with disabilities: attitude, knowledge and skills development, as well as cross-cultural understanding and appreciation;
2. Develop and use training modules for sensitizing front-line service staff to relate, in an appropriate manner, with disabled travellers.

(e) Inter-governmental organizations should:

1. Foster inter-country exchange and networking concerning experiences and practices on endeavours towards barrier-free tourism;
2. Identify, inter-regionally and within the ESCAP region, best practices in the promotion of barrier-free tourism for wider reference and possible adaptation in the ESCAP region;
3. Facilitate, in cooperation with subregional organizations, inter-country discussion towards the adoption of uniform disabled person-friendly immigration procedures;
4. Work towards the lifting of discriminatory and restrictive conditions, such as the requirements of an accompanying person and medical certification, that are imposed on travellers with disabilities;
5. Explore possible means of granting accreditation to tourism industry establishments that are accessible by disabled persons;
6. Develop an outline of core contents for training tourism personnel;
7. Develop training content and capability to strengthen passenger services at transport interchanges (bus, railway, ferry, ship and airplane terminals);
8. Promote the application of universal design principles to improve the accessibility of tourism sites, especially cultural, heritage and pilgrimage sites.


Organization of the Workshop-cum-Conference

A. Background

ESCAP organized the Regional Training Workshop on Promotion of Accessible Tourism (24-28 September 2000) in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Conference on Tourism for People with Disabilities (24-27 September 2000). The Workshop-cum-Conference were held at Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Social Welfare Board, Government of Indonesia. The Conference, organized by the Community Based Rehabilitation Development and Training Centre, Solo, Indonesia, was co-sponsored by ESCAP, the Nippon Foundation and the Indonesian Society for the Care of Disabled Children. The hosting of both events constituted a contribution of the Government of Indonesia to regional cooperation in support of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.

B. Objectives

The Conference was organized to provide a forum for the discussion of major issues related to accessible tourism for people with disabilities, with a view to identifying key policy and strategy elements for promoting barrier-free tourism. The proposal for such a Conference had been discussed at the Eighteenth Session of the Regional Interagency Committee for Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee on Disability-related Concerns held in November 1999.

The Workshop was organized to provide participants from ESCAP developing countries with training on a multisectoral approach to the promotion of barrier-free tourism.

C. Attendance

Two hundred participants (200) attended the Workshop-cum-Conference seminar. They were from Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. They included persons with disabilities, tourism officials, tourism industry representatives and human resources development experts from hospitality management institutions. There were three resource persons from Peru, Singapore and South Africa. Their expertise covered the following areas: promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, and citizens' participation on accessibility issues, training persons with disabilities as trainers on the conduct of access surveys, access-related awareness raising among professionals responsible for the design and maintenance of the built environment, barrier-free design and its strategic application.

D. Opening
The First Lady of Indonesia inaugurated the Conference. His Excellency Mr Abdurrahman Wahid, President of Indonesia, delivered the keynote statement at the opening session. His Excellency Mr I Gede Ardika, Minister of Culture and Tourism addressed the participants. There was a rich programme of performances by local persons with diverse disabilities.

E. Programme

The substantive programme of the Workshop-cum-Conference was composed of eight plenary sessions of technical presentations and two group discussion sessions. The technical presentations covered the following: regional overview of universal design principles, rights and needs of persons with disabilities, priorities for strategic action, quality of life and tourism, tourism for people with disabilities, human resources development in tourism, travel health, and the access survey as an empowerment tool.

A field visit programme was organized for the participants to observe Balinese cultural activities and interact with Balinese disabled persons who were engaged in those activities, as well as in craft production.

The resource persons conducted a special training session for the Workshop participants on: strategic interventions for the promotion of accessible tourism; collaboration with tourism authorities on access improvement; and working on access improvement among disabled persons living in urban poverty, and the rights of persons with disabilities.

F. Adoption of the report and closing
The participants adopted their report, including the recommendations and the Bali Declaration on Barrier-free Tourism for People with Disabilities, on 27 September 2000. The Bali Declaration is annexed to this report.

In adopting the report, nine participants formed a networking group on tourism for people with disabilities. The group agreed to disseminate the recommendations and the Bali Declaration through their respective networks. Group members also agreed to maintain e-mail contact with one another, and to provide mutual support and encouragement on follow-up action.

The Minister of Culture of Tourism, Government of Indonesia, received the finalized Bali Declaration from the participants and pledged his commitment to follow-up action in support of the implementation of its operative provisions.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:19 AM

March 22, 2008

Tourism in the The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a historic document because of the prominence that it gives to Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

To hone in on those topics when reading the CRPD head straight for Chapter 30 entitled, Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport. Then backtrack to Chapters 18 through 21 for Liberty of Movement and Nationality through Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information.)

The manual Human Rights. Yes! published by the University of Minnesota provides simple analyses and is helpful for those preparing to advocate for ratification of CRPD. Chapter 14 The Right to Sport and Culture has a section called Tourism that is its module on disability and travel.

Before I offer a critique let me begin by noting that two of the three citations for the section are my research and admit that this section could have been better if my original work had provided the authors with a more well-rounded argument. Specifically, my work would have been more adequate if it had clearly distinguished between physical accessibility to venues, fixtures, and facilities and program accessibility to services and other non-physical entities. Only when both are addressed is inclusion possible.

There are also particular experiences in my own life that make a critique of Human Rights. Yes! and similar tools of special significance to me.

As an undergraduate at the University of Washington I was recruited to do statewide education on Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. I declined the position but retained a keen interest in the process of public education on the rights of my community. As a professional educator at Santa Clara University I was involved in university administration of compliance plans during the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over the intervening decades I have had numerous opportunities to observe how seemingly small errors in the public education and enforcement processes related to major disability rights legislation can have disproportionately disappointing consequences.

Without serious, systematic, and coordinated efforts to communicate the intent, scope, and consequences of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this historic moment will slip away and its promise remain unfulfilled.

Human Rights. Yes! succeeds at best practices in course design through good sequencing, defined scope, specific learning goals, appropriate language level, and clear graphic design. In the discussion of tourism it makes clear the unique role of the CRPD in the area of tourism and disability:

Responsible tourism development and tourism that respects the human rights
of persons with disabilities must consider inclusion in planning, designing, and implementing tourism projects. Most important, disabled peoples organizations must participate in such processes and need to engage in accessible tourism advocacy. The CRPD, which is the only major international human rights treaty to explicitly mention tourism, requires States to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to tourism and tourist services.

That is it:

• Affirms Inclusive Destination Development (which is in turn founded on Universal Design)
• Assigns legitimacy to disabled peoples organizations (DPOs)
• Specifies consultative and transparent planning and management processes
• States that the CRPD is unique among human rights treaties in addressing tourism
• Observes that States are required to assure access to tourism and tourist services

Critiquing the training module on tourism as a stand-alone tool and doing so in light of the paragraph quoted and outlined above I find the module’s sidebar to be incomplete and unrepresentative of what it aims to address, namely “The Barriers Faced by Tourists with Disabilities”:

• Inaccessible airport transfer and ill-trained airport staff
• Lack of accessible transport
• Inaccessible hotel rooms
• Professional staff not trained to inform and advise about accessibility issues
• Lack of information about a specific attraction's accessibility (e.g., museums, castles, exhibitions)
• Non-adapted toilets in restaurants and public places
• Inaccessible restaurants and tourist attractions
• Inaccessible streets (e.g., no curb cuts, cars blocking wheelchair access
• lanes)
• Lack of disability equipment rental (wheelchairs, bath chairs, toilet raisers,
• electric scooters)

All these are barriers commonly faced. The question is, “By whom?” The underlying problem is two-fold.

First the examples overwhelmingly reflect those with mobility impairments. Second the examples do not capture the important distinction between physical accessibility (well represented in the examples) and program accessibility (overlooked). (Program accessibility means access to all programs and services offered to non-disabled people once physical barriers are eliminated.)

This list of barriers is followed immediately by “Exercise 14.5: Speaking Up for Accessible Tourism.“ The learning objective of the exercise is, “To examine discrimination in tourism and tourism development and to consider how to take action against it.” I have not field-tested this exercise in role-playing a presentation to a “Tourism Development Board” but I would make some predictions based on experience.

My assumption is that the intended goal of the exercise is to (learn to) convince the board to use their authority in the interest of travelers with disabilities. The chapter’s introductory section stipulates the participation of DPOs for any solution to be legitimate. This suggests a solution-oriented presentation incorporating the foremost cultural product of disability culture for addressing the built environment - the seven principles of Universal Design. Yet the exercise does not present Universal Design either in isolation or as a component of Inclusive Destination Development thus making the logical link to the Board’s area of authority for destination management.

I would predict that by failing to prepare participants with these conceptual tools and by norming the exercise on an implicit person with a mobility impairment the exercise would most frequently result in:

• A laundry list of anecdotal stories of barrier encountered during travel
• A preponderance of physical and attitudinal barriers being recounted
• Superficial reference to or application of Universal Design as a set of mandated measurements (building code specifications) rather than as the design approach with no pre-mandated design solutions
• A scarcity of solutions presented (actionable items that are within the domain of the Board)
• Low participation by exercise participants with non-mobility related disabilities

In fairness to the authors of Human Rights. Yes! the topic of Universal Design is discussed in Chapter 2 on Accessibility. The seven principles are listed. The exercise there explicitly encourages reflection on Universal Design as applied to “people with physical, sensory, learning, intellectual, psycho-social, and multiple disabilities.” Barriers to accessibility are broken down into the four categories of physical, informational, institutional, and attitudinal. However, it would be helpful to review, in Chapter 14, the principles of Universal Design introduced 12 chapters earlier and add some intellectual scaffolding to help participants transition from four abstract categories of barriers to the solution-oriented distinction between physical and program accessibility in tourism. Such a modification would improve the exercise.

For legislative milestones such as CRPD to be sustainable they must be either 1) constantly supported by the legal mechanisms such as monitoring, enforcement, and modification 2) find sustainability outside the legal system or 3) both.

The purpose of the Second International Conference on Inclusive Tourism (ICAT 2007) held in Bangkok in November of 2007 was to promote a rights-based approach to tourism. Citing the the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights –based Society for Persons with Disabilities (BMF), Biwako Plus Five and the Plan of Action for Sustainable Tourism Development in Asia and the Pacific (Phase II 2006-2012). The message of its opening keynote, “Inclusive Tourism: A New Strategic Alliance for the Disability Rights Movement,” was that the most promising means of sustaining inclusion in tourism outside the legal system is the travel and hospitality industry itself. In fact, the claim was made that the industry is moving rapidly to self-standardize to meet the burgeoning demand for travel by persons with disabilities.

The grassroots and institutional efforts of individuals and DPOs around the world to promote ratification of and educate the public on the implications of CRPD play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s support. That support will be effective and durable to the extent that DPOs succeed in speaking with a unified voice that reflects distilled cultural wisdom such as Universal Design and represents the current experience of their constituency.

However, their constituencies also have ongoing direct access to the industry as consumers, guests, consultants, travel industry employees, academics, and focus-group participants. The legitimacy of DPOs depends on paying attention to the groundswell of interest in this topic by people with disabilities.

A strategy for success in establishing Inclusive Tourism and inclusive Destination Development practices involves careful attention to constituent education on the part of DPOs. It should provide consumers with disabilities with awareness of their rights. It must also make them competent to offer solutions consistent with the overall interests of those in their community with disabilities other than or more extensive than their own. Careful attention to the training we provide on this subject within our own community can make sustainability of the gains promised by CRPD a reality.

Further Resources:

Full Text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
http://tinyurl.com/3b72g8

Conference Recommendations from the Second International Conference on Inclusive Tourism (ICAT 2007)
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/002056.html


Posted by rollingrains at 04:58 PM

March 21, 2008

"To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues" - CRPD

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been called the pinnacle of legal accomplishments protecting the rights of individuals. It is well on its way to ratification. It is also the subject of an upcoming blog swarm (blog carnival/festchrift). The Rolling Rains Report will contribute on the subject of travel and disability:


The rights to participate in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport are reflected in a number of international human rights law instruments, including, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Specialized conventions also reflect these rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)...

While reflected in various human rights instruments, these rights are not as well-developed as other human rights and are often forgotten. The right of persons with disabilities to participate in a wide array of cultural, recreational, sporting, and leisure activities is recognized as central to full inclusion for disabled people and is therefore defined in some detail in Article 30 of the CRPD. For this reason the CRPD is an important development in human rights law on participation in culture, sport, recreation and related activities.


Source:

Human Rights. Yes!
Chapter 14 The Right to Sport and Culture
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/TB6/index2.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:32 AM

March 15, 2008

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

The proposal to open three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism that is being considered by Echoing Green Foundation and publicy discussed at Ashoka's Changemakers' Geotourism Challenge has generated 80 comments from around the world here:

http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

Global competition will uncover most innovative projects that support better tourism

[San Jose, CA, USA] – The National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers have introduced the first Geotourism Challenge to identify and showcase innovators in tourism development, management, and marketing.

The one-of-a-kind online collaborative competition is designed to raise awareness about how tourism can help sustain, enhance and preserve local culture and environment.

The Rolling Rains Report is a featured entrant in this initiative at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5951. The Rolling Rains Report is an experiment in achieving social inclusion. As a daily online publication it provides research and educational material emphasizing the quality of tourist experience of a group who has historically been denied access to tourism - people with disabilities.

At the Geotourism Challenge an expanded project is proposed. The Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism Project will bring to scale sustainable inclusive tourism development projects piloted in Asia and the Americas. The project goal is to make the tourism industry an authentic partner in the aspirations, rights, and culture of the disability community by establishing local collaboratives, directed by people with disabilities, to provide tourism product creation, infrastructure design, and destination development services to the tourism and hospitality industry. Matching the profit motive of industry to the pent-up demand for travel opportunities among people with disabilities will be the purpose of three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism currently under consideration for funding and launch in September 2008. People with disabilities of the USA alone spend $13.6 billion annually on travel. Tourist destinations recognize the market advantage they gain by accommodating this travel sector. One of the world’s largest industries, tourism, can create lasting social change for one of the world’s fastest growing underserved populations, people with disabilities - including aging Baby Boomers and their parents.

Discussion of the Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism proposal is drawing worldwide participation at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Geotourism Challenge is Changemakers’ 15th collaborative competition and draws on Ashoka’s 27 years of experience in identifying leading social entrepreneurs around the world. To date, the competitions have sourced more than 2,000 local innovations on various themes from more than 125 countries. The Rolling Rains Report is honored to be recognized as a leader in the global movement to create social change through the tourism sector and the foremost voice for Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

Anyone can participate and comment on entries. Everyone is invited to improve all entries through online collaboration. A panel of expert judges will choose approximately a dozen finalists who demonstrate innovation, social impact and sustainability. Judges include: Keith Bellows, VP, National Geographic Society, Editor-in-Chief, NG Traveler; Susan Berresford Past President, The Ford Foundation; Leonard Cordiner, CEO, whl travel; and Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.

The finalists will have the opportunity to present their innovations at The Geotourism Challenge Summit this fall. Three winners will be chosen by online voting and receive $5,000 each.

###

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,800 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com or visit the Web page for the Center for Sustainable Destinations at www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/.

About Ashoka’s Changemakers

Changemakers is building the world's first global online “open source” community that competes to surface the best social solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Changemakers focuses on thematic, collaborative competitions, inviting innovators from around the world to profile and collaborate with a global community of investors, thought leaders and enthusiasts. To date Changemakers has launched 14 successful collaborative competitions and attracted more than 2,000 high-impact solutions from more than 125 countries. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s 27-year history identifying and selecting leading social entrepreneurs and its belief in “Everyone a Changemaker” global society. Get involved. Find out more about how to nominate, enter, comment and vote in our collaborative competitions at www.changemakers.net

For more information please contact:

Delyse Sylvester
Director of Communication
Ashoka's Changemakers
250-551-0570
dsylvester@ashoka.org

About Scott Rains and the Rolling Rains Report

Dr. Scott Rains writes daily on travel and issues in the tourism industry of interest to people with disabilities.
His work appears online at http://www.RollingRains.com and http://withtv.typepad.com/weblog/travel/ . Rains’ articles have also appeared in New Mobility, Emerging Horizons, Contours, Design for All India, Accessible Portugal, Audacity, Travel and Transitions, eTur Brazil, Co-Walking Korea, Turismo Polibea, Current Rehabilitation, [with]TV, and Disaboom among others. For his research on the topic of Universal Design and the travel and hospitality industry he was appointed as Resident Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies of the University of California Santa Cruz (2004-05)

For more information please contact:

Dr. Scott Rains
Publisher, The Rolling Rains Report
srains at oco dot net

Posted by rollingrains at 10:49 PM

March 11, 2008

Walking the Talk in the UK

The Times reports that government compliance with its own regulations on inclusion hit a hard patch. The original timeline seems rather aggressive for something so important and comprehensive. Still, justice delayed is justice denied:

The disclosure comes as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), chaired by Trevor Phillips, last week began its first inquiry into human rights in Britain. The commission was set up last year to replace the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Along with all other public bodies it was meant to implement an overarching equality scheme, setting out its position for its staff on race, gender, disability and other potential areas of discrimination by January 1 this year. It failed to do so, prompting ministers to lay a statutory instrument before Parliament, extending the deadline to April 1 this year.

Full article:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3524788.ece

Posted by rollingrains at 08:22 PM

March 10, 2008

TSA Excess and the Safety of a Traveler With a Disability

WFTV in Florida reports on overzealous airport security in the US endangering the life of a traveler with a disability:


James Hoyne, 14, has a feeding tube in his stomach and carries a back-up in a sealed clear plastic bag. Hoyne said two weeks ago a TSA officer insisted on opening the sterile equipment, contaminating his back-up feeding tube which he later needed.

"I said 'Please don't open it' and she said 'I have to open it whether you like it or not. If I can't open it, I can't let you on the plane,'" Hoyne said of his conversation with the TSA screener.

Full story:
http://www.wftv.com/irresistible/15511359/detail.html

Posted by rollingrains at 08:31 PM

March 08, 2008

European Regulation on Air Passengers' Rights

Brussels, 5 March 2008 – Guaranteeing full accessibility of disabled passengers to the transport system and overcoming the existing barriers in Europe remain a priority for the European disability movement, but also for the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, as he expressed yesterday during a meeting with Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum (EDF): “I can guarantee you my full commitment to advance access of disabled people the transport system’, said the Commissioner.

Referring to the recent entering into force of the European Regulation on Air Passengers’ Rights, Barrot highlighted the importance of a proper implementation of this key text: "adopting the Regulation was only the first step; we will now use all our means to make sure that it is also correctly implemented, but most important, we need disabled users’ support to do it well”.

Yannis Vardakastanis welcomed Barrot’s commitment to disability issues and stressed the important role of 50 million disabled people in the European integration process: “By securing access of disabled people to all forms of transport, the European Union is responding to the needs of citizens at the very grass root level, contributing to the improvement of their daily lives” said Vardakastanis to the Commissioner.

The discussion also focused on the forthcoming European Regulations on maritime and coach passenger rights, currently in preparation. “The Regulations will be proposed in the course of 2008; we will particularly make sure that the discrimination of passengers with disabilities will be addresses in these texts through a series of specific measures”, promised the European Commissioner. Barrot also thanked the European Disability Forum for the numerous cases of discrimination reported in the field of maritime transport and agreed on the need to simultaneously address the rights of disabled passengers and the accessibility requirements to be applied to this sector.

During the meeting, EDF President presented to the Commissioner the proposal for a comprehensive European disability Directive, tackling disabled people’s discrimination in all fields of life, including transport. Welcoming the proposal and congratulating the EDF for the success of its campaign “1million4disability” in favour of the disability Directive, Barrot recognised the specificities of the discrimination faced by disabled people, “made of prejudges and stereotyped , but also of structural barriers”

For more information on the EDF campaign “1million4disability”: www.1million4disability.eu

For more information, please contact: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; Mobile phone: (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; E-mail: communication@edf-feph.org

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled citizens in Europe. EDF membership includes national umbrella organisations of disabled people from all EU/EEA countries, as well as European NGOs representing the different types of disabilities, organisations and individuals committed to disability issues. The mission of the European Disability Forum is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:06 PM

March 06, 2008

Forum européen des personnes handicapées (French)

>>> Communiqué de presse

Les droits des passagers handicapés, au cœur de l’agenda européenne

Rencontre hier à Bruxelles entre Jacques Barrot, Commissaire européen au Transport, et Yannis Vardakastanis, leader du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées


Bruxelles, 5 mars 2008 – Garantir une totale accessibilité des passagers handicapées au système de transport et surmonter les barrières existantes en Europe demeurent parmi les grandes priorités du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées, mais aussi parmi celles du Commissaire européen au Transport, Jacques Barrot, tel qu’il l’a exprimé hier lors de sa réunion avec le Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH), Yannis Vardaksatanis : “Je peux vous garantir mon engagement total afin de faire progresser l’accès des personnes handicapées au système des transports“, a déclaré le Commissaire.


Faisant référence au Règlement européen sur les droits des passagers aériens handicapés, récemment entré en vigueur, Barrot a souligné l’importance d’une bonne application de ce texte clé: "l’adoption du règlement n’était que le premier pas; désormais nous utiliserons tous les moyens à notre disposition afin d’assurer sa correcte application, et pour bien le faire, nous avons besoin du soutien des usagers handicapés”.

Yannis Vardakastanis a favorablement accueilli l’engagement de M. Barrot envers les questions liées au handicap et a souligné l’important rôle que les 50 millions de personnes handicapées jouent dans le processus de construction européenne: “En assurant l’accès des personnes handicapées à toutes les formes de transport, l’Union européenne répond aux besoins des citoyens de base et contribue à améliorer leurs vies de manière tangible” a exprimé Vardakastanis au Commissaire.

La discussion s’est également focalisée sur les futurs règlements européens en matière des droits des passagers maritimes et des autocars, en cours de préparation. “Les règlements seront proposés au cours de 2008; en particulier nous nous assurerons de la prise en compte de la discrimination à laquelle les passagers handicapés font face et cela, à travers des mesures spécifiques”, a promis le Commissaire européen. Barrot a également remercié le Forum européen des personnes handicapées pour les nombreux cas de discrimination dont l’organisation lui a fait part dans le domaine du transport maritime. Il a par ailleurs exprimé son accord sur la nécessité de travailler simultanément dans l’amélioration des droits des passagers handicapés et les critères d’accessibilité qui devront être appliqués dans ce secteur.

Au cours de la réunion, le Président du FEPH a présenté au Commissaire la proposition de directive européenne en matière de handicap actuellement promue par le Forum, dont le but est de combattre la discrimination des personnes handicapées dans tous les domaines de la vie, y compris les transports. Barrot a favorablement accueilli cette proposition et félicité le FEPH pour le succès de sa campagne “1million4disability” en faveur de la directive, tout en reconnaissant les spécificités liées à la discrimination des personnes handicapées, “faite de préjugés et des stéréotypes, mais également, de barrières structurelles”.


Pour plus d’information sur la campagne du FEPH “1million4disability”: www.1million4disability.eu

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, Responsable de Communication et Presse; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; GSM : (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; Courriel: communication@edf-feph.org

Le Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH) est la plateforme européenne qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de citoyens handicapés au sein de l’Union européenne. Les organisations membres du FEPH incluent les plateformes nationales des personnes handicapées de tous les Etats membres de l’UE et de l’Espace économique européen, ainsi que les ONG européennes représentant les différents types de handicap. La mission du FEPH est de garantir le respect total des droits fondamentaux et humains des personnes handicapées par le biais d’une implication active dans le développement et application des politiques européennes.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:34 PM

March 05, 2008

Blind Hotel Guests Charged for Guide Dogs

First the good news, this couple has been reimbursed their $85:

A blind couple are angry they were charged cleaning costs after spending their honeymoon with their two guide dogs in a Wellington hotel... the Central Terrace Heights serviced apartments.

They were shocked when they were charged $85 for professional carpet cleaning [for dog hairs], the Dominion Post reported...

Terrace Heights Serviced Apartments operations manager Rob Rameka said many Wellington hotels would not let guide dogs stay but the Central Group did not discriminate and did blind people a favour by accepting them.

"We did something nice for them because they wanted a harbour view, which I kinda thought was funny because they're blind ... but we put them in a nice room," he said.


The full article:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10491958

Posted by rollingrains at 10:54 PM

February 13, 2008

Brian Sterner on CNN Yesterday & the Today Show Tomorrow

A quadriplegic in Florida is abused on videotape -- at the police station. (Note response received from Commissioner Al Higginbotham below.)

Follow- up:


Dear Scott,

Thank you for sharing with me your concerns regarding the incident at Orient Road Jail. As you may or may not know, I myself am a paraplegic. The actions of the guards and other employees involved were deplorable, unacceptable, and not typical of most employees of Hillsborough County or of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. I have urged Sheriff David Gee to investigate and respond seriously to the actions of his deputies. We look forward to hearing Sheriff Gee’s findings.

Sincerely,

Al Higginbotham
HigginbothamA@HillsboroughCounty.ORG
[Commissioner Hillsborough County District 4 ]

“Working together we will make a difference.”

Tampa Bay
http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/02/deputies-suspen.html

MSNBC:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23131766/

Live Leak:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0d7_1202840119

The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/12/florida-police-dump-quadr_n_86290.html

(Note: CNN has placed an ad for Valentines Day pajamas before the news clip. There does not appear to be an "opt out" function for the ad.):

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/02/12/deeson.fl.disabled.man.dumped.wtsp

Posted by rollingrains at 10:23 PM

February 07, 2008

Access to the Golden Gate National Recreational Area

DRA Logo


Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a California-based non-profit law firm, filed a class action complaint today in federal court challenging the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) on behalf of visitors with disabilities. The complaint may be downloaded here.
The press release follows.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) and the National Park Service (NPS) are discriminating against individuals with disabilities by denying them access to GGNRA parks. In order to end this discrimination, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a California-based non-profit law firm, filed a class action complaint today in federal court on behalf of all people with mobility and vision disabilities who have been denied access to GGNRA parks. GGNRA has been obliged to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Spanning over 75,000 acres of land and water from San Mateo to Marin County, GGNRA is the country’s largest national park in an urban area and attracts more than 13 million visitors a year. The park includes such national landmarks as Alcatraz, the Presidio, the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, Crissy Field, and Forts Point and Mason. It contains 1,273 plant and animal species, encompasses 59 miles of bay and ocean shoreline, and has military fortifications that span centuries of California history from the Spanish conquistadors to Cold War-era Nike missile sites.

“What makes this case especially frustrating,” said Laurence Paradis, executive director of DRA, “is that we have been working in good faith with the GGNRA for over a year in an effort to achieve a plan to bring this agency into compliance with federal law. In the end, all we obtained was another year of delayed access for people with disabilities.” DRA attorney Julia Pinover echoed the sentiment, “This is not rocket science. We’re not seeking accessibility in the most remote part of the Amazon, we’re talking about long overdue accessible restrooms, visitors’ centers, parking, exhibits, trails and programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. This case is really about how our national parks systematically exclude people with disabilities and, in doing so, fail to fulfill our local and national policy of inclusion.” Although access requirements took effect in 1973, now, in 2008, GGNRA still does not provide basic accommodations to allow access.

Plaintiff Laurie Gray, a wheelchair user with a visual impairment, organizes and leads outdoors trips for groups of people with various disabilities to facilitate outdoor experiences and the enjoyment of the natural wonders of the Bay Area. Gray stated, “It’s astonishing that decades after the Rehabilitation Act was passed, the GGNRA still won’t make the most basic accommodations, never mind considering the possibility that groups of people with disabilities might occasionally travel together and need group accommodations.” Co-plaintiff Ann Sieck, like many Bay Area residents, has a life long love of the outdoors and is frustrated that she cannot enjoy what GGRNA has to offer. “The pervasive access barriers discourage people with disabilities and their families from visiting the parks. I think many people have just given up.”

DRA previously reached a settlement agreement with the State of California in 2005 to improve accessibility at parks statewide.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:39 PM

February 06, 2008

Svayam Receives Pro Forma Apology from Jet Airways

Backsliding on issues of air travel safety for people with disabilities has recently been a frequent issue here. One issue in India with Jet Airways has reached an unsatisfactory conclusion:

Ms. Sminu Jindal travelled by Jet Airways to Bangkok and back, on the Christmas vacations on 25th December 2007 and return on 01 Jan 2008. She was shocked to see the lack of sensitivity, ill-trained ground staff, absent essential services and above all how the Airliner like Jet Airways treat people with reduced mobility. Although Jet Airways issued a public apology, when media highlighted the incident, however, that doesn't solve the problem of millions of other people with disability whose voice doesn't reach the public/media.

Specifically, the apology indicates that Jet Airways will provide aisle chairs only on international flights. Such assurances by Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer certainly make for interesting case studies of worst practices in the anthology of business cases that I provide to faculty colleagues. However, I think he and I both share the ideal that such examples should be on the decrease rather than on the increase.

I would advise Jet Airways that their policy failure has already had negative impact on the company's international reputation. The smart business decision would be to consistently apply internationally recognized standards of non-discrimination and protect against further brand erosion.

Download apology from Jet Airways as .pdf

For more on this case see Svayam:
http://www.svayam.com/?q=node/411

Posted by rollingrains at 05:21 PM

January 26, 2008

ASTA Files Comments with the Department of Transportation on Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation

Press release:
ASTA logo

ASTA, [the American Society of Travel Agents] filed comments today with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the issue of Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation. ASTA provided the DOT with numerous recommendations for updating the more than 20-year old rules that currently govern the process of Denied Boarding Compensation practices.

“This is unfortunately an issue that affects most passengers at one time or another,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “ASTA’s recommendations, if implemented, would reduce the number of instances in which airline passengers are involuntarily bumped and, in the event that an airline is forced to bump a passenger, create a more stable and acceptable process for doing so.”

In its comments, ASTA:

• Stated that it is in favor of doubling the ceiling on compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers.

• Suggested that ceiling caps should be adjusted automatically every five years and based on the Consumer Price Index Consumer-Price-Index Oct-07 (CPI).

• Objected to the DOT permitting airlines to establish, without any control, preference as to who will be involuntarily bumped when they are unable to secure volunteers. The DOT currently allows airlines to decide who will be involuntarily bumped based on the price of a passenger’s ticket.

• Argued that anyone with a confirmed seat assignment should never be bumped. ASTA also suggested that if an airline reserves the right to bump passengers based on the price of their ticket, the airline should warn the passenger of this risk at the time of purchase.

• Argued that compensation practices for international and domestic travel should be treated identically and based on a combination of length of delay and distance.

• ASTA recommended that the rules abolish the use of vouchers in favor of cash payments, stating that only cash payments will create a full incentive for airlines to closely manage Denied Boarding Compensation.

For additional information or to read any of ASTA’s filed comments on Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation, please visit, ASTA.org.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

Contact: Kristina Rundquist/Sarah Wilhite, Phone: 703-739-8710

Posted by rollingrains at 06:48 PM

ENAT Project on Accessibility Standardization

The European Union brings together a diversity of languages, cultures, and political jurisdictions. It probably comes as no surprise then to learn that the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) discovered 40 different sets of accessibility standards among its members.

Work to synthesize or even correlate such variety is time consuming and charged with political conundrums. One project undertaken by OSSATE makes a start at correlation. You may download the report here. Download file

Related Reading:

Tourism Accessible for All in Europe (Leidner)
Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 02:34 PM

Análise da Consulta Nacional: Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos para transporte coletivo de passaeiros (Portuguese)

Convidamos V.Sas. para participar da Reunião de Análise da Consulta Nacional do Projeto 00:001.64-001 - Transporte - Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos de características urbanas para transporte coletivo de passageiros, da ABNT/CEE-00: 001.64 - Comissão de Estudo Especial Temporária de Fabricação de Veículo Acessível, a ser realizada conforme programação a seguir:

Data: 11 e 12 de fevereiro de 2008

Horário: das 9:00 às 17:00

Local: Av. Paulista, 726 - 10º andar - São Paulo - SP


Pauta: - Projeto 00:001.64-001 - Transporte - Especificações técnicas para fabricação de veículos de características urbanas para transporte coletivo de passageiros - Análise da Consulta Nacional


SOLICITAMOS CONFIRMAR PRESENÇA COM O SR. RODRIGO CANOSA, ATRAVÉS:

- Telefone: (11) 3017-3623
- e-mail: rodrigo.canosa@abnt.org.br

Na certeza de podermos contar com a valiosa e imprescindível presença de V.Sa. ou de seu representante, subscrevemo-nos.

Atenciosamente,

Rodrigo Sansivieri F. Canosa

Gerência do Processo de Normalização

ABNT - R. Minas Gerais, 190 - Higienópolis

01244-010 - São Paulo - SP

( (11) 3017- 3623

* rodrigo.canosa@abnt.org.br

Visite nossos sites: www.abnt.org.br / www.abntnet.com.br

Posted by rollingrains at 12:31 PM

January 24, 2008

Decreto do Passeio Livre ( 45.904/05) - (Portuguese)

A nova lei, com data de 23 de janeiro, foi publicada no Diário Oficial de hoje, quinta-feira, 24.

Depois da transformação visual da nossa cidade, incentivado pelo Programa Cidade Limpa, agora são as calçadas que vão fazer a diferença. Além da estética, o mais importante é a acessibilidade. Se já é difícil circular na maioria dos passeios públicos de São Paulo, imagine para quem tem uma deficiência ou mobilidade reduzida - como idosos, mães com carrinhos de bebê, obesos ou pessoas com uma perna quebrada, por exemplo?

De autoria da vereadora Mara Gabrilli, a lei 14.675, de 23 de janeiro de 2008, vai implantar na cidade o Programa Emergencial de Calçadas - PEC. A partir de hoje, a Prefeitura de São Paulo, por meio da Secretaria de Coordenação de Subprefeituras, vai reformar as calçadas de São Paulo de modo a atender o Decreto do Passeio Livre ( 45.904/05). Por Lei, o morador é o responsável pela sua calçada e, caso não faça a adequação, pode ser multado. Mas, para incentivar as reformas, é a Prefeitura quem vai arcar com os custos das novas calçadas que estiverem dentro das rotas estratégicas determinadas pela Secretaria Municipal da Pessoa com Deficiência e Mobilidade Reduzida (SMPED).

São Paulo tem 30 milhões de metros lineares de calçadas


As rotas serão especificadas por um sistema de georeferenciamento desenvolvido pela SMPED. "Cada Rota Estratégica e de Segurança terá de dois a cinco quilômetros e vai contemplar as vias com serviços públicos e privados, como saúde, educação, esporte, cultura, correios, bancos, entre outros, e, principalmente, paradas ou estações para embarque e dsembarque de passageiros do transporte público", informa a vereadora Mara Gabrilli. "Temos, pelo menos, 31 rotas, uma em cada Subprefeitura da cidade", complementa. O cronograma de rotas e obras será determinado trimestralmente e publicadas no Portal da Prefeitura de São Paulo. "É essencial, que, além da população, o próprio Poder Público se conscientize da importância da acessibilidade para todos. O Projeto de Lei da vereadora Mara Gabrilli vai nesse sentido", comenta o secretário das Subprefeituras e Subprefeito da Sé, Andrea Matarazzo.

Como a Prefeitura será a responsável pelas reforma das calçadas, ao munícipe caberá a manutenção delas. Para se ter uma idéia, desde 2005 a Prefeitura aplicou mais de 8 mil multas aos cidadãos que não conservaram sua calçada. Para estipular um novo valor de multa - na verdade, um "incentivo" para que o munícipe cuide da nova calçada -, esta lei altera a Lei 10.508/88, que dispõe sobre limpeza de imóveis, passeios públicos e dá outras providências. Segundo a antiga legislação, o valor da multa aos munícipes era de R$ 200 reais por metro linear de calçada, corrigido anualmente pelo IPCA. A partir da aprovação do PEC, a multa será de mil reais pelo mesmo metro linear.


Mais informações

Assessoria de Imprensa

Vereadora Mara Gabrilli

Jorn.Resp.: Claudia Carletto

fones: 11 3396-4899 // 8385-3443

Posted by rollingrains at 01:07 AM

January 18, 2008

Bangkok Recommendations on Accessible Tourism in Asia and the Pacific

The following recommendations are the result of the CAT 2007 Conference held at UNESCAP in Bangkok, November 22-24, 2007.

Bangkok Recommendations on Accessible Tourism in Asia and the Pacific

We, the representatives of Governments, tourism business sector and tourism-related professional organizations, accessibility experts, disabled people's organizations and other civil society organizations, met in Bangkok, Thailand from 22 -24 November 2007 at the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism,

Appreciate the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Royal Government of Thailand, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for their hospitality and support for the Conference, which was jointly organized with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Disabled Peoples' International Asia-Pacific (DPI);

Acknowledge the commitment made by the Royal Government of Thailand as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) civil society, in particular, Disabled People’s International – Asia Pacific (DPI-AP) and the Asia and Pacific Disability Forum (APDF) for their leadership in promoting accessible tourism;

Recognize the significance of all international and regional documents on disability, in particular, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF) and the Biwako Plus Five, the supplement to the BMF;

Also welcome that accessibility to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public is a right articulated in CRPD Article 9.
Note the Plan of Action for Sustainable Tourism Development in Asia and the Pacific Phase II (2006-2012), launched by ESCAP, which pays due attention to the needs of improving accessibility for travelers with disabilities;

Recognize further the Bali Declaration on Barrier-free Tourism for People with Disabilities in 2000 and the Sanya Declaration on Accessible Tourism in Asia and the Pacific in 2006 both of which affirmed our commitment to promote accessible tourism;

Affirm our shared belief in the full social inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities;
Recognize persons with disabilities, older persons and cross-generational families as an increasingly important tourism and travel market segment;

Recognize further that inclusive accessible tourism entails removal of attitudinal and institutional barriers in society, and encompasses accessibility in the physical environment, in transportation, information and communications and other facilities and services that consequently benefit not only persons with different disabilities, but also older persons, families with young children and all other travelers.

To achieve the goal of creating an inclusive, barrier-free, and rights-based society for all;

We recommend that:

1) Governments sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol and implement the provisions therein;

2) Those, who are responsible for tourism promotion and disability matters at all levels in government, take legislative and administrative measures to promote accessible tourism, in particular by, including relevant provisions and/actions on it in overall economic/social development policies and plans and in tourism development policies and plans;

3) Government focal points on disability and tourism policy, tourism industry, accessibility experts, disabled persons' organizations and other civil society organizations build partnerships for effective study, promotion, implementation, and monitoring of accessible tourism;

4) Governments as well as business, academia, disabled people's organizations and the media make use of research to promote awareness of the importance of accessible tourism and knowledge of the travel needs of persons with different disabilities and cross-generational travelers;

5) Governments, business, and academia collaborate effectively with disabled people's organizations to establish, and where necessary amend, standards and practices to assure uniform international minimum standards and promote innovation in best practices through application of the principles of Universal Design ;

6) Governments create a national committee on inclusive accessible tourism to coordinate the effective implementation of measures to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities in tourism and monitor related progress. The committee should consist of representatives from ministries responsible for tourism, social and infrastructure development, building, and transport, associations representing travel agents, hotels and restaurants, organizations and individuals representing persons with disabilities and tourism education and training institutes;

7) The following measures be taken by the travel and hospitality industry;

Introduce accessibility as a criterion in the rating of hotels and restaurants;
Present awards for outstanding achievements relating to accessible tourism;

8) The travel industry ensures that its employees and staff are properly trained to communicate with and provide services to travelers with disabilities and older travelers;

9) Accessible tourism caters to the needs of persons with different disabilities;

10) Governments and employers take affirmative actions to increase number of persons with disabilities working in the tourism industry;

11) Governments provide economic and other types of incentives to promote accessible tourism for the industry;

12) Governments as well as other stakeholders acknowledge the following seven elements as essential components of effective accessible tourism and take measures for each element, as recommended hereafter;

a) Travel planning;
b) Access to information;
c) Inclusive transportation;
d) Accessible tourism attractions;
e) Accessible accommodation;
f) Mainstream services for all tourists;
g) Destination experiences;

a) Travel planning

The travel and hospitality industry should include data relevant to travel with disabilities in travel planning materials;
Travel planning professionals should equip themselves with knowledge and resources on the needs of travelers with disabilities;

b) Access to information;
Information should be provided in accessible format;

c) Inclusive transportation;
Governments need to establish and enforce accessibility policy on various modes of transportation (air, sea and land) and make it mandatory;

The transportation industry must take responsibility for the provision of high-quality services equal to or above that of industry norm; Transport operators are responsible for the provision of seamless connectivity between different types of transportation and this needs to be monitored by the transportation authorities.

d) Accessible tourist attractions;
Governments ensure facilities and services are accessible;
Tourism providers ensure accessible information at points of services; Government, travel and hospitality industry, disabled persons organizations, and experts develop and disseminate of technical guidelines on improving accessibility of historical attractions;

e) Accessible accommodation;
The principles of Universal Design are to be used in the construction of all accommodations;
International/ regional standards on accommodations applying universal design so that all facilities and rooms in accommodations are accessible for all; Accessible accommodation should cater to the needs ofpersons with different disabilities and levels of functionality;

f) Mainstream services for all tourists;
Governments, travel and hospitality industry and the civil society should promote the understanding on mainstreaming, which means that persons with disabilities are included as a norm that the built environment and technology is usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design, and that all staff must be competent to accommodate persons with disabilities;
Accessible tourism information should be an integral part of mainstream tourism information;

g) Destination experiences;
The travel and hospitality industry should ensure the positive destination experiences of persons with disabilities through the application of Universal Design in the creation of place, products, and policies;
The travel and hospitality industry should ensure the positive destination experiences of persons with disabilities through the regular training for all employees on the needs of persons with disabilities;
Involve Governments, tourism authorities, and consumer /human rights advocates to monitor and evaluate the quality of accessible tourism;.

13) Educational Institutions develop and improve on curriculum to include subjects related to accessible tourism in travel-related training and education;

14) All relevant stakeholders mentioned in these recommendations utilize appropriate technology to improve on accessible tourism;

15) All relevant stakeholders collaborate to provide innovative and affordable solutions to promote accessible tourism in rural context;

16) UN ESCAP provides regional policy and technical guidelines and appropriate expertise to accelerate the growth of accessible tourism

Posted by rollingrains at 05:55 PM

A Paradigm Shift from "Charity" to "Rights & Dignity" - An Essay by C. Mahesh

- A write-up based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
- C. Mahesh

The process of drafting and adopting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the member countries of the United Nations has now brought the issues of discrimination and exclusion faced by persons with disabilities to centre stage.

The universal definition and understanding of Disability has rightfully moved from being a merely 'Medical' to a 'Human Rights' framework and heralded a paradigm shift from 'charity' to 'rights based' approach.

continued:

Article 1 of the Convention says "The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity."

In Oct 2007, India has become one of the first few countries to ratify this convention a move that has made all of us happy and proud indeed.

Questions usually addressed to persons with disabilities like "When did you become disabled?", "How did you become disabled?" should now make way to discussions and finding solutions on questions such as "Are you getting the freedom and choice to live the way you have wanted at home and in society?", "Does your house/ educational institution / place of work have provisions to enable you to access the toilet safely/ independently?", "Are you able to make use of the public transport?", "Are you able to get education on an equal footing like everyone else?", "Are you getting opportunities for gainful employment?", "Are you able to benefit from the different development schemes from the Govt.?", "Do you get an equal share in the property?" , "Are you being restricted from setting-up your own family?".

In 1995, India enacted "The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act". The various articles in the present Convention further strengthens the above Act by elaborating the various rights, obligations and monitoring mechanisms that the state parties (countries) need to build on/ adopt.

The Convention, in Article 1, further does not limit to only the 7 disabilities (Blindness, Low vision, Leprosy-cured, Hearing impairment, Loco motor disability, Mental retardation and Mental illness) that have been mentioned in the Persons with Disabilities Act but has opened up a wider definition as - "People with disabilities who have long-term impairments, for example, physical, psycho-social, intellectual and who cannot get involved in society because of different reasons, such as attitudes, language, stairs, and laws, which prevent people with disabilities from being included in society." This broad based definition and the recognition of various barriers posed by society assists us to develop a more holistic and sensitive approach in addressing the discriminations faced by persons with disabilities in society.

Following these developments, there is a huge need for creating awareness among persons with disabilities, their care givers, the society at large, and the Government and Non-Government Organisations on the UNCRPD. There is also a need to develop appropriate strategies to review existing laws, policies, programmes and monitoring mechanisms of Govt. Non-Government Organisations and other agencies.

Further, this convention by design is not limited to only Govt. establishments. The Convention states that private businesses and organizations that are open to the public parties have to take initiatives to "eliminate barriers that people with disabilities face in buildings, the outdoors, transport, information, communication and services".

It is no longer enough to be content with providing a few "good willed" services such as a "wheelchair" or a "hearing aid" or "disability pension" . It is going to be whether the laws, policies, programmes and schemes are in line and reinforce the principles of the Convention that focus on Dignity, Ability to choose, Independence, Non-discrimination, Participation, Full inclusion, Respect for difference, Acceptance of disability as part of everyday life, Equality of opportunity, Accessibility, Equality of men and women and Respect for children.

By signing and ratifying this Convention, it is now legally binding on India and other countries of the UN to create and promote an environment where persons with disabilities are able to exercise their civil, political, social and cultural rights fairly and without prejudice.

It is time that Govt. representatives, representatives from Disabled People's Organisations, NGOs and other stake holders sit together and chalk out precise strategies as operation plan to take the Convention forward. If this is not done the Convention will be just another book on the shelf

Finally, this Convention is about creating a society that recognizes and respects the diverse needs of humankind.


References:

1. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is at http://www.un.org/disabilities/
2. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act is at http://ccdisabilities.nic.in/

About the author:


C. Mahesh works for CBR Forum, as the Advocacy Coordinator in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities through 87 of their community based rehabilitation programmes across the country. In addition he is actively involved with the Office of the Commissioner (Disabilities) Karnataka and other networks in promoting 'barrier-free' environment and advocating for the effective implementation of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:04 PM

January 13, 2008

HREOC welcomes report on disability standards for transport

Human Rights Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Disability Discrimination, Graeme Innes AM, today welcomed the release of the draft report on the review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport.

The report was released by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland along with an invitation for interested stakeholders to provide comments by the end of March.

“This draft report provides us with valuable information on the effect of the Transport Standard since it was introduced in 2002 and the degree to which the aim of significantly improving access to public transport has been realised,” said Commissioner Innes.

“It is clear that while some areas of public transport have seen significant improvements in overall accessibility for people with a disability in some areas, such as air travel, the general level of accessibility may have actually declined.

The draft contains a number of recommendations aimed at clarifying technical questions raised over the first five years of operation of the Standards and proposes a number of changes to extend their scope to cover transport systems such as school bus services and community bus services.

“I particularly welcome the recommendation that HREOC be given the power to refer cases of breaches of the Standards to the Federal Court and look forward to reading stakeholder views on this recommendation,” said Commissioner Innes.

“I congratulate the Government on the decision to release the report as a draft and would urge all interested parties to take this opportunity to provide final comments,” said Commissioner Innes.

The report can be found at http://www.ddatransportreview.com.au/

Posted by rollingrains at 04:51 PM

January 12, 2008

Australia's Federal Government's Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

A draft report into disability access on public transport has found that standards might have actually declined in some areas.

The report is part of the five-year review of the Federal Government's Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, which came into force in 2002.

The draft makes nine recommendations, including that the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) should have the power to refer breaches of the standards directly to the Federal Court.

The commissioner, Graeme Innes, says there are still significant challenges for disabled passengers, particularly in air travel.

"Some of that relates to customer service issues, and ... aircraft infrastructure issues where companies just aren't ordering or configuring aircraft which would be suitable for people with disabilities," he said.

"Those are issues which the commission is going to be concentrating on over the next 12 months."

Mr Innes says at the moment only individuals can lodge complaints about breaches of the standards.

"That seems very ineffective way to implement the standards for transport providers who aren't complying with the standard's requirements," he said.

"So the commission would like the power that when it's aware of systemic discrimination to be able to refer that to the courts to take some action."



http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/12/2137011.htm?section=australia

Posted by rollingrains at 04:47 PM

January 10, 2008

One Person, One Fare: Canadians in the Air

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities / Conseil des Canadiens avec Deficiences send the following press release:

Reaction to Landmark Canadian Transportation Agency Decision:
Disabled Canadians Jubilant to Have Transport Barrier Remove
d

Winnipeg, January 10, 2008 – Today the Canadian Transportation Agency
(CTA) released a landmark decision concerning the right of individuals with
disabilities to travel by air without having to pay for a second seat, for
an attendant or other use, to accommodate their disability.
In a historic
decision in the “One Person, One Fare” case, the agency has recognized the
right of these individuals to have access to a second seat when traveling
by air in Canada without having to pay a second fare.

“Canadians with disabilities are celebrating today,” said Pat Danforth,
Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Transportation
Committee. Joanne Neubauer, one of the principal complainants in the
case, agreed. “We hope that this decision sends a strong message to all
transportation carriers,” she said. “Access is the rule.”


The CTA decision acknowledged the importance of a number of established
human rights principles underlying the arguments of the complainants in
the case, noting that these principles dictate that persons with disabilities
have the same rights as others to full participation in all aspects of
society and that equal access to transportation is critical to their
exercise of that right.

“The Canadian Transportation Agency recognized the fundamental soundness
of our arguments, which have a strong foundation in existing human rights
jurisprudence,” said David Baker of Bakerlaw, legal counsel for the
complainants in the case. “While the number of people who will benefit
and the actual cost to the airlines are larger than in any previous case, the
principles applied by the Agency in its decision were clearly established
by the Supreme Court of Canada in its March 2007 CCD v. VIA Rail decision,”
said David Baker.

Disabled Canadians said the decision had the potential to make an enormous
difference in their lives. “This is about independence,” said Sandra
Carpente
r of the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto. “It’s about
our
ability to be part of Canadian society and to have barriers to our
participation removed.”

The decision was many years in coming – the late Eric Norman, Joanne
Neubauer,
and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities filed the
original complaint with the CTA in 2002, seeking to establish a situation of
equality for passengers with disabilities who travel with attendants.

For many years, Canadians with disabilities traveling by train, bus or
marine service have been permitted to use a second seat without cost when
one was required. But airlines such as Air Canada, Westjet, and Jazz have
not been bound to obey this policy, meaning that many Canadians with
disabilities have been forced to effectively pay double what others pay to
fly.

Now that all seems set to change.

“We have been looking for some good news in the transport industry for
some time,” said Claredon Robicheau, a member of the Council of Canadians with
Disabilities (CCD) Transport Committee. “This decision gives us enormous
hope that we are once again moving to build an accessible and inclusive
Canada.”

- 30 -

For More Information or Comment on the Decision Contact:

Mr. David Baker, Legal Counsel

Ms. Sandra Carpenter, Acting Executive Director,
416-533-0040 Ext 222 Centre for
Independent Living in Toronto 416-599-2458 Ext 36

Ms. Joanne Neubauer Mr. Jim
Derksen, CCD Policy Advisor
250-881-1936
204-781-4187

Ms. Pat Danforth, Chair, Mr. Laurie
Beachell, National Coordinator CCD
Transportation Committee 204-947-0303
250-595-0044

Mr. Claredon Robicheau,
Member CCD Transportation Committee
(available for French interviews) 902-769-2474

Posted by rollingrains at 12:49 PM

Remarks on Inclusion in Tourism from the January 7, 2008 ADA Business Connection Leadership Meeting

Grace Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General impressed us with her grasp of the current state and future needs of Inclusive Tourism with her opening remarks at the ADA Business
Connection Leadership meeting.

Prepared Remarks of Grace Chung Becker
Acting Assistant Attorney General
ADA Business Connection Leadership Meeting
Contemporary Resort, Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

January 7, 2008

Thank you, Loretta, for the kind introduction. My thanks to Stuart Vidockler, of Society
for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH), and Jeannie Amendola of Disney World,
for co-hosting this meeting and helping us bring together this extraordinary group of
people. I also want to thank our speakers Nadine Vogel, President, Springboard
Consulting, and Ms. Amendola, for talking to us today about the power of accessible
customer service to improve business accessibility and welcome the market of people
with disabilities. And, thanks to Jani Nayar of SATH, Jack Humburg, of the Boley
Centers, Elizabeth Howe of the Center for Independent Living of Central Florida, and
Shelley Kaplan, of the Southeast DBTAC, for the great help they gave us in putting this
meeting together.

Most notably, thank you all for making time in your busy schedules. We appreciate your
willingness to participate in this important discussion that we call the ADA Business
Connection Leadership meeting. As I was named Acting Assistant Attorney General
fairly recently, this is my first ADA Business Connection meeting. I am looking forward
to learning from our co-hosts and speakers and to developing a discussion that will
result in ongoing relationships within the greater Orlando area as well as in the national
disability rights and business communities.

Today’s presentations and discussion will focus on the mutual benefits of accessible
customer service in the travel and hospitality industry. In business management books
and articles, we find repeated references to the need for today’s companies to become
“customer-centric” and to offer customers as many choices as possible in products and
services in order to remain competitive. Experts talk about “re-inventing the customer
experience’” and “turning ordinary into extraordinary “ because customers expect more
and base their loyalty to businesses on whether they get what they want and get it in
ways that make them feel valued by the company.

All too often, however, customers with disabilities are not part of the equation when
providing these new and over-the-top experiences. Yet some of what business experts
are touting now as providing exemplary customer service is exactly what the ADA
requires. For example, Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels and author of Chocolates
on the Pillow Aren’t Enough, writes about how a company can individualize its services
by giving staff permission to adjust standard procedures as needed to best serve a
customer. The ADA calls that modification of policies, practices, and procedures.
Tisch also argues that attracting diverse customer groups – and he includes people with
disabilities in this group – will be key to success for businesses in the coming years.
But he cautions that “respecting diversity doesn’t happen automatically; it requires
thought, training, and commitment.” I am sure we will talk often this afternoon about the
value of these three elements when creating a welcoming environment for customers
with disabilities.

Organizations large and small can win over this market with good service. In his book,
The Starbucks Experience, Joseph A. Michelli relates numerous success stories about
Starbucks employees and their efforts to provide exemplary customer service. One
story took place in a California Starbucks where the baristas observed that many of their
customers were deaf. Wanting to improve the customer experience, the baristas
independently took the initiative to enroll in sign language classes to improve their
communication with these patrons. With such a warm welcome, the deaf customers not
only continued to patronize that Starbucks, but also created a website called Deaf Chat
Coffee at www.deafcoffee.com to encourage deaf individuals throughout the U.S. and
Canada to set up coffee groups in their own neighborhoods. Even the site's logo is a
salute to the ubiquitous Starbucks insignia. There are three Deaf Chat Coffee groups in
the Orlando area, two of which are held in Starbucks stores. I guess that’s what
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, meant when he said, “We are not in
the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee.”
Reinventing the customer experience for people with disabilities can boost a company’s
accessibility and its compliance with the ADA, draw in a new market, and improve
service for all of its customers. In an IBM executive brief, Dr. Paul Horn, senior vice
president of IBM research, is quoted as saying “Out of our work making computing
easier to use for people with disabilities we will think of radically new approaches. Out
of these approaches we will find not just ways of helping people with . . . disabilities but
ways of making computing far more natural and intuitive.” If accessibility can make
computing more intuitive, just think of what it can do for the service-oriented hospitality
industry.

The market is there, it is growing, and it is expecting accessible customer service. The
proof of this market's importance is in the statistics:

• The U.S. Census Bureau's 2002 Survey of Income and Program
Participation (SIPP) found that there are 51.2 million people with
disabilities in the United States. To put that number into perspective, the
2002 SIPP indicates that the U.S. population's percentage of people with
disabilities is 18.1 percent. That is larger than the percentage of
Hispanics in the U.S. population (13.3%), the country's largest ethnic,
racial, or cultural minority group.
• Almost 21 million American families have at least one member with a
disability.
• According to the Department of Labor, individuals with disabilities have
$175 billion in annual discretionary income to spend.
• A 2005 study by the Open Doors Organization (ODO), a Chicago nonprofit
organization, found that more than 21 million adults with disabilities
traveled at least once in the preceding two years. More than 50% of
adults with disabilities stayed in hotels while traveling within this two-year
period. In a 2002 study, the ODO found that spending by travelers with
disabilities exceeded $13.6 billion annually.
• According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2002, more than 42 percent of
those 65 and older had disabilities. In 2000, in the U.S. alone, there were
35 million people in this age group. Doing the math, we can estimate that
approximately 14.7 million of these older adults have disabilities. Globally,
the story is even larger: a recent UN study reported that between 2005
and 2050, the worldwide population of people 60 and older is expected to
almost triple.

• In addition, those 76 million Baby Boomers -- the oldest of whom turned
60 last year -- experience biological and psychological changes before
age 65 that might not be identified as disabilities but can be
accommodated by accessibility in businesses. A Deloitte Research Study,
"Tracking Travel: Exploring the Latest Trends in Business and Leisure
Travel," adds that while customer ratings for preferred lodging amenities
were similar among age groups, the 51-65 year old group had two
additional choices: comfortable beds and easy-to-use electronics. Those
accessible features do make a difference.

• Older adults also have money. A Deloitte's research study states that
consumers over age 50 control almost half of all consumer spending in the
United States; and that consumers 65 and older are the most affluent of
any U.S. age group.

• And, they like to spend it. Reports from Deloitte, Canada Statistics, and
Abacus International indicate that the older adult demographic segment in
the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe dominate all other age groups in
travel: traveling more and spending more on their travel.
Businesses are focusing on this audience not for altruistic reasons but for the bottom
line: millions of customers with billions of dollars in disposable income.
And finally, a recent study by Weber Shandwick found that Baby Boomers regularly look
to their peers for product recommendations and consider them to be trusted sources of
information. Anecdotally, persons with disabilities across the country maintain informal
but very strong information-sharing networks about accessible venues. In these days of
blogs, online reviews, and omnipresent, immediate communication, this is an audience
to cultivate and keep satisfied.

I would like to conclude with a quote from IBM Global Business Services: "To stand out
in a crowded marketplace, retailers need customer advocates, not just shoppers . . .
Becoming more customer focused is a multiyear journey that will require executive
sponsorship in order to orchestrate the changes required in culture, organization,
processes and technology. It is a vital strategy for all retailers and the means for turning
shoppers into advocates and creating a sustainable, differentiated advantage." I hope
that after today's meeting, the people in this room will embrace the cultivation of
customer advocates among people with disabilities, Baby Boomers, family, and friends
through providing accessible customer service that “turns ordinary into extraordinary.”
Thank you all for coming.

Posted by rollingrains at 09:44 AM

January 02, 2008

Universal Design & Blindness: Creating A Barrier Free Society

As Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development emerge further into mainstream thinking it is important the its implementation be truly "universal."

With the age inversion of populations in an increasing number of countries, the prevalence of older travelers, and the frequency of blindness as a consequence of aging the observations and guidance of those who have had long experience with blindness is a social asset of increasing value. Below is the document, Creating A Barrier Free Society, from the World Blind Union on the proposer implementation of the seven principles of Universal Design.

Creating A Barrier Free Society


Creating a barrier free society for persons who are blind and partially sighted is a goal of the World Blind Union. Over the years a great deal of attention has been given to the accessibility requirements of persons with ambulatory disabilities however the need to create a barrier free society for persons who are blind and partially sighted is equally important and not to be forgotten.

In more recent years a movement known as "Universal Design" has evolved. Universal design is based on the principle that, the built environment, communication and products should be accessible to the widest range of people possible. Universal design is different from accessible design in that accessible design creates products and environments for people with disabilities, which often tend to segregate people creating separate systems. Universal design is considered to be usable and inclusive to all, including people with disabilities.

Although the concept of universal design is well documented, the unique design needs of persons who are blind and partially sighted have not always been fully considered or incorporated into the built environment.

One very important component to consider in advocating for a barrier free society is the development of a consumer group that represents different consumer groups, organisations and individual advocates. The group is an invaluable asset to obtain ideas, and consensus and endorsement on areas of importance to person's who are blind and partially sighted. It is important to note that many countries have developed excellent laws, standards, guidelines and recommendations governing the accessibility requirements. (Please see websites and material noted at the end of this document)

The information that follows provides guidelines and recommendations on key areas related to the built environment for people who are blind and partially sighted. These areas are key in creating a built environment that is barrier free and inclusive for persons who are blind and partially sighted. You may wish to consider them in your advocacy efforts of person's who are blind and partially sighted.

Lighting

Adequate lighting is the single most important aid to vision. The lighting needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired vary according to the individual and their particular eye condition. One level of light might work well for a person with glaucoma and be to low for someone with macular degeneration.

The three principle light sources are natural light; incandescent and florescent each has their own attributes and weakness when considering lighting situations for persons who are blind or partially sighted. The key is to utilize these light sources optimally and considering the following:

* Avoid glare and reflection, which are often caused by shinny or glossy surfaces.
* Place light sources in locations to avoid creating shadows. Shadows created by natural or artificial light can create optical illusions.
* Distribute light levels evenly throughout working and walking areas as many people have difficulty adjusting to fluctuations in light levels.

* Include task and spot lighting to augment the overall lighting system.
* Use of dimmer switches allows light levels to be adjusted to suit the unique needs of users.

Colour Contrast

Colour contrast is another key component in designing spaces for persons who are partially sighted; its importance cannot be overemphasized enough. A building can be logically laid out, include proper use of signage, provide good lighting but the building can cause disorientation if there is very little use of colour contrast within the building. Colour can be used effectively for many purposes such as:

• To draw attention to signage.
• To define a route of travel.
• To define areas.

Colour contrasting items, is also a very effective means in defining spaces. A colour contrast of 70% is generally accepted in many countries as the preferred amount to define items such as:

* A dark door frames, against a light door and a light wall.

* A light floor colour with a dark perimeter against a light coloured wall.
* Hand rails that colour contrast with the surrounding wall colour.
* Stair nosing is best seen when a colour-contrasted edge is provided.

Furniture that is colour contrasted with the floor and walls assists in locating furniture. Considerations when using colour: * Colours to avoid using together include red/ black, yellow/ grey, yellow /white, red/green, black /violet and blue /green.

• Be consistent in use of colour to convey messages.

• Limit use of colour and keep colour schemes simple and avoid large-scale patterns. Keeping in mind that too many Colours used in design can create confusion.
Acoustics

Sounds can assist in providing orientation clues about a space. A person can use reflected sound to determine a room size, the presence of corridors and proximity of walls or other structural barriers.

Inappropriate use of sound can create problems such as high levels of ambient sound or high levels of reflective sound. Some things to consider when planning space are:

* Well-defined, acoustically alive spaces are easier for people who are visually impaired to negotiate safely. Position items such as escalators, fountains, and elevators to create useful sounds.
•* Carpets, acoustic tiles and furniture reduce sound reflectance. Consideration should be given to providing some reverberation so that people can obtain a feel of the space.
* Noise sources may mask sounds intended to provide directional cues, such as ventilation ducts or air-conditioning units. These sounds may be useful, however they should not obscure the sound of an elevator.
* Sound reflections are frequently a good source of auditory cues.

• Consideration should be given to the structure and texture of planned circulation routes and how they would interact with the sound created by the tapping of a cane.

Signage: Tactile Signs

Information on signs should be available for persons who are blind and visually impaired. It is commonly considered adequate for tactile signs to consist of raised characters only. However, Braille can be read so much faster and easier than raised print for those who read it. A best practice in some countries is to include raised print and Braille in signage that identify rooms or spaces such as auditoriums, cafeterias, washrooms and elevator floor numbers.

Signage should be consistently located at a height and distance from the door to which it defines. The raised tactile lettering should be colour contrasted with the background. The sign should be colour contrasted with the surrounding wall surface.

Protruding Objects

Objects that protrude into paths of travel can be hazardous to persons who are visually impaired. In many cases protruding objects consist of:
• Signs
• Canopies
• Underside of stairs
• Drinking fountains
• Items protruding from walls
• Over hanging branches
• Telephone booths

Consideration should be given to eliminating these hazards such as:

* Placing a railing or planters below the underside of stairs.

* Ensuing all overhangs are removed within a certain height range.

* Telephone booths and drinking fountains are cane detectable. This can be achieved by placing an object at floor level.

Detectable Warning Surfaces

Detectable warning surfaces have a texture that can be felt under foot or detected by a person using a long cane. The texture is usually built in or applied. The texture alerts a person who is visually impaired to a hazard.

Detectable warning surfaces should be used on unprotected platforms, around reflecting pools, top of stairs, and curb ramps.

Detectable warnings should be consistently used to identify features in the built environment.

Audible Pedestrian signals (APS)

Accessible Pedestrian Signals are common in many countries and can assist people in knowing when it is legal to cross an intersection.

Fundamentally APS's should have the following:

* Two distinct tones one to indicate a north crossing and one to indicate a south crossing.•

* APS should be standard throughout a country or region.

* APS should provide both audible and verbal tactile information so that they are usable by person's who are deafblind.

* All light controlled intersections should have APS's, so that travelers who are visually impaired will always know they are available.

* APS's should not require a user to have special equipment to use them.

* APS's should be audible to users only and should not interfere with the area.

* APS's should be pedestrian activated.

* APS' s should emit a sound during the wait phase to help people to locate the button to actuate the sound.

Bank Machines

A movement is underway to develop bank machines that are accessible to people who are blind and partially sighted. In considering the bank in machine requirements of those who are blind and partially blind. Consideration should be given to the following when designing bank machines for the blind and partially sighted:

* All banking machines in a country or region should be consistent.
* All banking machines should have an access card that identifies the orientation of the card i.e. a notch.
* All portals should have a tactile graphics that are colour contrasted with the background symbol to identify them.
* Characters and symbols on the keys should be visually contrasted with the background and as large as the area on the key permits and have a sans serif font

* Each key press should be acknowledged visually audibly and by tactile registration
* The keypad should be telephone style, have the number five with a raised dot. The function keys should be separated by at least three times the distance from the numeric keys, and the surface should be such that it minimizes glare and is placed on an angle.
* The function keys should be placed to the right of the numeric keys and be arranged vertically, top to bottom, in the following order Cancel, correction OK/Enter
* Raised tactile symbols should be used to identify the function keys, either to the right or on the key itself. Using the following symbols: cancel X- correction- raised arrow<, and OK/ enter-raised circle O. Each function key if colored should be Cancel red correction, yellow and OK/enter- green.
* The functional display keys should correspond with in screen instructions, have a surface that is minimizes glare and leader lines that contrast with their background. * There should be an audio interface that is provided. The audio interface should have a socket with a raised ridge or a telephone hand set. The audio display should provide an orientation of the bank machine. The audio communication should be in the lower frequency range.
* Information printed by the ABM should be a minimum of 14 point.
•* Screen and printed material should contrast with the background. The text should use sans serif font and be mix an upper and lower text. Decimals and commas should be larger than normally used. Known advertising should be displayed with in the instructional area.

Further information
Following is a list of Recommended Websites and Material Websites: www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.html www.ap.buffal.edu/idea/publications/udnypdf.htm www.tiresais.org/terminal.htm
www.tiresais.org/tdiff.htm
www.design.ncsu.edu:8120/cud/univ_design/princ_overview.htm
www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/
www.inclusive-enviroments.com
www.jmuaccess.org.uk
www.csa.ca

Publications

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Clearing our Path ISBN 0-921122-28-4 August 1998 contact CNIB 416 413 -9480

Transportation Development Centre, Going Places ISBN 0-921122-
22-5 August 1997 contact CNIB 416 413-9480.

U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Building a True Community Final Report Public- Rights- of Way. Access Advisory Committee.

The Canadian Institute on Barrier free Design and Betty Doing Enterprises LTD, International Best Practices In Universal Design: A comparative Study, March 2000

Canadian Standards Association, B651.1-01 Barrier Free Design for Automated Banking Machines February 2001

Products:

Armor Tile Tactile Systems

ENGINEERED PLASTICS INC.
300 International Drive Suite 100
Williamsville, NY 14221
Phone: 1-800-682-2525
http://www.armor-tile.com/detectable-warnings_info.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:26 AM

December 31, 2007

The Year Ahead - Clearer Skies?

The end of 2007 saw the ENAT and ICAT conferences on Inclusive Tourism. Early January 2008 will be the SAT conference and may 2008 will see the IIDI Turismo para Todos conference. At the same time ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities continues at a rapid pace.

With so much progress on the stabilization of human rights for persons with disabilities the actions of the Federation of Indian Airlines to subvert the ' Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility' proposed by India's Office of The Director General of Civil Aviation is especially out of step with the global consensus on the value of travelers with disabilities as a market. One would think that no one in the industry is doing their diligence on market forecasting.

Dear Kiki and Friends,

I would like to thank you for your responses...and I will go through the attachment you have sent.

In the meanwhile there has been a new development in India on the 30th Dec 2007 - this time by the FIA - Federation of Indian Airlines.

The FIA are not ready to accept the new guideline on ' Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility' proposed by DCGA (Office of The Director General of Civil Aviation). The same was to come into force from 1st Jan 2008. I have attached the draft guideline with this mail for your reference. And in the last few months we had strongly lobbied for many changes before this final draft.

FIA says "Free help to disabled can't be enforced" - kindly read on for the article that was published in yesterday's news paper for your reference.

Kind Regards

Mahesh

'Free help to disabled can't be enforced', Times of India, 30th Dec 2007

NEW DELHI: The government's first attempt to regulate pricing policy of airlines could come to naught and add to the costs of physically challenged passengers.

Following several complaints from disabled rights groups, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had about a month back issued a draft civil aviation requirement (CAR) on the subject. Among other things, it asked airlines to mandatorily provide free assistance to such passengers. The rule was to go into effect from January 1.

While most airlines currently provide wheelchairs, stretchers and ambulifts free, they have strongly opposed making the free service compulsory. The Federation of Indian Airlines — a joint body of Air India, Jet, Kingfisher, Deccan, GoAir, IndiGo, Paramount and SpiceJet — has said that the industry must be free to recover any extra cost that's incurred in the process of providing assistance to handicapped passengers.

Saying airlines are aware of their responsibilities towards physically challenged passengers, FIA has submitted its reply to the CAR to the ministry and DGCA.

"FIA believes that the issue of costs and cost-recovery for such special facilities cannot be mandated through the CAR. In our consultation with members, all carriers have expressed their strong opposition to airlines being denied the right to charge and recover costs for service provided," it said.

It goes on to add: "No other passengers are provided services free of charge. Any additional service should necessarily come at a charge to the passenger using the service, else the increased costs will need to be borne by the other airline passengers which is unfair. Airlines should be allowed to independently decide the charges, which certainly should be communicated clearly to passengers."

It has pointed out that the earlier CAR of July, 2005, allows airlines to charge for any additional service provided to passengers with special needs.


The new CAR stipulated that no airline would refuse to carry persons on a stretcher if they are accompanied by an escort who would look after them in flight. While FIA agrees to this, it says: "However, the carriage must be paid for. For example, a stretcher requires displacing nine seats that would otherwise be sold as revenue. It must be clear that these seats must be reserved in advance and paid for."

Similarly, the new rules say that all airlines must provide assistance to persons with disabilities/reduced mobility from the departing airport terminal to the destination airport terminal without any additional charge. "The Airlines strongly disagree with this statement. It is one thing to provide service, another to do it for free. No other passengers are provided free-of-charge services," the FIA has said.

Asked about this stand, a member airline of FIA said that most carriers provide these services free of charge and may even continue to do so. "But the decision to charge or provide assistance free must be the commercial decision of airlines. It can't be legally mandated," he said. This is not the first time airlines are spurning government's moves on influencing their charges. While the aviation ministry strongly opposed the term "congestion surcharge", airlines continue to levy it.

saurabh.sinha@timesgroup.com http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Free_help_to_disabled_cant_be_enforced/articleshow/2661352.cms

****************************** Response to the Article **********************

31.12.07

Dear Mr. Saurabh,


Greetings and thank you very much for publishing the article titled "Free help to Disabled Can't be enforced"

This is a significant development and a new hurdle posed by The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) towards the new Civil Aviation guidelines by DGCA for "Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility".


In the last few months, we as a group of disabled persons have been lobbying with the DGCA in drafting these guidelines and finally when it was to come into effect from 1 Jan 2008 - the FIA has sprung a surprise.

We as persons with disabilities are not asking for free service, we want to use the services like any other passengers. However the limitations posed by the procedures adopted by the different airlines further reduces our mobility and prevents us from using the airline just like any other.


Some examples that prevent us are highlighted below:


1. From the point of check-in - the airline asks us to use the wheelchair provided by them - these wheechairs cannot be self-propelled and therefore we need a ground staff.


2. The airline do not handle our personal wheelchair safely and many times they have broken my wheelchair because of their careless attitude.


3. Where ever there is an aerobridge facility passengers using wheelchair are not given access to use them and they are not alloted the first row of seats - because of which we physically lifted by 3-4 persons with our wheelchair up and down the stairs to the aircraft.


4. We cannot use the buses/ transport facilities provided by the airline on the tramac as there are steps and no ramps to get into the coach. Therefore we need assistance to be lifted up and down from the bus or wheeled on the tarmac till the aircraft.


5. There are no wheelchair accessible toilets in many of the airport, the ones that are built are not according to standard specifications therefore one needs assistance to access the toilets.


Who is to be blamed for creating such obstacles? Why should the passenger using wheelchair or a person with limited mobility bear the cost towards these procedural and architectural barriers created by the airlines and at the airports.


Closing with warm regards


Mahesh


****************** A Prior Violation of Rights ******************************

Dear Friends,

Greetings,

Through this mail I would like to highlight the practice adopted by some of the airlines where passengers using wheelchairs have to sign in the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER".

The most offending paragaraph in the 'APPLICATION' that we as passengers using wheelchair are forced to sign reads as follows -

"I the undersigned .....hereby indemnify and hold harmless, DECCAN from any and against any liability arising out of any bodily injury, and / or death. damage or loss that I may suffer/ experience and also from any damages, payments, expenses, face and cost which DECCAN may incur directly or indirectly as a result of accepting me on its Flight No. .........from ....... to ...... on date.....

I hereby further indemnify DECCAN from any payments that DECCAN makes to meet any of my expenses towards damages, loss etc for the said purpose."

This I feel is both humiliating and discriminating towards persons with limited mobility.

Do passengers with limited mobility have to sign similar forms in other countries too before boarding the flight?

Please find below my letters written to both the Commissioner (Disabilities) and DGCA (Director General Civil Avaiation) highlighting this practice and with suggested changes.

Closing with best wishes for Christmas and New Year...

Kind regards

Mahesh

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

24.12.2007
To
The Commissioner (Disabilities)
Office of the Commissioner Disabilities
Govt. of Karnataka
40, Thambuchetty Road, Cox Town
Bangalore. Email: discom@vsnl.net

Copy
Mr. R. P. Sahi
Jt. Director General
Office of the
Director General of Civil Aviation
Opp. Safdarjung Airport
New Dehli – 110 003
Tel: 011-24611504. Email: rpsahi@dgca.nic.in

Respected Sir,

Greetings,

This letter is to bring to your kind notice the prevailing discriminatory practice adopted by some of the airlines who force passengers who use wheelchairs to sign the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER" before boarding the flight.

Although, I, as a passenger who uses wheelchair did clarify that I am not a medical passenger, the ground staff are in no mood to listen and we are left with no choice but to fill and submit the form if not we should be prepared to miss our flight.

In this connection, I would like to quote my recent experience:

During my recent return journey from Kolkata to Bangalore by AIR DECCAN on 18th Nov 2007, I was asked to fill the "APPLICATION FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MEDICAL PASSENGER" as I use a wheelchair. I did argue that I am not a "MEDICAL PASSENGER" but the ground staff were in no mood to listen. Therefore I filled in the form during check-in but deliberately did not submit the same while boarding the aircraft.

The most offending paragaraph in the 'APPLICATION' that we are forced to sign reads as follows -

"I the undersigned .....hereby indemnify and hold harmless, DECCAN from any and against any liability arising out of any bodily injury, and / or death. damage or loss that I may suffer/ experience and also from any damages, payments, expenses, face and cost which DECCAN may incur directly or indirectly as a result of accepting me on its Flight No. .........from ....... to ...... on date.....

I hereby further indemnify DECCAN from any payments that DECCAN makes to meet any of my expenses towards damages, loss etc for the said purpose."

Firstly, I personally feel that it is the duty of all the airlines to protect the safety of all passengers. But by signing the above form - the airline is not taking the responsibility to ensure the safety of passenger like me who use the wheelchair.

Secondly, the airline should make appropriate changes in the systems and built environment so that we can use our personal wheelchair (as much as possible) till we transfer to the seat of the aircraft. This procedure will assist us to be comfortably seated in our own wheelchair instead of sitting on the very small and uncomfortable chairs provided by the airlines for more than an hour.

Thirdly, passenger using wheelchairs should be give permission to use the aerobridge facility where available. These change will prevent the ground staff of the airline ground from physically lifting us up and down the flight of stairs to the aircraft. The practice that is both humiliating and extremely dangerous especially for the person who is being lifted.

Fourthly, in recent times DGCA has issued a new Guidelines on "Carriage by Air of Disabled Persons or Persons with Reduced Mobility" that is going to come into effect from 1st Jan 2008 and has taken into account some of the issues mentioned by me in my letter. However, I am not aware if any strategy for dissemenation/ training has been planned for all the ground staff of the different airlines at the airports on the need to "Respect the Rights and Dignity of Passengers with Disabilities".

Therefore, it my sincere appeal to your esteemed office to initiate appropriate steps to prevent this discriminatory and humiliating practice adopted by the airlines towards passengers with limited mobility.

Looking forward for your kind reply.

With kind regards

C. Mahesh

--
C. Mahesh
Advocacy Coordinator
CBR Forum
14, CK Garden
Wheeler Road Extension
Bangalore - 560 084
Tel - 080- 2549 7387 or 2549 7388
advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com
cbrforum@blr.vsnl.net.in
cbrforum@gmail.com
www.cbrforum.in

Posted by rollingrains at 12:46 AM

December 30, 2007

Guidelines for Service to Blind Air Travelers: A Proposal from the World Blind Union

The proposal below was presented to IATA by the World Blind Union but it was not adopted.

GUIDELINES FOR SERVICE TO BLIND AIR TRAVELLERS


Blind air travellers are entitled to the same high quality service as all other passengers. Safety, dignity, and comfort are the watchwords for such service. Where adaptations to service prove necessary, care should be taken not to cause unnecessary stress or inconvenience.


GENERAL

1. Extent of Provisions

Under these guidelines the provisions recommended for blind persons are intended to apply equally and with the necessary adaptations to partially sighted persons, deafblind persons, and blind persons with additional disabilities.

2. Personnel Training

Airline personnel and ground staff should receive regular training in assistance to blind passengers.

3. Access to Information

Essential airline information should be made available in braille, and clearly legible print formats. Websites should be accessible to blind users.

4. Consultation

Airline policies and procedures that apply to blind passengers should be developed in consultation with organizations representative of blind people.

5. Offers of Help

The protocol should be to offer help where help appears necessary. If help is declined, the wish of the blind person should be respected.


IN THE AIR

6. Safety Instructions

Braille safety instructions should be made available to blind passengers. Such instructions should include a tactile diagram indicating emergency exits.

7. Verbal Briefing

The use of oxygen masks and flotation jackets are to be demonstrated to blind passengers. The location of the nearest emergency exit and of the nearest toilet are to be pointed out as well as the position of the call bell.

8. White Canes

Blind passengers are to be allowed to retain their white canes in the seating area. Canes should not be removed and stored in another part of the cabin.

9. Guide Dogs

Guide dogs accompanying blind passengers should be carried free of charge in the cabin, subject to the application of any relevant national or airline regulations. Blind persons travelling with guide dogs are to be allowed to settle the dog at their feet and preferably should be seated at a bulkhead or where there is extra space, unless otherwise requested. The dog should not be muzzled. If the flight exceeds two hours in duration water only should be offered to the dog. There should be no petting of the guide dog by airline personnel.

10. Independent Travel

There should be no barrier to blind persons travelling unaccompanied.

11. Meals and Duty Free

Meal service and duty free service should be offered to blind passengers in the same way and at the same time as to other passengers.

12. Menus

Meal menus should be read out to blind passengers prior to meal service.

13. Entertainment

Onboard entertainment systems should be accessible to blind passengers. Verbal briefings should be offered.

14. Surcharges

No extra charges are to be levied for services provided to blind passengers.


ON THE GROUND

15. Kerbside Assistance

Airlines should provide, on request, kerbside assistance to enable blind passengers to transfer from public conveyances or taxis to the check-in counter.

16. Boarding and Disembarking

Blind passengers should be assisted in a timely fashion and not be made to wait unduly.

17. Guide Dogs

Airlines should allow only guide dogs that have been trained by official guide dog training schools. Guide dogs should be wearing their recognized harnesses on arrival at the airport and be pre-booked.

18. Wheelchairs

It is not appropriate to offer a wheelchair to a blind passenger or to insist on its use.

19. Passenger Assistance Unit (PAU)

In general blind passengers prefer not to make use of the PAU and choose to board and disembark in the regular manner.

20. Interface between Airlines

Where blind passengers transfer from one airline to another, rules of responsibility should be clear at every stage. Blind passengers are to be carefully briefed on the arrangements that apply.

21. Stopovers and Delays

During stopovers and flight delays blind passengers should be given the opportunity to obtain refreshments and visit the toilet. It is preferable to be seated in a public lounge where staff are readily on hand.

22. Passports and Boarding Cards

Passports and boarding cards should be retained by blind passengers themselves and not be withheld by airport or airline personnel.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:13 AM

December 29, 2007

Design for All Institute India

Design For All Institute of India and EIDD-Design For All Europe are jointly publishing December2007 Vol-2, No-12 issue of the Design for All Newsletter. From the editor, Dr. Sunil Bhatia:

Different eminent designers from different countries and those are the members of EIDD under the guidance of Mr. Pete Kercher have contributed the articles and our current issue is in front of your computer screen. Our December issue is very special and historic, reason is, we are celebrating completion of our two years of publication of newsletter. We have started a new section of CASE study for benefits of our readers. We have loaded a movie and those who wish to see the movie they can click the below given link
Kindly visit our web site www.designforall.in for our current as well as past publication of our monthly newsletter or click this link

http://www.designforall.in/newsletter_dec_2007.pdf (For Newsletter)

The download link for mechanical elevator

http://www.designforall.in/mechanicalelevator.zip
First unzip it by using winzip

Posted by rollingrains at 06:47 PM

December 26, 2007

Press Release: Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention

Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD

(United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol today. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.

“We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable

Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.

The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications. (Attached is a current list of all signatories and States Parties to the CRPD and Optional Protocol).

# # #

For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (sg@riglobal.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (shantha@riglobal.org), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.


About RI

Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and was an active member of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

For more information about RI, please visit our accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org.


Posted by rollingrains at 01:53 AM

December 19, 2007

Malaysia's Persons with Disabilities Bill 2007

For those policy wonks among us - note the contemporary definition of disability in Malaysia's Persons with Disabilities Bill 2007 and the inclusion of a section on leisure and tourism.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL 2007

ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES

PART I
PRELIMINARY

Clause
1. Short title and commencement
2. Interpretation

PART II
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
3. National Council for Persons with Disabilities
4. Alternate members
5. Revocation of appointment
6. Cessation of membership
7. Meetings of Council
8. Secretary to the Council
9. Functions of the Council
10. Council to be assisted by the Department
11. Establishment of committees
12. Delegation of functions and powers
13. Council to recommend changes to law
14. Responsibility of the Government
15. Responsibility of relevant ministries, etc.
16. Responsibility of the private sector and non-governmental organization
17. Follow up
18. Funds
19. Annual reports

2 Bill
PART III
APPOINTMENT OF REGISTRAR GENERAL, ETC., AND
REGISTRATION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Clause
20. Appointment and duties of Registrar General and Registrar
21. Register of Persons with Disabilities
22. Application for registration
23. Power of Registrar to call for additional document or information
24. Registration and refusal to register
25. Issuance of “Kad OKU”

PART IV
PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND
WELLBEING OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Chapter I
Accessibility
26. Access to public facilities, amenities and services and buildings
27. Access to public transport facilities
28. Access to education
29. Access to employment
30. Access to information, communication and technology
31. Access to cultural life
32. Access to recreation, leisure and sport

Chapter 2
Habilitation and rehabilitation
33. Habilitation and rehabilitation
34. In-home, residential and other community support services

Chapter 3

Health
35. Access to health

Persons with Disabilities
Clause
36. Prevention of further occurrence of disabilities
37. Availability of health personnel
Chapter 4
Protection of persons with severe disabilities
38. Lifelong protection and social system
39. Meaning of “persons with severe disabilities”
Chapter 5
Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
40. Access to assistance

PART V
GENERAL
41. Protection against suit and legal proceedings
42. Public Authorities Protection Act 1948
43. Power to make regulations
44. Things done in anticipation of the enactment of this Act
45. Savings and transitional
46. Prevention of anomalies

Bill4

A BILL
i n t i t u l e d
An Act to provide for the registration, protection, rehabilitation,
development and wellbeing of persons with disabilities, the
establishment of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities,
and for matters connected therewith.
[]
RECOGNIZING that disability is an evolving concept and
that disability results from the interaction between persons with
disabilities and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders
their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis
with persons without disabilities:

RECOGNIZING the valued existing and potential contributions
made by persons with disabilities to the overall wellbeing and
diversity of the community and society:
RECOGNIZING the importance of accessibility to the physical,
social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education
and to information and communication, in enabling persons with
disabilities to fully and effectively participate in society:
RECOGNIZING that persons with disabilities are entitled to equal
opportunity and protection and assistance in all circumstances and
subject only to such limitations, restrictions and the protection
of rights as provided by the Federal Constitution:
RECOGNIZING the importance of the co-operation between
the Government and the private sector and non-governmental
organization in ensuring the full and effective participation and
inclusion of persons with disabilities in society

6 Bill
NOW, THEREFORE, ENACTED by the Parliament of Malaysia
as follows:
PART I
PRELIMINARY
Short title and commencement
1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Persons with Disabilities Act
2007.
(2) This Act comes into operation on a date to be appointed by
the Minister by notification in the Gazette, and the Minister may
appoint different dates for the coming into operation of different
provisions of this Act.
Interpretation
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“language” includes spoken and sign languages, Malaysia Sign
Language and other forms of non-spoken languages;
“Malaysia Sign Language” means the official sign language
for the deaf in Malaysia;
“Register” means the Register of Persons with Disabilities kept
and maintained under section 21;
“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made under this
Act;
“habilitation” refers to a process aimed at enabling persons
who are born with disabilities to attain and maintain their full
physical, mental, social and vocational ability and full inclusion
and participation in all aspects of life;
“Department” means the Department for the Development
of Persons with Disabilities responsible for the registration,
protection, rehabilitation, development and wellbeing of persons
with disabilities;

Persons with Disabilities
“Kad OKU” means the card issued under section 25;
“Government” means the Federal Government;
“Registrar General” and “Deputy Registrar General” means
the Registrar General for Persons with Disabilities and Deputy
Registrar General for Persons with Disabilities respectively
appointed under paragraphs 20(1)(a) and (b);
“communication” includes languages, display of text, Braille,
tactile communication, large print, signal, accessible multimedia
as well as written, audio, plain-language, human-reader and
augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of
communication, including accessible information and communication
technology;
“Council” means the National Council for Persons with
Disabilities established under section 3;
“Minister” means the Minister charged with the responsibility
for social welfare;
“persons with disabilities” include those who have long term
physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in
interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective
participation in society;
“Social Welfare Officer” means any Social Welfare Officer
in the Ministry responsible for social welfare and includes any
Assistant Social Welfare Officer;
“Registrar” means the Registrar for Persons with Disabilities
appointed under paragraph 20(1)(c);
“private healthcare service provider” means the provider of a
private healthcare facility under the Private Healthcare Facilities
and Services Act 1998 [Act 586];
“reasonable accommodation” means necessary and appropriate
modifications and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or
undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to
persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise of the quality
of life and wellbeing on an equal basis with persons without
disabilities;

8 Bill
“rehabilitation” refers to a process aimed at enabling persons
with disabilities to attain and maintain their full physical, mental,
social and vocational ability and full inclusion and participation
in all aspects of life;
“universal design” means the design of products, environments,
programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest
extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized
design and shall include assistive devices for particular groups
of persons with disabilities where this is needed;
“private sector” refers to any person or body whether corporate
or unincorporate other than the Government or State Government,
agencies, bodies or organization of the Governments, but excludes
any reference to non-governmental organization.
PART II
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
National Council for Persons with Disabilities
3. (1) A body to be known as National Council for Persons with
Disabilities shall be established for the purpose of this Act.
(2) The Council shall consist of the following members:
(a) the Minister who shall be the Chairman;
(b) the Secretary General of the Ministry responsible for
social welfare, who shall be the Deputy Chairman;
(c) the Attorney General of Malaysia, or his representative;
(d) the Secretary General of the Ministry responsible for
finance;
(e) the Secretary General of the Ministry responsible for
transport;
(f) the Secretary General of the Ministry responsible for
human resources;
(g) the Director General of Education;
(h) the Director General of Health;

Persons with Disabilities
(i) the Chairman of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing
Board;
(j) not more than ten persons having appropriate experience,
knowledge and expertise in problems and issues relating
to persons with disabilities to be appointed by the
Minister.
(3) The members of the Council appointed under subsection (2)
may be paid such allowances as the Minister may determine.
(4) A member of the Council appointed under paragraph (2)(j),
unless he sooner resigns or vacates his office or his appointment
is sooner revoked, shall hold office for a term not exceeding two
years and is eligible for reappointment for a term not exceeding
two consecutive terms.
Alternate members
4. (1) The Minister may appoint a person to be an alternate
member in respect of each member appointed under paragraphs
3(2)(d),(e) and (f) to attend, in place of that member, meetings of
the Council if that member is for any reason unable to attend.
(2) When attending meetings of the Council, an alternate
member shall for all purposes be deemed to be a member of the
Council.
(3) An alternate member shall, unless he sooner resigns his
membership or his appointment is sooner revoked, cease to be
an alternate member when the member in respect of whom he is
an alternate member ceases to be a member of the Council.
Revocation of appointment
5. The Minister shall revoke the appointment of a member of
the Council appointed under paragraph 3(2)(j)—
(a) if his conduct, whether in connection with his duties as
a member of the Council or otherwise, has been such
as to bring discredit on the Council;

10 Bill
(b) if there has been proved against him, or he has been
convicted on, a charge in respect of—
(i) an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral
turpitude;
(ii) an offence under a law relating to corruption; or
(iii) any other offence punishable with imprisonment;
(c) if he becomes a bankrupt; or
(d) if he becomes of unsound mind or is otherwise incapable
of discharging his duties.
Cessation of membership
6. A member of the Council appointed under paragraph 3(2)(j)
shall cease to be a member—
(a) if he is absent from three consecutive meetings of the
Council without leave of the Chairman;
(b) if his appointment is revoked;
(c) if he dies; or
(d) if he resigns his office by giving one month notice in
writing to the Minister.
Meetings of Council
7. (1) The Council shall meet at least three times a year for
the performance of its functions at such time and place as the
Chairman may determine.
(2) Eleven members shall form the quorum of a meeting of
the Council.
(3) The Chairman shall preside over all its meetings.
(4) If the Chairman is unable for any reason to preside any
meeting of the Council, the meeting shall be presided by the
Deputy Chairman.

Persons with Disabilities
(5) The Council may invite any person to attend any meeting
or deliberation of the Council for the purpose of advising it on
any matter under discussion, but that person shall not be entitled
to vote at the meeting.
(6) At any meeting of the Council, the Chairman shall have a
deliberative vote and shall, in the event of an equality of votes,
have a casting vote.
(7) Any person invited under subsection (5) may be paid such
allowance as the Minister may determine.
(8) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Council may make
regulations for regulating its meetings and proceedings.
Secretary to the Council
8. The Director General of Social Welfare shall be the Secretary
to the Council.
Functions of the Council
9. (1) The functions of the Council shall be as follows:
(a) to oversee the implementation of the national policy
and national plan of action relating to persons with
disabilities;
(b) to make recommendations to the Government on all aspects
of persons with disabilities including matters relating to
the support, care, protection, rehabilitation, development
and wellbeing of persons with disabilities;
(c) to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the
national policy and national plan of action relating
to persons with disabilities with relevant ministries,
government agencies, bodies or organizations and the
private sector;
(d) to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies, programmes
and activities designed to achieve full and effective
participation of persons with disabilities and in doing so
may enter into such arrangement with relevant ministries,
government agencies, bodies or organizations and the
private sector as it deems necessary;

12 Bill
(e) to review the activities of all ministries, government
agencies, bodies or organizations and the private sector
that are involved in the implementation of the national
policy and national plan of action relating to persons
with disabilities;
(f) to recommend to the Government changes to the existing
law as well as to propose new law in order to secure
full and effective participation in society of persons with
disabilities, including to facilitate accessibility;
(g) to develop programmes and strategies aiming at educating
the society and to raise awareness throughout society,
including at the family level, regarding persons with
disabilities including their capabilities and contributions
in order to promote positive perception and greater social
awareness and to foster respect for the rights and dignity
towards persons with disabilities;
(h) to adopt effective and appropriate measures to promote
recognition of the skills, merits and abilities of persons
with disabilities, and of their contributions to the workplace
and the labour market;
(i) to foster at all levels of the education system, including
in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect
for the rights of persons with disabilities;
(j) to advise the Government on the issues of disabilities
including developments at the international level;
(k) to collect and collate data and information, and undertake and
promote research relating to persons with disabilities;
(l) to promote the development of initial and continuing
training for professionals and staff working in habilitation
and rehabilitation services;
(m) to promote employment opportunities and career advancement
for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as
well as assistance in finding or obtaining employment
on equal basis with persons without disabilities; and
(n) to perform any other functions as directed by the Minister
for the proper implementation of this Act.

Persons with Disabilities
(3) The Council shall have all such powers as may be necessary
for, or in connection with, or incidental to, the performance of
its functions under this Act.
Council to be assisted by the Department
10. The Council shall be assisted by the Department in the
performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers under
this Act.
Establishment of committees
11. (1) The Council may establish such committees as it deems
necessary or expedient to assist it in the performance of its
functions and the exercise of its powers under this Act.
(2) A committee established under subsection (1)—
(a) shall be chaired by any member of the Council specified
under paragraphs 3(2)(b) to (i);
(b) shall conform to and act in accordance with any direction
given to it by the Council; and
(c) may determine its own procedure.
(3) Members of the committees established under subsection
(1) may be appointed from amongst members of the Council orsuch other persons as the Council thinks fit.
(4) Except for members of the committee appointed from
amongst members of the Council, any other persons appointed
as members of the committees may be paid such allowance as
the Minister may determine.
(5) A member of a committee shall hold office for such a term
as may be specified in his letter of appointment and is eligible
for reappointment.
(6) The Council may revoke the appointment of any member of
a committee without assigning any reason for the revocation.

14 Bill
(7) A member of a committee may, at any time, resign by
giving notice in writing to the chairman of the committee.
(8) The Council may, at any time, discontinue or alter the
constitution of a committee.
(9) A committee shall hold its meetings at such times and
places as the chairman of the committee may determine.
(10) A committee may invite any person to attend any meeting
of the committee for the purpose of advising it on any matter
under discussion but that person shall not be entitled to vote at
the meeting.
(11) Any person invited under subsection (10) may be paid
such allowance as the Minister may determine.
Delegation of functions and powers
12. (1) The Council may, subject to such conditions, limitations or
restrictions as it deems fit to impose, delegate any of its functions
and powers, except the power to make regulations under section
43, to—
(a) the Chairman of the Council;
(b) any member of the Council appointed under paragraph
3(2)(b) to (i); and
(c) a committee established under section 11.
(2) Any person or committee delegated with such functions
and powers shall conform and have regard to all conditions
and restrictions imposed by the Council and all requirements,
procedures and matters specified by the Council.
(3) Any function or power delegated under this section shall
be performed and exercised in the name and on behalf of the
Council.
(4) The delegation under this section shall not preclude the
Council itself from performing or exercising at any time any of
the delegated functions and powers.

Persons with Disabilities
Council to recommend changes to law
13. (1) In performing its functions under this Act, it shall be the
responsibility of the Council to recommend to the Government
changes required to be made to any law or to propose the
provision of new law in order to secure full and effective
participation in society of persons with disabilities, including to
facilitate accessibility or any other matter as it deems necessary
or expedient.
(2) For the purposes of making any recommendation under
subsection (1), the Council—
(a) shall consult the relevant ministries, government agencies,
bodies or organizations; or
(b) may consult the private sector or any non-governmental
organization as it deems necessary or expedient to do
so.
(3) In formulating its recommendation or proposal under subsection
(1), the Council shall have regard to such policies, information
and other considerations received during the consultation pursuant
to subsection (2) that appear to it to be relevant.
Responsibility of the Government
14. The responsibility and obligation to be discharged by the
Government under this Act shall be in furtherance of its policy relating
to persons with disabilities and shall be so discharged—
(a) by taking into consideration the available financial and
human resources and such other factors as may be
relevant; and
(b) in compliance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution
and other written laws as may be relevant.
Responsibility of relevant ministries, etc.
15. It shall be the responsibility and obligation of every relevant
ministries, government agencies or bodies or organizations—
(a) to co-operate with and assist the Council in the performance
by the Council of its functions under this Act;

16 Bill
(b) to give due consideration to the national policy and
national plan of action of the Government relating to
persons with disabilities; and
(c) to undertake steps, measures or actions required to be
taken by it in such form or manner as may be provided
for under any other written law or otherwise relating to
persons with disabilities.
Responsibility of the private sector and non-governmental
organization
16. It shall be the responsibility and obligation of the private
sector and non-governmental organization—
(a) to co-operate with and assist the Council in the performance
by the Council of its functions under this Act;
(b) to give due consideration to the national policy and
national plan of action of the Government relating to
persons with disabilities; and
(c) to undertake steps, measures or actions required to be
taken by it in such form or manner as may be provided
for under any other written law or otherwise relating to
pesons with disabilities.
Follow up
17. (1) The Council may require the relevant ministries, government
agencies or bodies or organizations to submit reports to the Council
on steps, measures and actions required to be undertaken by them
in complying with the provisions of this Act at such intervals as
the Council may specify.
(2) It shall be the duty of the relevant ministries, government
agencies or bodies or organizations referred to in subsection (1)
to submit full reports regarding the progress of steps, measures
or actions undertaken by them and such report shall be given
until the conclusion thereof.
(3) The Council may require the relevant ministries, government
agencies or bodies or organizations to provide explanation if the
Council is of the opinion that the progress of steps, measures or
actions is inadequate or unsatisfactory.

Persons with Disabilities
Funds
18. The Government shall allocate the Council with adequate
funds annually to enable the Council to perform its functions
under this Act.
Annual reports
19. The Council shall furnish to the Minister, and such public
authority as may be directed by the Minister an annual report of
all its activities during the year to which the report relates.
PART III
APPOINTMENT OF REGISTRAR GENERAL, ETC., AND
REGISTRATION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Appointment and duties of Registrar General and Registrar
20. (1) The Minister shall for the purposes of this Act
appoint—
(a) a Social Welfare Officer in charge of the Department as
Registrar General;
(b) a Social Welfare Officer from the Department as Deputy
Registrar General;
(c) a Social Welfare Officer from the Department as a Registrar
for each State and Federal Territory; and
(d) such number of Assistant Registrars for any district or
area as the Minister may determine.
(2) The Registrar General shall be under the general direction
and supervision of the Director General of Social Welfare and the
Registrar General shall exercise general control and supervision
over all matters relating to the registration of persons with
disabilities under this Act.
(3) The Deputy Registrar General, Registrar and Assistant
Registrars shall be under the general direction and supervision
of the Registrar General.

18 Bill
(4) The Registrar General shall have the powers and exercise
the functions conferred on him by this Act, and in his absence,
such powers and functions may be had or exercised by the Deputy
Registrar General.
(5) Subject to the direction, control and supervision of the
Registrar General, the Deputy Registrar General or Registrar may
exercise all the powers and functions conferred on the Registrar
General by or under this Act.
(6) Subject to the direction, control and supervision of the
Registrar, an Assistant Registrar shall assist the Registrar in the
exercise of his powers and the performance of his functions in
the area of which he is appointed.
(7) Appointment of the Registrar General, Deputy Registrar
General, Registrar and Assistant Registrar under this section shall
be published in the Gazette.
Register of Persons with Disabilities
21. (1) Every Registrar shall keep and maintain a Register of
Persons with Disabilities.
(2) The Minister may make regulations for the keeping and
maintenance of Register of Persons with Disabilities and such
regulations may include provisions to authorize the Registrar or
Assistant Registrar to update the Register by making changes to
the particulars of the persons with disabilities or to delete the
names of persons with disabilities who have died or ceased to
be persons with disabilities.
Application for registration
22. (1) Application for registration as persons with disabilities
shall be made to the Council.
(2) The Minister may make regulations for the registration of
persons with disabilities and for all matters incidental thereto.

Persons with Disabilities
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), the
regulations may—
(a) prescribe the procedure to be followed in making an
application for registration;
(b) prescribe who may be registered as persons with
disabilities and who ceases to be registered as persons
with disabilities; and
(c) prescribe the manner of issuance and cancellation of Kad
OKU.
Power of Registrar to call for additional document or
information
23. (1) The Registrar may, in relation to any application made
under section 22, call for such additional document or information
to be supplied by the applicant within the period to be specified
by the Registrar.
(2) Where a person making an application fails to supply
the additional document or information called for within the
specified period or such other period as may be extended by
the Registrar, the application is deemed to have been withdrawn
without prejudice, however to a fresh application being made.
Registration and refusal to register
24. (1) After considering an application under section 22 and any
additional document or information supplied pursuant to section
23, if any, the Registrar shall—
(a) register a person to be a person with disability if he
is satisfied that the person who is the subject of the
application is a person with disability; or
(b) refuse to register a person as a person with disability
if he is satisfied that the person is not a person with
disability.
(2) A person aggrieved by the decision of the Registrar under
paragraph 1(b) may appeal to the Minister and the decision of
the Minister shall be final.

20 Bill
Issuance of Kad OKU
25. (1) The Registrar shall issue a person who is registered as
a person with disability a Kad OKU.
(2) AKad OKU issued under subsection (1) shall, unless
proved to have been cancelled, be conclusive evidence for all
purposes that the person has been duly registered as a person
with disability under this Act.
(3) The Kad OKU shall be surrendered to the Registrar when
a person ceases to be a person with disability.
PART IV
PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE QUALITY OF
LIFE AND WELLBEING OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Chapter I
Accessibility
Access to public facilities, amenities and services and
buildings
26. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access
to and use of, public facilities, amenities, services and buildings
open or provided to the public on equal basis with persons
without disabilities, but subject to the existence or emergence
of such situations that may endanger the safety of persons with
disabilities.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Government and
the providers of such public facilities, amenities, services and
buildings shall give appropriate consideration and take necessary
measures to ensure that such public facilities, amenities, services
and buildings and the improvement of the equipment related
thereto conform to universal design in order to facilitate their
access and use by persons with disabilities.
Access to public transport facilities
27. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access to
and use of public transport facilities, amenities and services open

Persons with Disabilities
or provided to the public on equal basis with persons without
disabilities.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Government and
the providers of such public transport facilities, amenities and
services shall give appropriate consideration and take necessary
measures to ensure that such facilities, amenities and services
conform to universal design in order to facilitate their access and
use by persons with disabilities.
Access to education
28. (1) Persons with disabilities shall not be excluded from the
general education system on the basis of disabilities, and children
with disabilities shall not be excluded from pre-school, primary,
secondary and higher education, on equal basis with persons or
children without disabilities, including vocational training and
lifelong learning.
(2) The Government and private educational providers shall, in
order to enable persons and children with disabilities to pursue
education, provide reasonable accommodation suitable with the
requirements of persons and children with disabilities in terms of,
among others, infrastructure, equipment and teaching materials,
teaching methods, curricula and other forms of support that meet
the diverse needs of persons or children with disabilities.
(3) The Government and private educational providers shall take
appropriate steps and measures to enable persons and children
with disabilities to learn life and social development skills in
order to facilitate their full and equal participation in education
including the following:
(a) to facilitate the learning of Braille, alternative script,
augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats
of communication and orientation and mobility skills,
and facilitating peer support and mentoring;
(b) to facilitate the learning of Malaysia Sign Language and
the promotion of the linguistics identity of the deaf
community; and
(c) to ensure that the education of persons, and in particular
children, who are blind, deaf or deaf-blind is delivered in

22 Bill
the most appropriate languages and modes and means of
communication for the individual, and in environments
which maximize academic and social development.
Access to employment
29. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access
to employment on equal basis with persons without disabilities.
(2) The employer shall protect the rights of persons with
disabilities, on equal basis with persons without disabilities, to just
and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities
and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy
working conditions, protection from harassment and the redress
of grievances.
(3) The employer shall in performing their social obligation
endeavour to promote stable employment for persons with disabilities
by properly evaluating their abilities, providing suitable places of
employment and conducting proper employment management.
(4) The Council shall, in order to promote employment of persons
with disabilities in the private sector, formulate appropriate policies
and measures which may include affirmative action programmes
and other measures.
(5) The Council shall promote opportunities for training for persons
with disabilities in the labour market as well as opportunities for
self employment, entrepreneurship, the development of cooperatives,
starting one’s own business and creating opportunities to work
from home.
(6) For the purposes of this section, “employer” includes the
Government.
Access to information, communication and technology
30. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access to
information, communication and technology on equal basis with
persons without disabilities.

Persons with Disabilities
(2) The Government and the provider of information,
communication and technology shall in order to enable persons
with disabilities to have such access, provide the information,
communication and technology in accessible formats and technologies
appropriate to different kind of disabilities in a timely manner
and without additional cost.
(3) The Government and the private sector shall accept and
facilitate the use of Malaysia Sign Language, Braille, augmentative
and alternative communication, and all other accessible means,
modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons
with disabilities in official transactions.
Access to cultural life
31. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to access to
cultural life on an equal basis with persons without disabilities.
(2) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to enjoy
access—
(a) to cultural materials in accessible formats;
(b) to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural
activities, in accessible formats; and
(c) to places for cultural performances or services such
as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism
services, and, as far as possible, to monuments and sites
of national cultural importance.
(3) The Council shall take appropriate measures to enable
persons with disabilities to have the opportunities to develop and
utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only
for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
(4) Persons with disabilities shall be entitled on equal basis
with persons without disabilities to recognition and support of
their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including Malaysia
Sign Language and deaf culture.

24 Bill

Access to recreation, leisure and sport

32. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to participate
in recreational, leisure and sporting activities on an equal basis
with persons without disabilities but subject to the existence or
emergence of such situations that may endanger the safety of
persons with disabilities.
(2) The Council shall take appropriate measures—
(a) to encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest
extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream
sporting activities at all levels;
(b) to ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity
to organise, develop and participate in disability specific
sporting and recreational activities and, to this end,
encourage the provision, on an equal basis with persons
without disabilities, of appropriate instruction, training
and resources;
(c) to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to
sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
(d) to ensure that children with disabilities have equal access
with other children without disabilities to participation
in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities,
including those activities in the school system; and
(e) to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to
services from those involved in the organization of
recreational, leisure, sporting activities and tourism.

Chapter 2

Habilitation and rehabilitation
Habilitation and rehabilitation
33. (1) The Council, the private healthcare service provider
and non-governmental organization shall take effective and
appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to attain
and maintain maximum independence, full physical, mental, social
and vocational ability and full inclusion and participation in all
aspects of life.

Persons with Disabilities

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Council, the private
healthcare service provider and non-governmental organization
shall organize, strengthen and extend comprehensive habilitation
and rehabilitation services and programmes, particularly in the
areas of health, employment, education and social services, in such
a way that these services and programmes begin at the earliest
possible stage and are based on the multidisciplinary assessment
of individual needs and strengths.
(3) The Council, the private healthcare service provider and
non-governmental organization shall promote the availability,
knowledge, and use of assistive devices and technologies designed
for persons with disabilities as they relate to habilitation and
rehabilitation.
(4) The Council, the private sector and non-governmental
organization shall take appropriate measures to promote and
strengthen community-based rehabilitation programme to provide
early intervention, rehabilitation and training for persons with
disabilities in their own community through active community
participation.
In-home, residential and other community support services
34. The Council, the private sector and non-governmental
organization shall take appropriate measures to encourage and
promote the provision of a range of in-home, residential and other
community support services to prevent isolation or segregation
of persons with disabilities from the community.

Chapter 3

Health

Access to health

35. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to the
enjoyment of health on an equal basis with persons without
disabilities.
(2) The Council, the private sector and non-governmental
organization shall take appropriate measures to ensure persons
with disabilities have access to health services, including health
related rehabilitation, that are gender sensitive.

26 Bill
Prevention of further occurrence of disabilities
36. (1) The Government and the private healthcare service
provider shall make available essential health services to persons
with disabilities which shall include the following:
(a) prevention of further occurrence of disabilities, immunization,
nutrition, environmental protection and preservation and
genetic counselling; and
(b) early detection of disabilities and timely intervention to
arrest disabilities and treatment for rehabilitation.
(2) In taking measures to prevent further occurrence of disabilities,
the Government shall—
(a) undertake or cause to be undertaken surveys, investigations
and research concerning the cause of occurrence of such
disabilities; and
(b) sponsor or cause to be sponsored awareness campaigns and
disseminate or cause to be disseminated information on
causes of disabilities and the preventive measures to be
adopted and on general hygiene, health and sanitation.
Availability of health personnel
37. (1) Any private sector and non-governmental organization
providing institutional care for persons with disabilities shall
have in its employment speech therapist, physiotherapist and
occupational therapist, or such health personnel as the Minister
may deem necessary after taking into account the requirements
and capabilities of such private institution, frequency of services
and such other factors as may be relevant.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), such private
institution—
(a) registered under the Care Centres Act 1993 [Act 506],
shall within six months of the coming into operation
of this Act submit to the Council the number of such
personnel in their employment; or
(b) applying to be registered under the Care Centres Act 1993
shall on and after the coming into operation of this Act,

Persons with Disabilities

before commencing operation, submit to the Council the
number of such personnel in their employment.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Minister may exemptany private sector or non-governmental organization providing
institutional care for persons with disabilities, as he deems fit
and necessary, from having in-house health personnel in their
employment and instead may allow periodic visit of such health
personnel to such private institution.
Chapter 4
Protection of persons with severe disabilities
Lifelong protection and social support system
38. (1) The Government shall provide the necessary lifelong
protection and social support system including ensuring that the
welfare of persons with severe disabilities remain unaffected after
the death of their parents or their caregivers in order to enable
the persons with severe disabilities to lead a better quality of
life.
(2) Any non-governmental organization intending to provide or
providing institutional care for persons with severe disabilities
or the caregivers for persons with severe disabilities may make
an application for an incentive for providing such care to the
Council in such form and manner as may be prescribed.
(3) The Council may, if it is satisfied that the application of
the non-governmental organization or caregivers referred to in
subsection (2) should be considered, grant such incentive as it
deems appropriate with the approval of the Minister responsible
for finance.
Meaning of "€œpersons with severe disabilities€"
39. For the purposes of this Chapter, "€œpersons with severe
disabilitiesâ" means a person suffering from one or more disabilities
who is dependent on others for basic daily living activities.

28 Bill
Chapter 5
Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies
Access to assistance
40. (1) Persons with disabilities shall have the right to have
assistance on equal basis and recognition with persons without
disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies,
including armed conflict and the occurrence of natural disaster.
(2) The Government shall take all necessary measures to
ensure persons with disabilities to have the right of assistance in
situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies by way of legal
as well as administrative mechanism.

PART V

GENERAL

Protection against suit and legal proceedings
41. No action, suit, prosecution or other proceedings shall lie or
be brought, instituted or maintained in any court against—
(a) the Government;
(b) the Minister;
(c) the Council;
(d) any member of the Council or any member of a committee;
or
(e) any other person lawfully acting on behalf of the
Council,
in respect of any act, neglect or default done or committed by
him or it in good faith or any omission omitted by him or it in
good faith in such capacity.
Public Authorities Protection Act 1948
42. The Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 [Act 198] shall
apply to any action, suit, prosecution or proceedings against

Persons with Disabilities

the Government, Council or any member of the Council, any
member of a committee or agent of the Council in respect of
any act, neglect or default done or omitted by it or him in such
capacity.
Power to make regulations
43. (1) The Minister may make regulations as appear to him to
be necessary and expedient to carry out the provisions of this
Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred
by subsection (1), the Minister may make regulations for all or
any of the following purposes:
(a) to regulate the management of institutions established for
persons with disabilities;
(b) to regulate the management of institutions established for
persons with severe disabilities;
(c) to process and regulate the registration of persons with
disabilities and such matter relating or incidental
thereto;
(d) to prescribe any other matter required or permitted to be
prescribed under this Act; and
(e) to provide for any other matter which the Minister deems
expedient or necessary for the purposes of this Act.
Things done in anticipation of the enactment of this Act
44. All acts and things done on behalf of the Government or
the Council in preparation for or in anticipation of the enactment
of this Act and any expenditure incurred in relation thereto shall
be deemed to have been authorized under this Act, provided that
the acts and things done are consistent with the general intention
and purposes of this Act; and all rights and obligations acquired
or incurred as a result of the doing of those acts or things
including any expenditure incurred in relation thereto shall on
the coming into operation of this Act be deemed to be the rights
and obligations of the Government or the Council.

30 Bill

Savings and transitional
45. (1) Any person who immediately before the coming into
operation of this Act is registered as a person with disability
with the Department of Social Welfare shall, on the coming into
operation of this Act, be deemed to be a person with disability
registered under this Act.
(2) Any person with disability to whom an identification card
has been issued by the Department of Social Welfare immediately
before the coming into operation of this Act shall be issued a
Kad OKU under this Act.
(3) All registers relating to registration of persons with
disabilities kept and maintained by the Department of Social
Welfare immediately before the coming into operation of this Act
shall, on the coming into operation of this Act, be deemed to be
registers kept and maintained under this Act and shall be deemed
to form part of the Register of Persons with Disabilities.
Prevention of anomalies
46. (1) The Minister may, by order, make such modifications in
the provisions of this Act as may appear to him to be necessary or
expedient for the purpose of removing any difficulty occasioned
by the coming into operation of this Act only as regard to the
performance of the functions and the exercise of the powers by
the Council.
(2) The Minister shall not exercise the powers conferred by
this section after the expiration of two years from the date of
coming into operation of this Act.
(3) In this section, “modifications” means amendments, additions,
deletions and substitutions of any provision of this Act.
EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
This Bill seeks to provide for the registration, protection, rehabilitation,
development and wellbeing of persons with disabilities, and the creation of the
National Council for Persons with Disabilities which will be charged with the

Persons with Disabilities
responsibility of promoting the quality of life of persons with disabilities. Apart
from the Government’s national policy and national plan of action pertaining
to persons with disabilities, the Convention on The Rights of Persons with
Disabilities forms the main thrust and basis of this Bill, even though Malaysia
has yet to become a party to the Convention.

PART I

2. Part I of the Bill contains preliminary matters.
3. Clause 1 contains the short title and the power of the Minister to appoint
different commencement for different provisions of this proposed Act.
4. Clause 2 defines certain words and expressions used in the proposed Act.
Some of the salient definitions are as follows:
(a) the definition of “persons with disabilities” which is the central thread
of the Act; and
(b) the definitions of “reasonable accommodation” and “universal design”
which are very pertinent in the area of accessibility.
PART II

5. Part II contains provisions relating to National Council for Persons with
Disabilities.
6. Clause 3 provides for the creation of the National Council for Persons
with Disabilities.
7. Clauses 4, 5 and 6 deal with the alternate members of certain members
of the Council, revocation of appointment of members of Council in the
circumstances enumerated and their resignation.
8. Clause 7 provides for the meetings of the Council, which includes the
frequency of the meeting, quorum, chairmanship, attendance on invitation,
voting rights and power to make regulations.
9. Clause 8 names the Director General of Social Welfare as the Secretary
of the Council.
10. Clause 9 relates to the functions of the Council, among others
being—
(a) to oversee the implementation of the national policy and national plan
of action relating to persons with disabilities;
(b) to make recommendations to the Government on all aspects of persons
with disabilities including matters relating to the support, care,
protection, rehabilitation, development and wellbeing of persons
with disabilities;

32 Bill

(c) to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the national policy
and national plan of action relating to persons with disabilities with
relevant ministries;
(d) to adopt effective and appropriate measures to promote recognition
of the skills, merits and abilities of persons with disabilities, and of
their contributions to the workplace and the labour market; and
(e) to promote employment opportunities and career advancement for
persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance
in finding or obtaining employment on equal basis with persons
without disabilities.
11. Clause 10 provides that the Council shall be assisted by the Department
for the Development of Persons with Disabilities in the performance of its
functions and the exercise of its power under this Act.
12. Clause 11 provides for the establishment of committees to assist the
Council. Members of the committees may be appointed from amongst members
of the Council or such other persons as the Council thinks fit.
13. Clause 12 relates to the delegation of the Council’s functions and
powers.
14. Clause 13 imposes a duty on the Council to recommend changes to the
existing law of the country or to propose new law particularly on matters
relating to accessibility. The responsibility and obligation imposed on competent
persons or bodies through legal mechanism would secure effective compliance
with various standards set in order to achieve the desired goal in promoting
the wellbeing of the disabled.
15. Clause 14 specifically states that in discharging its responsibilities and
obligations, the Government shall take into account the financial and human
resources available and the provisions of the Federal Constitution and other
written laws.
16. Clauses 15 and 16 emphasize the responsibility of the relevant ministries,
government agencies, etc., the private sector and non-governmental organization
in ensuring that there would be full and effective participation and inclusion
of persons with disabilities in the society.
17. Clause 17 requires the relevant ministries, government agencies or
bodies or organizations to submit report to the Council on steps, measures and
actions required to be undertaken by them in complying with the provisions
of this Act and to provide explanation to the Council if the Council is of the
opinion that the progress of the steps, measures and actions is inadequate or
unsatisfactory.
18. Clause 18 imposes a duty on the Government to allocate the Council
with adequate funds annually to enable the Council to perform its functions
under this Act.

Persons with Disabilities

19. Clause 19 requires the Council to submit an annual report of all its
activities during the year to which the report relates to the Minister or any
public authority.
PART III
20. Part III contains provisions on the Registrar General for Persons with
Disabilities, Deputy Registrar General, Registrar and Assistant Registrars and
registration of persons with disabilities.
21. Clause 20 provides for the appointment and duties of Registrar General
and Registrar.
22. Clause 21 relates to the keeping and maintenance of Register of Persons
with Disabilities.
23. Clause 22 deals with application for registration as persons with disabilities.
It also empowers the Minister to make regulations in respect thereof.
24. Clause 23 allows the Registrar to call for additional document or
information while clause 24 confers the Registrar the power to register or
refuse an application.
25. Clause 25 relates to the issuance of Kad OKU to persons with
disabilities.

PART IV

26. Part IV contains five chapters that deal with the promotion and development
of the quality of life and wellbeing of persons with disabilities. Chapter 1
deals with matters relating to rights to accessibility, Chapter 2 on habilitation
and rehabilitation, Chapter 3 relates to health, Chapter 4 on protection of
persons with severe disabilities and Chapter 5 deals with assistance rendered
in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies.
27. Clause 26 seeks to provide persons with disabilities the right to access
to and use of, public facilities, amenities, services and buildings open or
provided to the public, on equal basis with persons without disabilities.
28. Clause 27 deals with the right of persons with disabilities to access to
and use of, public transport facilities, amenities and services open or provided
to the public, also on equal basis with persons without disabilities.
29. Clause 28 provides for inclusion of persons and children with disabilities
in the general education system and places a duty on the educational provider
to provide reasonable accommodation suitable with the requirements of persons
and children with disabilities.
30. Clause 29 relates to the right of access to employment. Under this clause,
the employer is to ensure that persons with disabilities are accorded just and

34 Bill
favourable condition of work and equal opportunities and equal remuneration
for work of equal value as enjoyed by persons without disabilities.
31. Clause 30 confers persons with disabilities with the right of access to
information, communication and technology on equal basis with persons without
disabilities and places duty on the Government and the provider of information,
communication and technology to provide the information, communication and
technology in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kind
of disabilities.
32. Clause 31 confers persons with disabilities with the right of access to
cultural life on equal basis with persons without disabilities. The Council is
to create opportunities for persons with disabilities to develop and utilize their
creative, artistic and intellectual potential.
33. Clause 32 ensures persons with disabilities the right to participate in
recreational, leisure and sporting activities subject however, to the existence
or emergence of such situations that may endanger their safety.
34. Clause 33 requires the Council, the private healthcare service provider and
non-governmental organization to take effective and appropriate measures to
enable persons with disabilities to attain and maintain maximum independence,
full physical, mental, social and vocational ability and full inclusion and
participation in all aspects of life, to promote and strengthen community-based
rehabilitation programme and to promote the availability, knowledge and use
of assistive devices and technologies designed for persons with disabilities.
35. Clause 34 requires the Council, the private sector and non-governmental
organization to promote the provision of in-home, residential and other
community support services so as to prevent persons with disabilities from
being isolated or segregated from the community.
36. Clause 35 confers persons with disabilities the right to the enjoyment
of health and ensures them access to health services.
37. Clause 36 requires the Government, the private healthcare service provider
and non-governmental organization to make available essential health services
to persons with disabilities.
38. Clause 37 places a duty on the private sector and non-governmental
organization providing institutional care for persons with disabilities to have in
its employment speech therapist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist as
the Minister deems necessary. The Minister is however empowered to exempt
such provider from the requirement of this section.
39. Clause 38 requires the Government to provide the necessary lifelong
protection and social support system for persons with severe disabilities.
Incentives may be given to any non-governmental organization providing
such institutional care and to caregivers for persons with severe disabilities,
on application.
40. Clause 39 defines the term “persons with severe disabilities”.

Persons with Disabilities

41. Clause 40 ensures persons with disabilities full assistance and recognition
in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies.
PART V
42. Part V contains general provisions.
43. Clause 41 confers protection to the Government, Minister, the Council
and its members and other persons lawfully acting on behalf of the Council
from actions, suit or prosecution if the acts were done in good faith.
44. Clause 42 provides for the application of the Public Authorities Protection
Act 1948 to the Government, Council or its members, any member of a
committee and agents of the Council.
45. Clause 43 deals with the power of the Minister to make regulations.
46. Clause 44 provides for things done in anticipation of the enactment of
the proposed Act.
47. Clause 45 provides for savings and transitional provisions.
48. Clause 46 empowers the Minister to make such amendments, additions,
deletions or substitutions to the provisions of the proposed Act to remove any
difficulty that may arise.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

This Bill will involve the Government in extra financial expenditure the amount
of which cannot at present be ascertained.
[PN(U2)2617]

Posted by rollingrains at 04:55 AM

December 17, 2007

Tourism Websites Fall Short On Accessibility


Almost all UK tourism websites are failing to meet basic acceptable
standards of accessibility, according to a new report from technology
access charity AbilityNet.

The report, the latest in a series of 'State of the eNation' surveys by the
charity, assessed ten websites at random from a list of the most popular
UK visitor attractions. The sites were rated using a five star scale from
'very inaccessible' (one star) to 'very accessible' (five stars), with
three stars representing an 'adequate' level of accessibility.

Only one of the ten sites examined - the Glasgow Science Centre - met
or exceeded this 'adequate' threshold. The centre's site
(http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org ) has been improved in the past
year with accessibility in mind and as a result achieved four stars.

Of the other sites assessed, four achieved two stars (the Eden Project,
The Giant's Causeway, National Waterfront Museum and Portmeirion)
and five were deemed very inaccessible, receiving only one star
(Belfast Zoo, The Burns Heritage Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Kew
Gardens and the London Eye).

Sites which fail to meet the three-star level may be falling short of
service access requirements set out in the UK's Disability
Discrimination Act
, AbilityNet says.

The report took into account sites' compliance with the international
World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines, as well as the practical difficulties that visitors with a range
of disabilities may experience. Among the features that cause problems
are small text that cannot be resized; unnecessary complexity; closely
clustered buttons; unlabeled images and over-reliance on visual clues.
Since the audit was taken at least three of the single-star-rated
attractions have expressed a commitment to improving the accessibility
of their websites.

Source:

E-access Bulletin, Headstar, Issue 96

Copyright 2007 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
The Bulletin may be reproduced as long as all parts including this
copyright notice are included, and as long as people are always
encouraged to subscribe with us individually by email. Please also
inform the editor when you are reproducing our content. Sections of
the bulletin may be quoted as long as they are clearly sourced as 'taken
from e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter', and our web
site address:
http://www.headstar.com/eab
is also cited.

+Personnel:
Editor - Dan Jellinek
Reporter: Majeed Saleh
Editorial advisor - Kevin Carey
Marketing Executive - Claire Clinton
Sales and Marketing - Jo Knell, Will Knox.

ISSN 1476-6337

Posted by rollingrains at 03:54 PM

A Corrective for Those Who Counselled "All is Well!" Too Often

It's not unambiguously better out there!

PEOPLE with disabilities have significantly more trouble accessing airline services than five years ago, despite the introduction of a national standard to protect them.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre surveyed 110 people with disabilities, their carers or advocates and found that only 14 had an overall positive experience when dealing with airlines.

Its report concludes that there has been "a systemic failure of airlines to improve access". It has been submitted to a federal government five-year review of disability standards for accessible public transport.

Read:

Airlines dive in survey of disabled passenger satisfaction

Airlines 'discriminating against disabled'

Airlines warned not to bar disabled

Airlines need to do more for disabled travellers says new report

Posted by rollingrains at 02:29 PM

December 14, 2007

Preliminary Standards: Inclusion and Visitability for the Hospitality Industry

Gordon Rattray of Able Travel is first out of the gate in publishing a new type of resource for hoteliers. The document, Making Your Property More Inclusive: Basic Guidelines for African Safaris, is only one example of a new generation of results-oriented advice flowing from the kind of thinking evident at the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism held at the UN campus in Bangkok, Thailand.

The core concepts are "Social Inclusion" and "Visitability."

While mere accessibility addresses usability of basic infrastructure by all, social inclusion (or simply "inclusion") refers to the availability of the activities and social interaction taking place in any space. Inclusion is the more powerful and adaptive concept. In terms of the tourism industry "accessibility" is equivalent to a building having indoor plumbing and running water -- so basic as to be a non-issue -- unless it is absent!

Visitability is a specific application of the seven principles of Universal Design to the minimum requirements for usability of the built environment by persons with mobility impairments. The concept of Visitability has been developed by Eleanor Smith and, until now, exclusively applied to private residences.

However, we know that concepts of "home" and "hominess" migrate into the hospitality industry at a rapid pace. Visitability as a hotel design trend is arising simultaneously in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. It will be a topic of hallway discussions at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF-2008) in Bankok next month.

Gordon is writing a safari guide for Pw. If you would like to contribute, he is looking for anybody with experience of Africa or adventure travel in general for this market. See his site: http://www.able-travel.com/contact.php

Posted by rollingrains at 02:04 PM

December 11, 2007

From Travel Weekly (UK): Travel agencies warned over needs of disabled travellers

On Thursday, December 06, 2007 Chloe Berman wrote, "Travel agencies warned over needs of disabled travellers":

Travel agencies could face a fine of up to £5,000 if they fail to communicate the needs of disabled passengers to air carriers, following the introduction of new EU laws in July next year.

Agents must take "all necessary measures" to notify the airline, for example
making a phone call, emailing, or filling in a box on the tour operator's
website at least 48 hours before the flight. Travel agents may waive this
responsibility if they book a package holiday with a tour operator. However,
if they book a flight-only or dynamic package, they must fulfil the
requirement.

Speaking at a Travel and Tourism Lawyers Association seminar, 1 Chancery
Lane lawyer Jack Harding said: "This is a complete change of the legal
landscape. Tour operators and travel agents will have to examine what
they're doing very carefully.


"It will no longer be appropriate to take a passive stance and wait for the disabled passenger to inform the operator of his special requests."

If agents fail to provide information, they are potentially guilty of a
criminal offence and could face a fine of up to £5,000.

Greece and Cyprus Travel Centre director Anna Mavroulakis said she was
unaware of the new regulation. "If the client tells us they're disabled we
will make a request on Galileo or advise the tour operator. The new law
should not make too much difference to us but it's something agents should
definitely read up on."

Meanwhile, the first part of the new laws, which came into force in July
this year, prohibits agents, tour operators and airlines from refusing a
booking because of a disability.
The only exception to this is on the
grounds of health and safety requirements or if it is physically impossible.


ABTA legal advisor Paula Macfarlane said: "These laws could have a big
impact on agents." At the moment, ABTA provides a checklist for agents
booking disabled passengers but no legislation governs the process.

Make travel websites usable to all

Travel agents and tour operators must ensure their websites are suitable for
the visually impaired.

Partner at legal firm Wragge and Co David Lowe warned agents that websites
had the potential to be discriminatory.

About 81% of websites do not meet the requirements of Disability
Discrimination Act's lowest accessibility standard and levels of adjustments
required by law could be more significant than anticipated, said Lowe.

"Damages are available for injury to feeling and economic loss if website
owners fail to make reasonable adjustments to their websites. It's
worthwhile, as disabled adults in the UK have spending power of £80
billion," said Lowe.

Companies are at more risk if people can only book online or receive a
special online discount
, he added.

Source:

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2007/12/06/26101/travel-agencies-warn
ed-over-needs-of-disabled-travellers.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:49 PM

Collusion: Airlines Warned Not to Bar Disabled

Steve Creedy, Aviation writer for the Australian reports [Editor's note, Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes access to transportation as a right. And Graeme Innes rocks!]:


LOW-COST carriers have been warned not to attempt to cut costs by discriminating against the disabled after two airlines recently sought exemptions from laws designed to grant handicapped travellers equal access to transport.

Singapore-backed Tiger Airways has applied to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for an exemption to the Disability Act so it can temporarily refuse to carry some passengers with limited mobility.

It says it needs to do this because it does not have the equipment to get wheelchair-bound [sic] people safely on to its Airbus A320 jets.

Disability groups are also fighting a move by Australia's biggest independent regional carrier, Regional Express (Rex), to introduce restrictions they say will make flying harder for disabled people in the bush.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is pursuing court action against Virgin Blue to head off moves to require some people with disabilities to buy a second ticket for a carer if they want to travel.


"It's fine for low-cost or budget airlines to reduce services," human rights commissioner Graeme Innes said yesterday. "But not carrying passengers with disabilities can't be part of those reductions and to do so is against the law.

"As commissioner, I intend to ensure wherever I can that airlines meet their obligations to all passengers, not just passengers without disabilities."


Tiger is offering affected passengers a full refund and says the problem stems from the inability of its third-party ground handler to obtain special hydraulic devices capable of lifting wheelchairs on to planes. It did not expect the lifters to be available at all destinations until the end of February.

Tiger's application comes as a report, due to be released this week by the PIAC, says an analysis of the experiences of 110 airline passengers demonstrates a systemic failure of legislation introduced in 2002 to set standards for disabled access to public transport.

The report finds recent development and application of airline policy, and changes to baggage handling, have made disabled access more difficult, particularly for people with motorised or bigger wheelchairs.

"Some passengers who travelled independently for many years now find themselves barred from travel or facing the imposition of unreasonable conditions," it says.


Source:

The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22903033-23349,00.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:39 AM

December 03, 2007

ENAT Moves Europe to Positive Action on Inclusive Tourism!

Following hot on the heels of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT)
conference, the European Parliament is registering some action on behalf of travelers with disabilities. Note in particular the emergence of an EC "Tourism for All" label at the same time we are writing the ASEAN standards in Thailand following ICAT 2007.

I was unaware how quickly the Inclusive Tourism scene would mature s I closed my presentation at UNESCAP last week with the following:

The next two years will be a surprise to those in the industry who have not yet prepared their profit-based approach to disability. Some will be asking you to help. You have an opportunity to contribute and to shape the travel industry. That may be with the rights-based emphasis through government, education, or policy. It may on the profit-based side through invention, construction, marketing, or business creation.

Whatever opportunity you choose, take your pride - and your money - on the road. Travel. Teach the industry and level the path for the ones who come after you!


For immediate release:

European Parliament Puts Accessible Tourism on EU Agenda

On 29 November 2007, European Members of Parliament passed a resolution on
a renewed EU Tourism Policy: "Towards a stronger partnership for European
Tourism", calling for Member States to make a united effort to support
Accessible Tourism.

MEPs gave their backing to Italian MEP Paola Costa, who provided a
wide-ranging report on the challenges faced by the European Tourism
sector, and a set of 22 concrete proposals for renewed action.

The keyword which runs throughout the report is "partnership" - for only
by working together, says Paolo Costa, can EU Member States tackle the
fragmented policies and practices which currently frustrate efforts in
the tourism sector.

Accessible Tourism

Actions for the future of accessible tourism in Europe are called for in
six specific paragraphs, declaring that the European Parliament:

"...Welcomes initiatives to coordinate at European level the information
on accessible tourism that would allow tourists with reduced mobility and
their families to find information about the accessibility of tourist
destinations; calls on all Member States, tourism providers and national
and local tourist organisations to join and/or to support this kind of
initiative;

- At the same time, calls on the Commission and the Member States to
consider the feasibility of drawing up a charter of the rights and
obligations of European tourists, in view of the riotous and violent
incidents caused by European tourists in European tourist destinations ,
and also a European code of conduct for tourist businesses;

- Calls on the Commission and the Member States to initialise an "Access
for all " EC label that would guarantee core accessibility facilities for
tourists with reduced mobility and would cover offers such as
accommodation, restaurants, leisure and natural sites, auditoriums,
monuments, museums, etc.;

- Stresses, furthermore, the need to protect, conserve and restore the
European cultural heritage; and calls for more stringent management of
such sites and of the conditions under which they are visited, and for
greater efforts to improve access for people with disabilities, growing
numbers of whom now travel for leisure purposes;

- Calls on the Commission to draft a Communication with an action plan on
the enhancement of such a label based on the work it has already carried
out , on experiences and best practices at national and local level and
taking stock of what has been achieved at EU level in the transport field;

- Notes that the accessibility of tourist destinations is a matter that
also has to do with the transport services provided or available; calls,
therefore, on the Commission, for the purposes of the new European tourism
policy and of developing European transport policy, to take due account of
the accessibility handicap affecting regions with specific natural or
geographical characteristics, such as the outermost regions, island and
mountain regions, and the sparsely populated northernmost regions..."

Moreover, the Parliamentary Report presents no less than twenty-two
suggestions for actions by the Members States, Regional and Local
authorities, including the need to:

"... protect, preserve and restore European cultural heritage assets and
[calls for] more rigorous management of cultural sites and their visiting
arrangements, as well as for greater efforts to improve access for
disabled people, an increasing number of whom are travelling for tourist
purposes..."

Responding to the Tourism Report on the European Day of People with
Disabilities, ENAT Coordinator Ivor Ambrose stated: "We welcome this firm
and forward-looking resolution by the Members of the European Parliament,
as it gives a timely and much-needed message for public authorities and
the tourism industry.

"All parties must work together across national and regional borders to
make accessible tourism a reality, both for European consumers and
international visitors. ENAT's members are ready to play their part in
fulfilling the ambitions that are contained in this resolution."


--

Ivor Ambrose, Coordinator
European Network for Accessible Tourism
c/o EWORX S.A.,
Rodou St., 22
GR-15122 Marousi, Athens
Greece.
Tel. 0030 210 614 8380
Fax. 0030 210 614 8381
E-mail: enat@accessibletourism.org
Web: http://www.accessibletourism.org
SKYPE name: ambroiv

ENAT: The European Network for Accessible Tourism is
a voluntary association of organisations and individuals
from the private, public and NGO sectors. Our mission is
to make European tourism destinations, products and
services accessible to all visitors.
>From December 2007 ENAT will be established as an
international NGO with its head office in Brussels.


Posted by rollingrains at 01:48 PM

A ratificação da Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência (Portuguese)

CARTA ABERTA AO CONGRESSO NACIONAL EM DEFESA DA IMPORTÂNCIA DA RATIFICAÇÃO PELO BRASIL DA CONVENÇÃO SOBRE OS DIREITOS DAS PESSOAS COM DEFICIÊNCIA DA ONU E SEU PROTOCOLO FACULTATIVO
COM QUÓRUM QUALIFICADO


No Dia Internacional das Pessoas com Deficiência, o Conselho Nacional dos Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência (CONADE), 22 Conselhos Estaduais e 84 Conselhos Municipais representantes de todas as regiões do País, reunidos na Capital Federal no 3o. Encontro Nacional de Conselhos de Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência de 30 de novembro de 2007 a 03 de dezembro de 2007, aprovaram em Plenária, por unanimidade, a presente correspondência aos Senhores Parlamentares reiterando manifestações anteriores que vem sendo feitas pelo CONADE no mesmo sentido.


PRESIDÊNCIA DA REPÚBLICA
SECRETARIA ESPECIAL DOS DIREITOS HUMANOS
CONSELHO NACIONAL DOS DIREITOS DA PESSOA PORTADORA DE DEFICIÊNCIA
Esplanada dos Ministérios Bloco T, Anexo II do Ministério da Justiça, sala 211
Brasília – DF CEP 70.064-900 Telefone: (61) 3429-9219 / 3429-3673 / Fax: (61) 3429-9967
E-mail: conade@sedh.gov.br Página na internet: www.presidencia.gov.br/sedh/conade


CARTA ABERTA AO CONGRESSO NACIONAL EM DEFESA DA IMPORTÂNCIA DA RATIFICAÇÃO PELO BRASIL DA CONVENÇÃO SOBRE OS DIREITOS DAS PESSOAS COM DEFICIÊNCIA DA ONU E SEU PROTOCOLO FACULTATIVO
COM QUÓRUM QUALIFICADO

No Dia Internacional das Pessoas com Deficiência, o Conselho Nacional dos Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência (CONADE), 22 Conselhos Estaduais e 84 Conselhos Municipais representantes de todas as regiões do País, reunidos na Capital Federal no 3o. Encontro Nacional de Conselhos de Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência de 30 de novembro de 2007 a 03 de dezembro de 2007, aprovaram em Plenária, por unanimidade, a presente correspondência aos Senhores Parlamentares reiterando manifestações anteriores que vem sendo feitas pelo CONADE no mesmo sentido.

Trata-se de pleito sobre a ratificação da Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo, que em perfeita harmonia com o que estabelece a Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil, encontram-se na Câmara dos Deputados desde 02 de outubro de 2007, apresentados pelo Poder Executivo pela mensagem MSC 711/2007, assinada pelo Sr. Presidente da República no dia 26 de setembro de 2007 durante a solenidade de lançamento do Programa Direitos de Cidadania das Pessoas com Deficiência.

No dia 23 de novembro de 2007, por ato do presidente da Câmara dos Deputados Sr. Deputado Federal Arlindo Chignaglia, foi criada Comissão Especial, nos termos do art.34, II, do Regimento Interno da Casa Legislativa, para apreciar e proferir parecer à Mensagem nº 711, de 2007, do Poder Executivo, que "submete à consideração do Congresso Nacional o texto da Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e de seu Protocolo Facultativo, assinados em Nova York, em 30 de março de 2007". Referida Comissão será composta de 17 (dezessete) membros titulares e de igual número de suplentes, mais um titular e um suplente, atendendo ao rodízio entre as bancadas não contempladas, designados de acordo com os §§ 1º e 2º do art. 33 do Regimento Interno.

Como resultado do consenso e reconhecimento da importância desta Convenção e seu Protocolo Facultativo como ferramenta jurídica de proteção e promoção dos direitos humanos das pessoas com deficiência em nível constitucional, o Colégio de Líderes da Câmara dos Deputados se comprometeu a orientar suas bancadas a votarem com quorum qualificado e, no dia 27 de novembro de 2007, requereu, nos termos do art. 155 do Regimento Interno, regime de urgência na apreciação.

Para entrar em vigor no âmbito internacional, é preciso que 20 países ratifiquem e depositem respectivo instrumento na ONU. A Assembléia Geral das Nações Unidas que adotou a Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo completa 1 (um) ano em 13 de dezembro de 2007, tendo já 11 países ratificado seu texto até a presente data. O Estado Brasileiro, em 30 de março de 2007, se comprometeu internacionalmente com o processo de ratificação, o qual ora requeremos. Tendo sido liderança relevante no processo, seria importante que o Brasil ratificasse entre os 20 primeiros, contribuindo para a vigência do tratado de direitos humanos no plano internacional e nacional.

Com intensa participação brasileira, ressaltamos que a Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo são resultado da mobilização e do consenso de organizações da sociedade civil “de” e “para” as pessoas com deficiência, ativistas de direitos humanos, agências internacionais, bem como de todos os Estados – Partes presentes na elaboração dos textos. No Brasil, sua aprovação com status constitucional é unânime.

No mundo inteiro, o que inclue o Brasil, as pessoas com deficiência continuam a enfrentar violações de seus direitos humanos e barreiras contra a sua participação como membros iguais da sociedade. A Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo têm o objetivo de promover, proteger e assegurar o desfrute pleno e eqüitativo de todos os direitos humanos e liberdades fundamentais por parte das pessoas com deficiência.

Para mudar essa situação de violações e aderir aos parâmetros internacionais definidos na Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo como parte de nosso ordenamento jurídico, a ratificação pelo Estado Brasileiro deve ser aprovada pelo Congresso Nacional, nos termos da EC 45/04.

O CONSELHO NACIONAL DOS DIREITOS DA PESSOA COM DEFICIÊNCIA e demais Conselhos Estaduais e Municipais presentes a este Encontro, CONCLAMAM a todos(as) os(as) Senhores(as) Deputados(as) e Senadores(as) que:

• Constituam de fato, no menor prazo possível, a Comissão Especial designada de direito para apreciar a MSC 711/07;

• A Comissão Especial possa apreciar e submeter à votação, em regime de urgência, a Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo; e

• Os Deputados e Senadores possam exercer seu papel de representantes da vontade popular promovendo uma ratificação consciente, com a aprovação em cada Casa do Congresso Nacional, em dois turnos, por três quintos dos votos dos respectivos membros.

No ensejo, para publicizar o compromisso com o processo, solicitamos que os Srs. Parlamentares apoiem a Campanha Assino Inclusão, constituída por uma coalizão de pessoas com deficiência, sociedade civil em geral, organizações não-governamentais, autoridades públicas e acadêmicos, para mobilizar a ratificação da Convenção sobre os Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência e seu Protocolo Facultativo, com quorum qualificado, se inscrevendo no endereço eletrônico www.assinoinclusao.org.br.

Certos de que todas as pessoas com deficiência do Brasil poderão contar com o apoio e o compromisso dos senhores parlamentares para esta ratificação, desde já nos colocamos à disposição de Vs. Exas. para eventuais esclarecimentos.

Brasília/DF, 03 de dezembro de 2007.


Conselho Nacional, Conselhos Estaduais e Conselhos Municipais dos Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência representantes de todas as regiões do País, presentes no 3o. Encontro Nacional de Conselhos de Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência

Posted by rollingrains at 01:41 AM

December 01, 2007

The 2005 Thai Regulation on Accessibility

For those researching accessibility legislation in Asia the 2005 law on accessibility is available here as a .pdf (Thai).

Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 12:51 AM

November 30, 2007

Spain & Inclusive Tourism: Ara Lleida

Ara Lleida accesible

Ara Lleida presents Inclusive Tourism in the typical European fashion as a "social benefit that ought to be available to all." This "rights-based" orientation may be somewhat foreign to those in the United States. It should not be. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) affirms transportation accessibility as a right. Tourism is a specific case of that right to transportation access. In fact, in Asia, the UNESCAP Biwako Plus Five document explicitly calls for promotion of Inclusive Tourism as goal of regional development policy.

Take a look t Ara Lleida's approach to inclusion on the Iberian Peninsula available here in Spanish


Posted by rollingrains at 01:07 AM

November 24, 2007

Sidewalks & the ADA

Tuesday, November 27, The Universityhouse Channel will show Episode
138 of "Perils For Pedestrians" -- "The ADA and Sidewalks".

Contents of Episode 138 (2007):
--The Coordinator of Research at the US Access Board explains how the
Americans With Disabilities Act applies to sidewalks.
--A lawyer in Barden v. Sacramento discusses the lawsuit, which
determined that sidewalks are a government program covered by the ADA.
--A plaintiff in Barden v. Sacramento describes the negotiations that
led to the settlement.

DISH Network Channel 9411 -- The Universityhouse Channel
Tuesday -- 9:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 Pacific

Episode 138 is also available on Google Video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6783218059010695745

Posted by rollingrains at 02:16 AM

November 23, 2007

Jerry Romansky's Advice

TH Online writer Jerry Romansky advises a reader on a gray area of air travel -- accommodating people of large stature. The suggestion, standardizing practices, anticipates the trend we will see as the industry registers the combined impact from initiatives like the UN Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities (the rights-based approach to disability) and the market potential and studies on travel behavior of PwD (the profit-based approach to disability):

If requested, the airline on which you traveled that day is willing to sell an overweight passenger two seats and refund the price of the second seat should the flight depart with any empty seats.

In any case, a protocol should be established.

Airline personnel should be trained to diplomatically offer two seats when a passenger exceeds the space between armrests. In such instances, I would like to see airlines offer two seats for the price of one whether or not the flight is full. It would be similar to other concessions that include special meals and accommodations for people with disabilities.

By the way, the article references some useful publications for travelers.

Source:

http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=179788

Posted by rollingrains at 01:06 AM

November 15, 2007

Braille Bank Receipts and that "Slippery Slope" Toward Social Inclusion

If you are sighted have you ever thought about how you would tell the difference between a one dollar bill and a five if you were blind? How about a one and a ten, a twenty, or a one hundred dollar bill?

Come come think of it, how would you know if the printed receipt you received after a bank deposit was accurate? Brazil's Bradseco has introduced the country's first system for producing Braille or large print receipts. Most foreign visitors too the country are not likely to be there long enough to open their own bank account but such major steps in social inclusion for citizens inevitably transform a country into a more hospitable and desireable destination for all.

Parabems Brasil! Congratulations Brazil!

Bradesco lança extrato em Braille

Numa iniciativa inédita no mercado brasileiro, o Bradesco lançou o primeiro extrato bancário impresso em Braille para facilitar a leitura pelos próprios correntistas e pessoas com deficiência visual. A medida, que entrará em operação a partir de novembro, visa a aprimorar ainda mais a qualidade do atendimento e a política de responsabilidade socioambiental da Organização. Com isso, o Banco pretende atender melhor ao grupo de clientes com deficiência visual total ou parcial, proporcionando acessibilidade, privacidade e segurança na consulta de sua movimentação financeira.

O demonstrativo consolidado, espécie de extrato que contempla informações de Conta Corrente e de outros produtos, além da versão em Braille, poderá ser impresso no formato ampliado. Neste caso, terá fontes (letras e números) maiores para facilitar a leitura dos que apresentam deficiência visual parcial. Os demonstrativos já estão prontos e começam a ser enviados, gratuitamente, a partir do próximo mês, acompanhados da versão normal, que será mantida por motivos legais, sem nenhum custo adicional ao cliente.

A iniciativa do Bradesco será divulgada por emissoras de rádio das principais capitais do País, além da Internet. O objetivo é prestar a melhor orientação a quem necessita e tem interesse em receber os novos extratos. Para ter acesso aos demonstrativos adaptados, o cliente deve procurar a agência ou ligar para o Fone Fácil.

O Sistema Braille

Em 1829, o jovem francês Luis Braille, nascido em Coupvray, com apenas 15 anos e cego desde os três, criou o chamado Sistema Braille, composto por seis pontos agrupados em duas fileiras de três pontos cada - a cela Braille. A combinação desses seis pontos permite que se formem 63 caracteres que simbolizam as letras do alfabeto convencional e suas variações como acentos, pontuação, números, símbolos matemáticos e químicos e as notas musicais. Atualmente, esse sistema de leitura por tato é amplamente utilizado na educação de cegos, aumentando as chances de conseguirem um emprego, serem incluídos socialmente e se tornarem cidadãos independentes.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:01 AM

November 01, 2007

Picking on the Wrong Passenger: AirAsia Gambles on Discrimination

AirAsia is not happy with Peter Tan.

Peter has a healthy sense of self-worth, a well-informed sense of social justice, and a widely read blog -- Digital Awakening. When he names his treatment by AirAsia as "discriminatory" he does not choose his words lightly.

Airasia


Aside from the moral and legal issues involved in denying equal levels of service to passengers based on race or ability the tactic creates a public relations nightmare. Articulate and connected advocates like Peter are chided by their industry contacts for being precipitous, "We could have worked this out privately" is the line of argument-cum-shaming. That approach is ignorant of the ethos of advocacy that operates within a community when it becomes aware that it is tolerated as "special" rather than sought after as lucrative.

Peter was compelled to sign a waiver of liability as he reports in "AirAsia Still Practices Discrimination Against Disabled People." See the notation next to the signature block on he form below, "Under Protest."

Risk analysis can be used to justify innumerable utilitarian reasons for businesses to take morally questionable actions but it is fiction, not cold facts, that is more illuminating in this case. Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walked Away From Omelas" weaves the tale of a utopian society -- whose existence relies on the silent abuse of a single individual. Airline strategies that single out a class of customer and then attempt to co-opt those who resist will backfire.

For example, AirAsia is attempting to extend its route to Coventry, UK. However disability advocates there, having learned of their practices, and have alerted officials to review the company's practices in light of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

It is simply better business to adopt Universal Design in airplane and airport design and extend the philosophy to business practices and policy. At the line level, management needs to read and apply the research done by Darcy & Daruwalla on discrimination in the travel industry. Download file

The December 2007 My Spin column in New Mobility magazine will begin with this premise. Peter Tan embodies the message:

When we travel we represent more than ourselves because we are part of a community. As a person with a disability you carry two items of unusual value -- especially in combination. Both tend to surprise those you meet as you travel. The two items are money and pride. By money I don’t just mean the change in your pocket. By pride I mean the self-determination of knowing who you are beyond economic measures of worth.

airasia-indemnity-form.jpg

Further Reading:

Air Asia
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/main.jhtml?xml=/travel/2007/01/06/etairasia06.xml

Travelers with Disabilities: Responding to a Business Opportunity
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001848.html

The Global Reach of Accessible Tourism: IATC 2005 Keynote Address

US FAA Guidelines on transporting passengers with non-stable medical conditions (not appropriate for people with disabilities)
http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/designees_delegations/designee_types/ame/media/Section%20II.7.2%20Transportation%20of%20Patients%20of%20Air%20Ambulance.doc

Posted by rollingrains at 03:02 PM

October 29, 2007

Lives in Motion at the Glasgow Museums

Recent posts on museums and access to culture in Spanish, English, and Portuguese focused on the accessibility of culture. This exhibit, "Lives in Moton" by John Ferry, Senior Education & Access Curator for the Glasgow Museums, highlights the culture of accessibility through transport.

The theme holds great possibilities for public education on Inclusive Tourism.

Lives in Motion

Start Date : Friday 19 October 2007

End Date : Friday 29 February 2008

Have you ever stopped to think about the role transport plays in your life? For disabled people it can be both a help and a hindrance.

This exhibition explores objects from Glasgow Museums' transport collections and tells the stories of how they affected people's lives.

Objects on display include 'Wee Bluey', an 'invalid' car. The car's owner used to sit in it on the pitch at Hampden to watch football matches.

The exhibition is part of a nationwide initiative co-ordinated by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries , University of Leicester.

Along with Glasgow Museums, eight other museums are looking at issues of disability through their collections.

Introduction to Lives in Motion
The introduction to Lives in Motion is available in a number of formats, including BSL, by following the link under Related Information here.

Our Journey
Peggy Boyle and Jackie Shields from the Three Eyes Project went on a journey by public transport to see how accessible it is for someone who uses a wheelchair. Find out how they got on by following this Our Journey link.


Podcasts

You can download two podcasts by journalist Ian Hamilton by following this link. Ian is blind, and he tells us some of his experiences of using public transport, bringing out the humorous as well as the serious aspects of his experiences.


More information about Lives in Motion
For more information about the project, please phone the Education & Access team on 0141 287 2651.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:55 PM

October 27, 2007

IAUD & the International Universal Design Declaration in Japan 2002

The International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) began in 2003. It drew inspiration from, and further extended, the "International Universal Design Declaration in Japan 2002."

In the prospectus, the conventional concept of UD is further expanded to the creation of a sustainable society in recognition of differences in culture and habit.

The expanded concept also suggests global environmental conservation and the way to sustainable design and trans-generational design.

IAUD seeks to contribute to the healthy development of society and improvement of the welfare of all humans beings.

More:
http://www.designtaxi.com/news.jsp?id=2973&monthview=1&month=6&year=2005

International Universal Design Declaration in Japan 2002
December 4, 2002


We, the participants of the UD2002 Conference, gathered here in Yokohama, and discussed focusing on the topic with the main theme "For all, for everybody".

As our society has developed and become more complicated, we have tended to presume a uniform whole rather than recognizing the diversity of individuals. We propose to redefine the relationships between the designers/producers and users, thus giving priority to the diversity of individuals and cultures.

Design should create the social environments that respect and support the dignity of humans, which we propose to call Universal Design.

To realize this, it is urgent to establish user-centered system to be applicable to all aspect of society including infrastructures and legal systems.

We do not assume Universal Design to be a panacea. However, we think it possible going step by step toward the goal. In doing this, it is vital for the users to be part of the process, and the society to earnestly respond to them.

We would like to seek true globalization that respects difference in cultures.
The philosophy of Universal Design should be a foundation to respect limited natural resources and sustainable society.

We go forward.

We would like to continue our efforts toward building a society that will respect the natural variations among individuals, and the changes that we experience as we grow older, and give the highest priority to inclusion, participation, and independence for all.

We the participants from all over the world to the world to the UD2002 Conference share this ideal as a result of this conference and declare that we devote ourselves to progress forward to this goal.

Posted by rollingrains at 02:43 PM

October 25, 2007

Friends in the Sky: Good Work United Airlines!

United Airlinesf

While discount airlines continue their efforts to balance their books on the backs of passengers, Carl Kole from United Airlines has done important work on behalf of passengers with disabilities.

Following a change in CFR power wheelchairs and scooters that have gel batteries and are secured on the device will no longer have to be disconnected. Work is underway to standardize it internationally with both IATA (International AirlineTransport. Assoc) and US DOT.

The text of the regulation: Download file


Posted by rollingrains at 01:56 PM

Indian Airlines Inch Toward Inclusion

seal of India

Here is the latest version of the Indian Civil Aviation Requirements on Carriage by air of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Finalization is scheduled to take place on October 29, 2007. Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 11:20 AM

Unfriendly Skies? Application for Temporary Exemption: Regional Express

rex airlines

The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has received an application (attached in MS Word format) from Regional express airlines (Rex) requesting exemption from sections 23 and 24 of the Disability Discrimination Act so far as to permit Rex placing certain restrictions and requirements on the carriage of passengers with specific disabilities on its SAAB aircraft.

Would an aircraft design process that had acknowledged that the 4 million Australians with disabilities are potential passengers not have been a more elegant and sustainable solution? Transferring onto travelers with disabilities the consequences of Rex's choice to purchase what they now claim are inappropriate vehicles seems more like sleight of hand than justice.

Rex argue that these restrictions are justified having regard to

* Aircraft operational and performance limitations
* OH&S concerns for the crew.
* Equipment being operating around the aircraft.
* The dignity and comfort of disabled passengers .

Rex indicate willingness to report on measures during the exemption to reduce the level of restriction required.
Restrictions proposed by Rex

* If a passenger using a wheelchair cannot assist him/herself to move between their own wheelchair and the Rex aisle chair and between the aisle wheel chair and the aircraft seat, a Passenger Facilitator (provided by the passenger) is required to attend both the departure and destination airport to assist with moving the wheelchair passenger between their wheelchair and the aisle chair and between aisle wheelchair and the aircraft seat. This facilitator is not required to travel with the passenger and there is no additional financial burden on the passenger.
* If the passenger is unable to understand and follow safety directions (written or verbal), is unable to don a life vest, requires the application of medication in flight, or requires assistance to the toilet or to eat, a companion is required to travel with the passenger. If the passenger's only restriction is the inability to eat or drink unaided, a companion is not required if the passenger elects to forgo catering during booking.
* To help with the cost of this requirement Rex will provide the lowest fare applicable to the flight, regardless of availability of that fare, for the companion.
* Passengers using wheelchairs must check-in no later than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time at regional airports and 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time at capital city airports to allow sufficient time to prepare the wheel chair for carriage and to board the passenger without unduly delaying the flight.
* Passengers with electric wheelchairs must either disable their own electric chair or supervise Rex staff in disabling and re-activating the electric wheelchair after transfer to the aisle chair.
* All flight bookings must be made with the Rex Customer Contact Centre to ensure that all special requirements are notified to the airline. The weight of the chair will have to be notified to Rex during booking. No extra charge is applicable to this service. Bookings for disabled persons cannot be made on the Rex website.
* Wheelchairs must not weigh more than 64Kg, except that with prior approval, wheelchairs in excess of 64 kg but not exceeding 140 kg may be carried at ports where specialist lifting equipment is provided.
* Passengers using wheelchairs will be required to book at least two days in advance of the flight to enable Rex to make all the necessary preparations.
* Rex will limit the number of wheelchair bound passengers to 2 per flight and will carry only one chair weighing in excess of 64 Kg per flight.
* If approval is obtained to carry chairs in excess of 64 Kg an excess baggage fee will apply.
* A limit of one chair per disabled passenger will be carried free of charge. Additional chairs will be charged at the normal excess baggage rates with the normal excess baggage restrictions.
* Passengers who are unable to understand instructions from the Flight Crew or Flight Attendant in an emergency due to intellectual disability are required to travel with a companion
*

Rex will not carry a passenger with a prescribed contagious disease unless a notification is provided from a doctor stating that the person is fit to fly and poses no danger of infecting the crew or other passengers in the aircraft.

Request for submissions

In accordance with its policy on exemption applications, the Commission seeks to give interested parties an opportunity to participate in the process of considering this application.

Accordingly, the Commission seeks submissions by 5 December 2007, preferably by email to disabdis@humanrights.gov.au .

Submissions may also be addressed by mail to Disability Rights Unit, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, GPO Box 5218, Sydney 2001.

To promote open public discussion and exchange of views, the Commission intends to posting submissions made electronically on its Internet site. Any requests for material to be treated as confidential should be clearly indicated.

David Mason
Director Disability Rights policy, HREOC
23 October 2007

For further reading on lack of airline access see Katja's post at Broken Clay, " Airline’s refusal to let disabled passenger board ‘not discrimination,’ court rules"

Posted by rollingrains at 02:41 AM

October 24, 2007

US Access Board Creates the Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee

The Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee has been formed by the US Access Board. It examines vessel emergency alarm systems and notification procedures in relation to the needs of passengers who are deaf or heard of hearing.

The committee’s recommendations will advance the Board’s development of new guidelines for passenger vessels which are to include criteria for emergency alarm systems. The committee’s membership includes representatives from disability organizations, the vessel and cruise ship industry and trade groups, and the National Fire Protection Association, among others.

Meeting on September 19 and 20 in Washington, D.C., the committee reviewed and finalized its operating protocols and received briefings from the Board delineating issues of inquiry. Members representing industry made presentations on current practices for notifying passengers of emergencies aboard various types of vessels, including cruise ships, ferries, excursion vessels, and gaming boats. Members representing advocacy organizations briefed members on the varied population of people with hearing impairments and common methods and technologies for providing communication access.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for November 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C. For further information, contact Paul Beatty at pvag@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0012 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY). Additional information is available on the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov/pvaac/alarms/.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:11 PM

October 23, 2007

The Theology of the Epithet

Now, before I am accused of cultural bigotry for sharing this bit of political theater commented on by Peter Tan in Malaysia let me remind readers that Jerry Lewis raises millions of dollars in the United States each year preaching from an equally handicapped theological script. Apparently Malaysian Member of Parliament Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin (BN-Jerai) thinks he has the inside track to the Divine when it comes to disability. In an angry courtroom outburst at an opponent he shouted, "Now you are sitting in a wheel chair. God has punished you."

For the story:
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Tuesday/National/2066250/Article/index_html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:47 AM

October 14, 2007

You Go, Anahí!

Brazil has a national movement for social inclusion that spans disabilities and emphasizes participation in culture. Thanks to Anahí for sharing this campaign video promoting captioning. (Video in Portuguese and Brazilian Sign Language, "Libras" (Língua Brasileira de Sinais).

Posted by rollingrains at 08:19 PM

October 10, 2007

Gary Robb on Outdoor Accessibility

Gary Robb is Director of the National Center Accessibility at Indiana University. Those who work on trail accessibility or want to view the proposed US regulations on outdoor accessibility through the eyes of an expert may appreciate this transcript of his testimony: http://www.access-board.gov/outdoor/nprm/comments/robb-co.htm

You can find numerous helpful resources. There is even an opportunity to sign up as a volunteer.

Posted by rollingrains at 03:04 AM

October 08, 2007

The World Health Organization's New Definition of Disability

Every so often it is good to review the basics -- especially when they keep changing on you!

Below is a good introduction to the changing definition of the concept of disability. This is an especially good read for those in the US who feel they are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are some better adapted definitions ut there than the one codified in ADA.

World Health Organization's New Definition of Disability

The way disability is defined and understood has also changed in the last decade. Disability was once assumed as a way to characterize a particular set of largely stable limitations. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has moved toward a new international classification system, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF 2001). It emphasizes functional status over diagnoses. The new system is not just about people with traditionally acknowledged disabilities diagnostically categorized but about all people. For the first time, the ICF also calls for the elimination of distinctions, explicitly or implicitly, between health conditions that are 'mental' or 'physical.'

The new ICF focuses on analyzing the relationship between capacity and performance. If capacity is greater than performance then that gap should be addressed through both removing barriers and identifying facilitators. The new WHO ICF specifically references Universal Design as a central concept that can serve to identify facilitators that can benefit all people.

The WHO defines disability as a contextual variable, dynamic over time and in relation to circumstances. One is more or less disabled based on the interaction between the person and the individual, institutional and social environments. The ICF also acknowledges that the prevalence of disability corresponds to social and economic status. The 2001 ICF provides a platform that supports Universal Design as an international priority for reducing the experience of disability and enhancing everyone's experience and performance.

Source:

Adaptive Environments:
http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?option=Content&Itemid=3

Posted by rollingrains at 10:21 PM

October 04, 2007

The Davos Declaration

Travel logo

Universal Design has been recognized as a green building strategy because it creates lifespan appropriate construction that does not produce the waste or materials and energy consumption of retrofitting. Universal Design has been recognized as central to sustainable development in the Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development. It figures fundamentally in the World Bank's Global Partnership for Disability & Development (GPDD) of In addition;

Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind.

Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

(Source: Adaptive Environments )

Now the conergence has been made stronger as the UNWTO releases the Davos Declaration emphasizing tourism's obligation to protect the environment in the face of climate change:

"UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said that “We know that the solutions for climate change and for poverty are interrelated...."

(ForImmediateRelease.Net) CLIMATE CHANGE AND TOURISM RESPONDING TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES.
The 2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism “urges action by the entire tourism sector to face climate change as one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development, and to the Millennium Development Goals in the 21st Century." The Davos Declaration presented at the closing of the three-day Conference underscores that “the tourism sector must rapidly respond to climate change, within the evolving UN framework if it is to grow in a sustainable manner".

The Conference was organized by UNWTO together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government.

UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said that “We know that the solutions for climate change and for poverty are interrelated. Here at Davos, the tourism sector committed itself to take a long-term strategic position on these issues, starting now, and to do this as a contribution to the UN Secretary-General's global roadmap for the Climate Change Conference in Bali, at the end of this year. We leave Davos more optimistic about our future on the common agreement to build upon quadruple bottom line sustainability of economic, social, environmental and climate responsiveness."

This will require action for the tourism sector to:

- mitigate its Greenhouse Gas GHG emissions, derived especially from transport and accommodation activities;
- adapt tourism businesses and destinations to changing climate conditions;
- apply existing and new technology to improve energy efficiency; and
- secure financial resources to help poor regions and countries.

Stefanos Fotiou, head of UNEP's Tourism Unit, stressed how the Conference proved “that the tourism industry is challenged by climate change and at the same time is not an insignificant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The Conference has also demonstrated that, through a more intelligent and better managed development trajectory, tourism can assist in combating poverty in developing countries, in reducing its own carbon footprint and make a contribution to the conservation of natural and nature-based resources. In short, tourism has a potentially very important and positive role to play in the key sustainability challenges of our age."

The Davos Conference called on UNWTO, in collaboration with UNEP and WMO, to strengthen this process, and to convene a Third Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, at an appropriate time in the future, to review progress, to maintain response levels and to identify further needs and actions.

Jeremiah Lengoasa, Assistant Secretary-General of WMO said that “While climate is, in fact, a valuable and essential resource for tourism, there can be no complacency with respect to the power of climate hazards and climate change to affect the infrastructure, the people, the financial networks and the ecosystems that are vital to the success of tourism at all levels. WMO urges governments and the industry to strengthen climate-tourism partnerships and effectively use climate information and prediction services provided by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and to incorporate climate factors in tourism policies, development and management plans, so as to ensure a sustainable future for the sector".

The Davos Declaration and results of the Conference will provide the basis for the UNWTO Minister's Summit on Tourism and Climate Change, scheduled at the World Travel Market, London, UK, 13 November 2007. It will be submitted for adoption at the UNWTO General Assembly in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, 23-29 November 2007, and also will be presented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007.

For further information please contact:
Geoffrey Lipman, UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General, Spokesperson
Marcelo Risi, Media Officer
T: +34 91-567-8194 / +34 91-567-8100 / F: +34 91-567-8218
comm@unwto.org - www.unwto.org

Posted by rollingrains at 01:41 AM

India Ratifies UN Convention on Rights of Disabled

The Uniteed Nations reports that India has ratified the UN convention on rights of disabled.

India has ratified a UN convention to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those with disabilities as also respect for their inherent dignity.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday deposited with the UN the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec 13 last year.

The adoption of the convention "to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity" followed four years of intense negotiations.

The convention marks a major step toward changing the perception of disability and ensures that societies recognise that all people must be provided with the opportunities to lead a life to their fullest potential, the permanent mission of India to the UN said in a press release.

India is committed to the elimination of barriers that persons with disabilities face and the Constitution of India implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all, including those with disabilities, it added


Souce: http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/World/20071002/781790.html
Source: http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2007/oct/01/india_ratifies_un_convention_rights_disabled.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:37 AM

October 03, 2007

Released: Global Age-friendly Cities - A Guide

Age-Friendly Guide

The WHO book on active aging for has now been released. It is available from WHO Press here.

Population ageing and urbanization are two global trends that together comprise major forces shaping the 21st century. At the same time as cities are growing, their share of residents aged 60 years and more is increasing. Older people are a resource for their families, communities and economies in supportive and enabling living environments. WHO regards active ageing as a lifelong process shaped by several factors that, alone and acting together, favour health, participation and security in older adult life. Informed by WHO's approach to active ageing, the purpose of this Guide is to engage cities to become more age-friendly so as to tap the potential that older people represent for humanity.

By working with groups in 33 cities in all WHO regions, WHO has asked older people in focus groups to describe the advantages and barriers they experience in eight areas of city living. In most cities, the reports from older people were complemented by evidence from focus groups of caregivers and service providers in the public, voluntary and private sectors. The results from the focus groups led to the development of a set of age-friendly city checklists presented in this guide.

With an estimated one million people worldwide turning 60 every month, global cities face the daunting challenge of redesigning their services and facilities to cater to the needs of the aged and the ageing. A checklist of views from elderly people in many cities worldwide has been compiled into a new guidebook that could prove of extensive help for hotels, airports, airlines and others catering to this growing market.

According to United Nations estimates, the number of older persons (60+) will double from the current 600 million to 1.2 billion by 2025, and again, to 2 billion by 2050. The vast majority of older people live in their homes and communities, but in environments that have not been designed with their needs and capacities in mind.

To support Governments in developing and strengthening health and social policies in an ageing world, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Policy Framework on Active Ageing in 2002. Active ageing policy is defined as “optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.” The active ageing approach is grounded in the UN-recognized principles of independence, participation, dignity, care and self-fulfilment. It acknowledges the importance of gender, earlier life experiences, and culture on how individuals age. It takes into account the biological, psychological, behavioural, economic, social and environmental factors that operate over the course of a person’s life to determine health and well-being in later years.

Active ageing age-friendly community

Participation

* Positive images of older persons
* Accessible and useful information
* Accessible public and private transportation
* Inclusive opportunities for civic, cultural, educational and voluntary engagement
* Barrier-free and enabling interior and exterior spaces

Health

* Places and programs for active leisure and socialization
* Activities, programs and information to promote health, social and spiritual well-being
* Social support and outreach
* Accessible and appropriate health services
* Good air/water quality

Security and independence

* Appropriate, accessible, affordable housing
* Accessible home-safety designs and products
* Hazard-free streets and buildings
* Safe roadways and signage for drivers and pedestrians
* Safe, accessible and affordable public transportation
* Services to assist with household chores and home maintenance
* Supports for caregivers
* Accessible stores, banks and professional services
* Supportive neighbourhoods
* Safety from abuse and criminal victimization
* Public information and appropriate training
* Emergency plans and disaster recovery
* Appropriate and accessible employment opportunities
* Flexible work practices

Compiled from various sources.

More on Active Aging and Age-Friendly Cities:

CARP Endorsement
http://www.carp.ca/display.cfm?DocumentID=2038&cabinetID=263&libraryID=70

Neighborhoods Fit for People
http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?option=Project&Itemid=36

Age-friendly primary health care
http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/age_friendly_standards/en/index.html

Saanich, BC Contribution
http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2007HEALTH0111-001220.htm

Making Communities More Age-Friendly
http://myuminfo.umanitoba.ca/index.asp?sec=7&too=100&dat=3/21/2007&sta=2&wee=4&eve=8&npa=12470

Posted by rollingrains at 05:50 PM

India Will Sign U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

"Home to an estimated 70 million disabled people, India will ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Monday." Read the full story at Disability News India:

http://www.disabilityindia.com/html/news.html#UNC

Posted by rollingrains at 05:34 PM

September 29, 2007

Australia's NICAN Provides Resources on Recreation Access

NICAN has released a tool for developing inclusive recreation. Those developing Inclusive Tourism policy development will want to correlate these with Integrated Quality Management practice through IQM's principle # 7 Inclusivity. NICAN's guidelines are based on the following principles:

* Recreation and leisure are major contributors to quality of life.
* People with a disability are individuals and have the same rights as all citizens.
* People with a disability should have full community access.
* Participation in recreation is skill related.
* Participation in decision making is essential.
* Continuous improvement is required to obtain optimal outcomes for all.

Have you seen the new Nican National Recreation Guidelines?

Does your organisation or do you know an organisation that needs a helping hand in providing a good accessible service - the Nican National Recreation Guidelines might just be a great starting point.

The guidelines have been written to allow any organisation to use, personalise and adopt. An electronic template of this document is available from the Nican website, www.nican.com.au Nican appreciates the fact that many organisations are pushed for time and resources and as such encourages organisations to adopt the guidelines as are starting point for their own policies. The guidelines are designed not to take you away from the core business of serving people but to guide your interactions and compliment organisational practice.

The Nican National Recreation Guidelines can assist organisations commit to service user participation in planning, implementation and evaluation, and to continuously improve performance in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for participants.

Purpose of the Nican Recreation Guidelines

The purpose if these guidelines are to assist in the further development of consistent and meaningful, individualised recreation opportunities for people with a disability. It has been developed utilising the following principles:

* Recreation and leisure are major contributors to quality of life.
* People with a disability are individuals and have the same rights as all citizens.
* People with a disability should have full community access.
* Participation in recreation is skill related.
* Participation in decision making is essential.
* Continuous improvement is required to obtain optimal outcomes for all.


To go directly to the guidelines click here: http://www.nican.com.au/education/rec_guidelines.asp

Contact:

Suzanne Bain-Donohue

Executive Director, Nican


Ph: 02 62411220

Email: ed@nican.com.au

PO Box 110, Mitchell, ACT 2911.

Phone: 02 6241 1220 Fax: 02 6241 1224

Posted by rollingrains at 05:21 PM

September 27, 2007

Lula Lança Plan Social para PPD

Na cerimônia de lançamento de plano social para pessoas com deficiência, Lula falou também ser uma pessoa com deficiência por não ter o dedo mindinho da mão esquerda, que perdeu quando trabalhava em uma metalúrgica. “Eu tenho deficiência, mas que não é necessariamente impeditiva de exercer o mandato.”

http://politica.dgabc.com.br/materia.asp?materia=607973#41718#41718

Brasília - Ao lançar, hoje (26), um plano social para pessoas com deficiência, o presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva afirmou que um mandato não é suficiente para atender as necessidades dessa parcela da sociedade, que reúne cerca de 24,6 milhões de brasileiros.

"Eu sei que a gente não vai conseguir fazer tudo. Eu sei que não comecei
e sei que não vou terminar também. Mas quero ter a consciência tranqüila de
que no nosso mandato fizemos o que era possível, e até o quase impossível,
para que a gente pudesse aperfeiçoar as conquistas da sociedade brasileira",
disse Lula, em cerimônia no Palácio do Planalto.

"O Brasil é detentor de uma dívida social tão imensa, que toda vez que nos dispomos a fazer o pagamento dessa dívida, percebemos que não é possível pagar o que não foi feito durante séculos e décadas em apenas um mandato presidencial", acrescentou o presidente.

O programa prevê medidas para facilitar o acesso das pessoas com deficiência
à educação, saúde, habitação e transporte. Uma das ações é a criação
de oficinas de produção de próteses e órteses (cadeiras de rodas, muletas,
andadores) nas regiões Norte e Nordeste. No total, R$ 2,4 bilhões serão
investidos até 2010 no plano.


Plano prevê investimento de R$ 2,4 bilhões na inclusão de pessoas com
deficiência até 2010

Yara Aquino
Repórter da Agência Brasil
********************************


Presidência da República
Casa Civil
Subchefia para Assuntos Jurídicos


DECRETO Nº 6.215, DE 26 DE SETEMBRO DE 2007.

Estabelece o Compromisso pela Inclusão das Pessoas com Deficiência, com vistas à implementação de ações de inclusão das
pessoas com deficiência, por parte da União Federal, em regime de cooperação com Municípios, Estados e Distrito Federal,
institui o Comitê Gestor de Políticas de Inclusão das Pessoas com Deficiência - CGPD, e dá outras providências.


O PRESIDENTE DA REPÚBLICA, no uso da atribuição que lhe confere o art. 84, inciso VI, alínea "a",
da Constituição,

DECRETA:

Art. 1o Fica estabelecido o Compromisso pela Inclusão das Pessoas com Deficiência, com o objetivo
de conjugar esforços da União, Estados, Distrito Federal e Municípios em proveito da melhoria das condições para a inclusão
das pessoas com deficiência na sociedade brasileira.

Parágrafo único. Os entes participantes do Compromisso atuarão em colaboração com as organizações
dos movimentos sociais, com a comunidade e com as famílias, buscando potencializar os esforços da sociedade brasileira
na melhoria das condições para a inclusão das pessoas com deficiência.

Art. 2o O Governo Federal, atuando diretamente ou em regime de cooperação com os demais entes federados
e entidades que se vincularem ao Compromisso, observará, na formulação e implementação das ações para inclusão das pessoas
com deficiência, as seguintes diretrizes:

I - ampliar a participação das pessoas com deficiência no mercado de trabalho, mediante sua qualificação profissional;

II - ampliar o acesso das pessoas com deficiência à política de concessão de órteses e próteses;

III - garantir o acesso das pessoas com deficiência à habitação acessível;

IV - tornar as escolas e seu entorno acessíveis, de maneira a possibilitar a plena participação
das pessoas com deficiências;

V - garantir transporte e infra-estrutura acessíveis às pessoas com deficiência;

VI - garantir que as escolas tenham salas de recursos multifuncionais, de maneira a possibilitar
o acesso de alunos com deficiência.

Art. 3o A vinculação do Município, Estado ou Distrito Federal ao Compromisso pela Inclusão das
Pessoas com Deficiência far-se-á por meio de termo de adesão voluntária cujos objetivos retratarão as diretrizes estabelecidas
neste decreto.

Parágrafo único. A adesão voluntária de cada ente federativo ao Compromisso gera para si a responsabilidade
de priorizar medidas visando à melhoria das condições para a inclusão das pessoas com deficiência em sua esfera de competência.

Art. 4o Podem colaborar com o Compromisso, em caráter voluntário, outros entes, públicos e privados,
tais como organizações da sociedade civil, fundações, entidades de classe empresariais, igrejas e entidades confessionais,
famílias, pessoas físicas e jurídicas que se mobilizem para a melhoria das condições de inclusão das pessoas com deficiência.

Art. 5o Fica instituído o Comitê Gestor de Políticas de Inclusão das Pessoas com Deficiência -
CGPD, com o objetivo de promover a articulação dos órgãos e entidades envolvidos na implementação das ações relacionadas
à inclusão das pessoas com deficiência, resultantes do Compromisso de que trata o art. 1o, assim como de realizar o monitoramento
e avaliação dessas ações.

§ 1o O Comitê Gestor será composto pelos seguintes órgãos:

I - Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República, que o coordenará;

II - Ministério da Educação;

III - Ministério da Saúde;

IV - Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome;

V - Ministério das Cidades;

VI - Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego; e

VII - Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão.

§ 2o O Secretário Especial dos Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República, designará os representantes
indicados pelos titulares dos órgãos referidos no § 1o e estabelecerá a forma de atuação e de apresentação de resultados
pelo Comitê Gestor.

§ 3o O apoio administrativo e os meios necessários à execução dos trabalhos do Comitê Gestor serão
fornecidos pela Secretaria Especial dos Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República.

§ 4o A participação no Comitê Gestor é de relevante interesse público e não será remunerada.

Art. 6o Este Decreto entra em vigor na data de sua publicação.

Brasília, 26 de setembro de 2007; 186o da Independência e 189o da República.

LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA
Dilma Rousseff

Este texto não substitui o publicado no DOU de 28.9.2007

Posted by rollingrains at 02:48 AM

September 26, 2007

Discrimination in the Air

LARDEF logo


Both Mahesh Chandrasekar in India and Daniel Nelson in the UK have picked up on a type of story that is increasingly common:

A double amputee bomb victim who heads an Angolan disability organisation was thrown off a flight to London, it was disclosed this week.

The Portuguese airline TAP pilot told Carla Luis that she needed a medical certificate or a companion. Several passengers offered to be her “companion” and the much-travelled activist pointed out that she was not sick.

Nevertheless, the pilot refused to take off and she was forced to take another flight.

David Morris, senior policy adviser on disability to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, described it as an “absolute obscenity in this century for anyone to be thrown off a plane for being different.”


Read Daniel's piece at OneWorld.net: http://us.oneworld.net/article/view/153360/1/

Posted by rollingrains at 05:08 PM

September 16, 2007

Analysis of India's Civil Aviation Requirements

C. Mahesh, Advocacy Coordinator for the CBR Forum has provided the following analysis of India's Civil Aviation regulations.

Sub: Issuance of Civil Aviation Requirements, Section 3, Series M, Part I on Carriage by Air of Disabled Passengers or Person with Reduced Mobility

With reference to your letter JDG/AT/2007, Dated: 30th Aug 2007

Firstly I would like to thank you and DGCA for considering our feedback and comments favorably for the above mentioned CAR and for your prompt actions.

As you have mentioned in the letter I noticed that there is substantial revision from the earlier CAR and we greatly regard and respect this action.

The following are my comments to the revised CAR.

1 Section 1.1 – It reads as if Persons with disabilities are now able to travel because of 'Low Cost and Low Frill' airlines. This is not true as persons with disabilities have been using air travel for a 'long long' time because it is convenient and one can avoid overnight journeys. The paragraph is 'Patronising' and reads like a favour is being done for 'Disabled Passengers or Person with Reduced Mobility'. Therefore I would suggest that section 1.1 stops at the line ending "….the common man with average income group to travel by air".

2 Section 1.1 - The line starting from "Whereas persons with disabilities…" should be a new paragraph and should be rewritten as "Whereas persons with disability or persons with reduced mobility like everyone else are increasingly given the possibility to travel by air….". In this way persons with disabilities are being considered as an equal to every other passenger.

3 Section 3.1 – Definitions – the issue that a disabled person is not able to travel independently is not only because of physical or any other limitation in the individual but it also to do with the physical structure of the airports and the imposed practices/ procedures. For example: Wheelchairs cannot enter the toilets designed for disabled passengers. There needs to be an additional line in the definition that acknowledges the barriers imposed by the facilities at the airport/ airline and the air plane that in fact disables a person. Therefore there need to be a change in the sentence to acknowledge this barrier "Disabled person or person with reduced mobility means any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability……. or any other cause of disability, or age or due to the architectural barriers/ barriers caused by structural/ procedural requirements and whose situation needs appropriate attention…"

4 Section 3.2 – The use of the word 'abnormal' is inappropriate and dehumanizing. Who is considered 'normal?'. People for no apparent reason behave badly/ rudely do you consider them 'normal'? Therefore I suggest that the word abnormal should be deleted, the sentence "or from obvious abnormal physical or mental conditions" should be reframed as – "or from observations observed and reported by airline personnel"

5 Section 4.1, Sub Section b – The sentence starting from "Airlines should develop emergency evacuation procedures" should be a new paragraph and not clubbed with the previous line as they are two different points.

6 Section 4.4 is the most important welcome change that acknowledges that many persons with disabilities may not need an escort. Therefore the present Section 4.4 should re-ordered and should be 4.3.

7 Section 4.3 mentions about "No airlines should be refused to carry persons traveling…severe mobility impairments….if they are accompanied by an escort" should be re-ordered and should become 4.4

8 Section 4.5 mentions about "assistance booths/ counters" - this alone is not sufficient there should also be appropriate buses/ vehicles that must be available inside the airport for transfer from one terminal to another – For example in Mumbai airport they have a Volvo bus to transfer passengers from domestic to international terminal – however the buses has steep steps and one cannot lift the passenger with the wheelchair inside the bus – and the passenger with disability has to instead come out of the airport and take a private taxi cutting across traffic to reach the international terminal.

9 Section 6.3 – Other Assistive Devices – Passengers carrying 'spare calipers' or 'mobility aid' must be able to take the same as a hand baggage and the airline should not insist on checking-in this baggage as these devices could be prone to breakage. These assistive devices are essential for the mobility and independence of the disabled persons and in addition they are not ready-made products that can be replaced/ purchased to compensate the passenger.

10 Section 7.4 mentions about 'In Transit off loading' and Section 7.6 mentions about 'Transit Stations' – However there is no mention of appropriate bus/ transport service to ensure easy and safe transit of disabled passengers. This point needs to be added in the CAR.

11 There is no mention of handling baggage of checked in luggage of disabled passenger. As a rule practiced by all airlines - the passenger with disability or passenger with reduced mobility is the last to deplane. It takes 20-30 minutes for the assistance and wheelchair to arrive inside the airplane and passenger with disability is usually the last one to collect the checked-in baggage from the conveyor belt. Therefore I request DGCA to add a new section - that says - checked-in baggage of disabled passenger should be marked with a 'Priority Tag' and the ground staff at the baggage section should keep the baggage in a safe place till the passenger arrives.


Please do get back to me for any further information/ clarifications. In addition, I would be very happy if you could send me the copy of the finalized CAR.

With kind regards

Best wishes

C. Mahesh

Advocacy Coordinator


--
C. Mahesh
Advocacy Coordinator
CBR Forum
14, CK Garden
Wheeler Road Extension
Bangalore - 560 084
Tel - 080- 2549 7387 or 2549 7388
advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com
cbrforum@blr.vsnl.net.in
cbrforum@gmail.com

Posted by rollingrains at 08:33 PM

September 07, 2007

Indian Aviation Norms for Disabled Passengers Revised


Ananth Krishnan
of the Hindu reports on positive developments for air travelers in and to India as theoretical distinctions made by disability scholars find their way into public and governmental discourse.

In the ongoing controversy over civil air regulations in India the definition of disability has been somewhat clarified. Distinguishing between permanent disability and illness, the regulations begin to extricate themselves from the Medical Model of Disability. In so doing they provide clarity for air transport providers while capturing distinctions in passenger functionality relevant to air travel.

Such campaigns for human rights as C. Mahesh, Rajiv Raman, the Community-Based Rehabilitation Forum and Vidyasagar are an ongoing necessity. Often they attract censure when they appear to raise the level of conflict beyond "polite" levels of acquiescence. Unjust regulations, inadequate infrastructure, preemptory expulsion from aircraft, or forced sedation will simply never be tolerated by the community of persons with disabilities.

However, the worldwide disability community now hopes that, with an inkling of the positive social benefit available in adopting the Social Model of Disability as a basis for policy, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will affirmatively pursue policy that enables the airline industry to profit from the untapped financial resources of travelers with disabilities to the mutual benefit of that community and the tourism industry.

CHENNAI: Following objections from disabled rights groups, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revised the civil aviation requirements for disabled passengers that were put into effect on August 15.

Disabled rights organisations had voiced their protest against the implementation of the guidelines stating that they were not clear enough in their definition of disability. The requirements also made it necessary for disabled passengers to be accompanied by escorts. The disabled rights groups claimed this was discriminatory.

The revised requirements define a disabled person or a person with reduced disability as "any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention."

The requirements also state that airlines "shall not insist for the presence of an escort," acknowledging that "many persons with disabilities do not require constant assistance for their activities." If a passenger declares "independence in feeding, communication with reasonable accommodation, toileting and personal needs," he or she will not have to travel with an escort.

"Welcome relief"

"The revised guideline is a welcome relief," C. Mahesh, advocacy coordinator of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Forum told The Hindu on Thursday. "The earlier version was draconian and would have greatly hampered independent air travel for persons with disabilities."

Mr. Mahesh said that the earlier requirements had not made a distinction between disabled passengers and those with a medical condition.

"Thankfully, this has been done away with," he said. "This distinction is very important because not all disabled persons have a medical condition. Disability is not an illness but a condition that is more or less permanent in nature."
Mr. Mahesh added that the DGCA had written to the disabled rights groups for feedback on the revisions. The revised requirements will come into effect on October 1.

The issue of aviation requirements for disabled passengers has come under the spotlight following the prevention of Rajiv Rajan, a cerebral palsy patient, from boarding an Air Sahara flight in Chennai on June 18 for failing to produce a medical certificate. Mr. Rajan was also forced to take a sedative pill before boarding a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Chennai two years ago.

According to the new requirements, airlines will no longer have the authority to take such steps.
Disabled passengers who require assistance only in embarking or disembarking, or needing "reasonable accommodation" in flights, cannot be asked by airlines to produce medical certificates.

Right to travel

For the disabled rights groups, the revisions are a welcome measure. Mr. Rajan, also an activist with the disabled rights non-governmental organisation Vidyasagar, told The Hindu that the earlier requirements, in particular the
demand for escorts, infringed on a disabled person's right to travel.

"If the August 15 draft were to come into effect, it would affect my right to movement," he said.
"I travel at least three times a month, so it is very difficult for me to find an escort on my own. It is a violation of my right to be independent."

Source:
http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/07/stories/2007090761741500.htm


Further Readings on Disability Studies and Inclusive Tourism:

Defining the Market of Travelers with Disabilities
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/110781

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/114773

"Specialness" & Scarcity: The Paternalism Syndrome
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001674.html

ahistoricality: Progressive Engagement With Disability
http://ahistoricality.blogspot.com/2007/09/progressive-engagement-with-disability.html

Getting the Design Right: Inclusive Destination Development
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/115176

Posted by rollingrains at 11:45 PM

September 06, 2007

Consulta Pública: Regulamentos Técnicos da Qualidade Referentes à Acessibilidade no Transporte Rodoviário e Aquaviário

Os Regulamentos Técnicos da Qualidade referentes à acessibilidade no transporte rodoviário e aquaviário encontram-se em consulta pública por 60 dias, tendo os mesmos sido publicados hoje (04/09) no DO - Diário Oficial.

Estes podem ser acessados na íntegra, na página do Inmetro, no seguinte endereço: http://www.inmetro.gov.br , na margem direita da página, no item Produtos e serviços - consultas públicas ou da link:

http://www.inmetro.gov.br/rtac/resultado_pesquisa.asp?seq_classe=1&sel_categoria=21

Abaixo segue um extrato do título das Portarias que publicam os dois RTQs.

Portaria INMETRO / MDIC número 339 de 31/08/2007
Regulamento Técnico da Qualidade para Inspeção da Adaptação de Acessibilidade em Embarcações Utilizadas no Transporte Coletivo de Passageiros.

Portaria INMETRO / MDIC número 340 de 31/08/2007
Regulamento Técnico da Qualidade para Inspeção da Adaptação de Acessibilidade em Veículos de Características Rodoviárias para o Transporte Colet ivo de Passageiros

Posted by rollingrains at 08:09 PM

September 02, 2007

Simplified Language for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

One of the principles of Universal Design (UD) -- and certainly a starting point of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) -- is principle #4:

Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

This information below is a plain language version of the text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The full text is available on:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm

CONVENTION IN PLAIN LANGUAGE

This information is a plain language version of the text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The full text is available on:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm

This information is based on and adapts the summary of a report of the Working Group that looked at a draft Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prepared by the New Zealand government in 2004.

PREAMBLE
a. The founding documents of the UN say that we are all equal and we are all members of the human family which is important for freedom, fairness and peace in the world,
b. We are all equal and all of us have human rights,
c. We agree that people with disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms and they must not be discriminated against,
d. There are seven other international agreements that promote and protect human rights,
e. We understand that disability is something that changes all the time and it is the environment and people’s attitudes that create disability,
f. It is important to keep in mind what the Standard Rules and the World Programme of Action are trying to achieve when trying to make laws, rules, decisions, programmes and practice better for people with disabilities,
g. It is very important to make sure that the situation of people with disabilities is always equally taken into consideration when governments and international organizations make plans about a country’s growth, for example, about how to get people out of poverty, or get them jobs,
h. We understand that when someone discriminates against people with disabilities, he or she takes away their dignity and value as human beings,
i. We also understand that there are many differences among people with disabilities and there are many types of disabilities,
j. We also understand that all people with disabilities must have their rights, including people with disabilities who need extra support,
k. We are worried that the rights of people with disabilities are still being taken away, even though there are agreements that protect their rights,
l. We understand that it is important that countries work with one another to make life better for people with disabilities, especially in poor countries,
m. We understand that people with disabilities help make countries better if they are fully included and their rights enjoyed,
n. We understand that it is very important that people with disabilities are free to make their own decisions,
o. We believe that people with disabilities should be included in the making of policies and programmes, especially those that are directly related to them,
p. We are worried because people with disabilities are not only discriminated because of their disabilities, but also because of race, sex, or for many other reasons,
q. We understand that many times, women and girls with disabilities are more often abused, beaten, injured or taken advantage of,
r. We understand that children with disabilities have the same rights as all other children, and that the international agreement on children’s rights also applies to them,
s. It is very important to make sure that both women’s situation and men’s situation are taken into account in everything that the country does for human rights of people with disabilities,
t. It is also very important to remember that most people with disabilities are poor, and it is necessary to find out what consequences that has for them,
u. We keep in mind that we must have peace and security to make sure people with disabilities can have their rights, especially when they live in war zones or in countries that are not run by their own government,
v. We understand how important it is for people with disabilities to be able to enjoy all areas of life, to have good health care, to go to school, to have the information they need, so that they can use their rights,
w. We understand that each of us also has the duty to make sure everyone else enjoys his/her rights,
x. We believe that the family is the main group in a society and that people with disabilities and their families should get the protection and help they need to be able to work for their human rights,
y. We believe that an Agreement that covers all areas of life will be very helpful in making lives of people with disabilities better and in making sure that people with disabilities are treated equally and equally included in all areas of life, and in poor and richer countries. Because of all the things listed, countries that decide to be part of the Agreement agree:

ARTICLE 1 PURPOSE
The reason why this Agreement is made is to make sure that the countries that agree to this Agreement (called “countries” in this document) will make sure that:
• All human rights and freedoms of all people with disabilities are enjoyed, promoted and protected;
• The dignity of people with disabilities is respected.
People with disabilities include those who have long-term impairments, for example, physical, psycho-social, intellectual and who cannot get involved in society because of different reasons, such as attitudes, language, stairs, and laws, which prevent people with disabilities from being included in society.

ARTICLE 2 DEFINITIONS
Communication – Means all ways of communicating, so that all people can communicate. For example, spoken language, sign language, text, Braille, touch, large print, written, audio, plain language, human reader and other ways that people with disabilities communicate.
“Language” – means all kinds of languages, spoken, signed, and other types of language that is not spoken.
“Discrimination on the basis of disability” – when people are excluded, shut out or prevented from doing things because of their disability. This can be in all areas of life.
“Reasonable Accommodation” – means that a person may need to have changes made, for example, to their home, or where they work, so they are able to enjoy their rights. If this is too expensive or too difficult then the changes may not be able to be made.
“Universal Design” – means that things are made, programmes created and places adapted so that they can be used by all people. Sometimes someone with a particular type of disability may need something specially made so they can enjoy their rights.

ARTICLE 3 GENERAL PRINCIPLES
This Agreement is about:
• Dignity
• Ability to choose
• Independence
• Non-discrimination
• Participation
• Full inclusion
• Respect for difference
• Acceptance of disability as part of everyday life
• Equality of opportunity
• Accessibility
• Equality of men and women
• Respect for children.

ARTICLE 4 GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
1. The countries promise to make sure that all human rights apply to all people, without discrimination because of disability. To fulfill this promise, they will:
a. Do what it takes to make sure that the rights from this Agreement are put into laws, policies, and practice in their country;
b. Take action: for example, adopt new laws and rules, change old rules and laws where necessary, and get rid of other laws and stop actions that discriminate against people with disabilities;
c. Make sure that the human rights of people with disabilities are included in all policies and programmes;
d. Not do things that do not support the Agreement, and make sure others respect the Agreement;
e. Take action to stop individuals, organizations or businesses from discriminating because of a person’s disability;
f. Work on and encourage the use of goods, services, equipment and facilities that can be used by all people with disabilities all over the world, at the smallest possible cost to the person;
g. Work on and encourage new technologies in all aspects of life that are useful for people with disabilities, especially those that are low cost;
h. Provide information about all types of assistance, including technologies, and other forms of assistance, in a way that can be understood by people with disabilities;
i. Promote trainings about the rights in this Agreement for those who work with people with disabilities to make sure they can work better with people with disabilities.
2. For economic, social and cultural rights, the countries will put into practice the laws and rules that relate to these rights as much as they can with resources they have. If need be, they can cooperate with other countries to put into practice these rights. All other rights must be put into practice right away.
3. When making laws and rules about this Agreement, the countries will talk to and involve people with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through the organizations that represent them.
4. This Agreement will not affect any laws or rules that are better for the rights of people with disabilities. Countries must not use the Agreement as an excuse to not put into practice human rights that already exist.
5. The Agreement will apply to the country as a whole.

ARTICLE 5 EQUALITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
1. The countries agree that all people with disabilities are equal before the law and protected by the law without any discrimination.
2. The countries agree that discrimination because of a disability will not be allowed and that people will be protected if there is such discrimination.
3. The countries will take action to make sure that if a person with a disability needs changes made to his/her environment to enjoy his/her rights, then those changes will be made.
4. Special actions, or actions that are needed for people with disabilities to become equal to others, are allowed. This type of special treatment is not discriminatory to people without disabilities.

ARTICLE 6 WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES
The countries agree that:
1. Women and girls with disabilities face all types of discrimination. Countries will make sure girls and women enjoy full and equal human rights and freedoms.
2. They will take action to support the growth and empowerment of women and guarantee that women with disabilities enjoy their rights.

ARTICLE 7 CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
The countries will:
1. Make sure that children with disabilities have the same rights as other children.
2. Make sure that what is best for the child is a priority whenever they do anything that concerns children.
3. Make sure that children with disabilities have the right to tell their opinion and that their opinion is taken into account. Make sure that children with disabilities get the help they need to tell their opinions.

ARTICLE 8 AWARENESS-RAISING
1. The countries agree that, without delay, they will:
a. Help families and all people in society be more aware of the issues facing people with disabilities. They will work to make sure that rights and dignity of people with disabilities are respected;
b. Fight against stereotypes and prejudices about people with disabilities;
Stereotypes are general and incorrect beliefs that some people have about people with disabilities. These beliefs are often damaging which leads to discrimination against people with disabilities.
c. Help people in society be aware of the capabilities of people with disabilities and how they can help the country grow.
2. The countries will also:
a. Make public campaigns about the rights of people with disabilities that:
i. Show that people with disabilities have the same rights as all people;
ii. Highlight disability in the community and change misunderstandings about disability;
iii. Show how people with disabilities help improve the workplace.
b. Make sure that schools and other places of learning teach respect for the rights of people with disabilities;
c. Encourage media (i.e. radio, television, newspapers and magazines) to show images of people with disabilities that promote the rights of people with disabilities;
d. Promote training programmes that will help people be aware of rights of people with disabilities.

ARTICLE 9 ACCESSIBILITY
1. The countries will eliminate barriers that people with disabilities face in buildings, the outdoors, transport, information, communication and services, in both cities and the countryside. This way people with disabilities can live independently and fully live their lives. They will make rules and put them into practice for:
a. Buildings, roads, transportation, indoor and outdoor objects, for example, schools, housing, hospitals, health centers, and workplaces;
b. Information, communications, and other things, for example, electronic services and emergency services.
2. The countries will also take action to:
a. Make, put in place, and oversee minimum standards for accessibility for places and services that are open to public;
b. Make sure that private businesses and organizations that are open to the public are accessible for people with disabilities;
c. Train people who are involved in accessibility issues on what people with disabilities need when it comes to accessibility;
d. Have Braille signs and easy to read and understand information in buildings open to the public;
e. Provide help, such as readers, sign language interpreters and guides, so people with disabilities can access buildings open to the public;
f. Provide other types of help as needed so people with disabilities can get access to information;
g. Promote access to new technologies for people with disabilities;
h. When looking for, and creating new technology, make sure that accessibility is taken into account early on, so that this technology can be made accessible at the smallest cost.

ARTICLE 10 RIGHT TO LIFE
The countries agree that all people with disabilities have the right to life and will take action to make sure people with disabilities can use this right.

ARTICLE 11 SITUATIONS OF RISK AND HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES
The countries agree that they will respect all other agreements they have entered into about war or human rights.
The countries will take action to make sure that in the case of war, natural catastrophies or other emergencies, people with disabilities are protected.

ARTICLE 12 EQUAL RECOGNITION AS A PERSON BEFORE THE LAW
The countries:
1. Agree that people with disabilities have the right to be recognised as people before the law.
2. Agree that people with disabilities are capable like all other people on legal issues in all areas of their lives.
3. Will take action to make sure that people with disabilities can get and use support if they need it to work on legal issues.
4. Agree that where people with disabilities need support on legal or financial issues:
• They will be protected from abuse;
• Their rights and their choices will be respected;
• People who give support will not pressure people with disabilities into making a decision;
• They get the help they need, only for the time they need it and only as much as they need;
• The courts will review the support received.
5. Agree and will make sure that people with disabilities:
• Have the right to own or get property;
• Have the right to control their money or other financial affairs;
• Have the same opportunities as other people to get bank loans, mortgages and credit;
• Cannot have property taken away without a reason.

ARTICLE 13 ACCESS TO JUSTICE
1. The countries will make sure that people with disabilities can access the justice system in their countries just like all other people.
They will make sure that any rules which say how things should be done are adapted so that people with disabilities can be productively involved in all stages of legal processes, for example, being a witness.
2. The countries will provide training for people working in the justice system, such as police and prison staff.

ARTICLE 14 LIBERTY AND SECURITY
1. The countries will:
a. Make sure that people with disabilities have the same right to liberty and security as all other people;
b. Make sure that people with disabilities do not have this right taken away from them without a reason, because they have a disability, or in a way that is against the law.
2. The countries will make sure that if a person has had his/her liberty taken, he/she will be protected by law. They will also make sure that changes are made to the individual’s environment if they are needed for that person to enjoy his or her human rights.

ARTICLE 15 FREEDOM FROM TORTURE OR CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR Punishment
1. Nobody will be tortured, or be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. Nobody will be forced to take part in medical or scientific experiments.
2. The countries agree to pass laws, and take other action to make sure that people with disabilities are protected from torture just like all other people.

ARTICLE 16 FREEDOM FROM EXPLOITATION, VIOLENCE AND ABUSE
The countries will:

1. Pass laws, and take other action to make sure people with disabilities are not exploited or abused, both inside and outside their home.
2. Take action to prevent exploitation of people with disabilities by giving help and appropriate information to make sure people with disabilities and their families are protected from abuse.
3. Make sure that institutions and programmes serving people with disabilities are regularly looked at to make sure there is no violence or abuse.
4. Support people with disabilities with their recovery and reintegration into society if they have been victims of violence and abuse.
5. Create laws and policies to investigate and punish people who abuse or mistreat people with disabilities. These laws and policies will make sure that the needs of women and children are included.

ARTICLE 17 PROTECTING INTEGRITY
People with disabilities have the same right as everyone else to be respected for their physical and mental whole.

ARTICLE 18 FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND NATIONALITY
1. The countries agree that people with disabilities have the same rights as others to move around in their country or between countries, to choose where they live and to have a nationality like all other people. They will make sure that people with disabilities:
a. Have the right to get and to change their nationality and that nobody can take away their nationality without a reason or because of a disability;
b. Cannot have their passports or other identification of nationality taken away without a reason, or because of a disability, and that they are allowed to try to move to another country;
c. Are free to leave their own country and any other country;
d. Cannot be stopped from entering their own country without a reason or because of a disability.
2. Children with disabilities will be registered immediately after they are born. They will have the right to a name, to a nationality and, as much as possible, the right to know their parents, and be raised by their own parents.

ARTICLE 19 LIVING INDEPENDENTLY AND BEING INCLUDED IN THE COMMUNITY
The countries agree that all people with disabilities have the same right as anyone else to live in the community and to be fully included and participating in the community. This includes making sure that people with disabilities:
a. Have the same opportunities as other people to choose who they live with, where they live, and are not forced to live in institutions or in other living arrangements that they do not like;
b. Have a range of choices on where and how to live in the community, including personal assistance, to help with inclusion and living in the community and preventing people with disabilities from being isolated;
c. People with disabilities can use community services that are available to the public, which may need to be adapted to a particular person’s needs.

ARTICLE 20 PERSONAL MOBILITY
The countries will make sure that people with disabilities can move around with the greatest possible independence, including:
a. Assisting people to move around in the way they choose and at a cost that they can afford;
b. Assisting people with disabilities to access mobility aids and technology, including making sure they do not cost a lot;
c. Providing training in mobility skills for people with disabilities and staff working with them;
d. Encouraging those that produce mobility aids and technology to take into account all aspects of movement.

ARTICLE 21 FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND OPINION AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION
The countries will make sure that people with disabilities have the right to say what they think through Braille, sign language or other types of communication that they choose.
The countries will make sure people with disabilities have the same right as other people to give and receive information, including:
a. Providing information intended for the general public to people with disabilities in formats that are adequate for them without extra cost (for example, Braille);
b. Accepting the use of different ways people with disabilities communicate in official situations;
c. Encouraging private businesses and organizations that serve the public to make their services more accessible for people with disabilities;
d. Encouraging the media to make their information accessible to people with disabilities;
e. Agreeing to, and promoting the use of sign language.

ARTICLE 22 RESPECT FOR PRIVACY
The countries will:
1. Make sure that nobody gets involved in the private life of people with disabilities without a reason, or in a way that is against the law. They will make sure that nobody illegally attacks the honour and reputation of people with disabilities. People with disabilities have the right to be protected by the law from such attacks.
2. Protect the confidentiality of personal, health and rehabilitation information of people with disabilities, in the same way that other people’s information is protected.

ARTICLE 23 RESPECT FOR HOME AND THE FAMILY
1. The countries will take action to stop discrimination against people with disabilities when it comes to marriage and family relations, to make sure that:
a. People with disabilities have the same right as other people to marry and have a family;
b. People with disabilities have the same rights as other people to have children, to decide how many children to have, and when to have them. They should get information and be educated on reproduction and family planning; and they should get help to understand this information;
c. People with disabilities have the same right as everyone else to keep their fertility.
2. The countries will make sure that people with disabilities have the rights and responsibilities related to guardianship and adoption of children, with the most important issue being the child(ren)’s interest. They will give support to people with disabilities in accomplishing responsibilities related to raising their children.
3. The countries will make sure children with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else to a family life. From an early stage the countries will provide the information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families.
4. The child must not be taken away from his/her parents against his/her will, unless it is in the best interests of the child and is done legally. The child cannot be separated from parents because of the parent’s or the child’s disability.
5. Where close family (for example parents, brother or sister) cannot care for a child with a disability, they will look first at the wider family, and then the local community to provide care for the child.

ARTICLE 24 EDUCATION
1. The countries agree that all people with disabilities have the right to education. They will make sure that the education system, at all levels, includes people with disabilities, and that the educational system:
a. Works to make sure everyone develops their human potential, sense of dignity and self worth, and respect for human rights, freedoms and diversity;
b. Works to develop the person’s personality and talents to their fullest potential;
c. Works to make sure all people with disabilities can be involved in society.
2. To do this, the countries will make sure that:
a. People with disabilities are not excluded from education because of their disability, and children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary and secondary education because of their disability;
b. All people with disabilities can choose education that includes them, is accessible and is in their own community;
c. Reasonable changes are made to make sure that people with disabilities get the most out of their education;
d. People with disabilities get the help they need to get the most out of their education;
e. The help for students with disabilities is given so that their individual needs are met.
3. The countries will make it possible for people with disabilities to learn social and life skills that they need to go to schools and be in the community. They will do this by:
a. Arranging that students with disabilities learn Braille or other types of communication, and that they get peer support and mentoring;
b. Teaching sign language;
c. Making sure that especially children who are blind, deaf or deafblind are educated in the most appropriate types of communication so that they get the most out of their education.
4. To help make sure that these rights are put into practice, the countries will hire teachers who are people with disabilities, teachers who are qualified in Braille and sign languages, and will train teachers and staff at all levels of education on how to give quality education to people with disabilities.
5. Countries will make sure that people with disabilities have equal access to vocational training, study in universities and lifelong learning like all other people, and will make any changes needed to make that happen.

ARTICLE 25 HEALTH
The countries recognise that all people with disabilities have the same right to quality health care, without discrimination because of disability.
The countries will make sure that health and health-related rehabilitation services are available, including:
a. Making sure that people with disabilities get the same variety, quality and standard of free and affordable health care as other people;
b. Making sure that people with disabilities can get services they need because of their disability and to protect them from further disability;
c. Having health services in peoples’ own communities;
d. Insisting that health workers give the same quality care to people with disabilities as to others, for example, only if the person agrees and has been told about their rights—achieved through trainings and by making ethical standards for health care;
e. Stopping discrimination against people with disabilities when it comes to health insurance and life insurance, and making sure that such insurance is provided fairly;
f. Making sure that people with disabilities will not be discriminated against and denied health care or health services or food and fluids because of their disability.

ARTICLE 26 HABILITATION AND REHABILITATION
1. The countries will take action, for example by promoting peer support, to make it possible for people with disabilities to enjoy maximum independence, full abilities and that they can be fully involved in all aspects of life. To make sure this happens, the countries will make available services that cover all areas of life, both in habilitation and rehabilitation, so that they:
a. Begin as early as possible, and are made specifically with strengths and needs of a particular person in mind;
b. Help people with disabilities participate and be involved in the community;
c. Are voluntary and available as close as possible to their communities.
2. The countries will promote training programmes for staff working in habilitation and rehabilitation services.
3. The countries will promote the use of assistive devices and other types of aid as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation.

ARTICLE 27 WORK AND EMPLOYMENT
1. The countries agree that people with disabilities have the same right to work as other people. This also means that they have the right to earn a living from work they choose in a work environment that is open and accessible to all people.
The countries will pass laws and take other action needed to:
a. Stop discrimination because of disabilities in all situations relating to all kinds of employment. This relates, for example, to situations when people with disabilities are trying to get jobs, are hired, or promoted, or in making sure that the working conditions are safe and healthy;
b. Protect the rights of people with disabilities to equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity, safe and healthy working conditions, and the ability to make complaints;
c. Make sure that people with disabilities can organize and join labor unions and trade unions like everyone else;
d. Make it possible for people with disabilities to get career counseling and vocational trainings;
e. Promote employment, career advances, and help people with disabilities to find and keep employment;
f. Promote self-employment, business opportunities, and start-up businesses;
g. Hire people with disabilities in the government;
h. Encourage and help employers to hire people with disabilities;
i. Make it easy for people with disabilities to be in the work place and work environment by making sure reasonable allowances are made for them;
j. Work to make sure that people with disabilities can gain work experience in the labour market;
k. Promote vocational and professional rehabilitation and programmes to
support people with disabilities to return to work and keep their jobs.
2. The countries will make sure that people with disabilities are not held in slavery. They will protect people with disabilities from forced labor as all other people are protected.

ARTICLE 28 ADEQUATE STANDARD OF LIVING AND SOCIAL PROTECTION
1. The countries recognise the right of people with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families. This includes adequate food, clothing, housing, and to always be improving their living conditions.
2. The countries also recognise the right of people with disabilities to social protection by the government, without discrimination because of their disability.
The countries will protect this right, including by making sure that:
a. People with disabilities can get necessary services, equipment and help for disability related needs;
b. People with disabilities have access to social welfare assistance and programmes that help them get out of poverty. This especially applies to women and girls with disabilities and older people with disabilities;
c. People with disabilities and their families who live in poverty get help from the government to be able to pay for expenses related to their disability;
d. People with disabilities have access to government housing programmes;
e. People with disabilities can get pensions.

ARTICLE 29 PARTICIPATION IN POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE
The countries recognise the political rights of people with disabilities without discrimination, and will:

a. Make sure that people with disabilities can be fully involved in political and public life, for example by having the right to vote and be elected. To do this they should make sure:
i. That voting is easy to understand and accessible;
ii. To protect the right of citizens to vote in secret and to be elected;
iii. That citizens with disabilities who want assistance can get help to vote
from someone of their choice.
b. Encourage people with disabilities to be involved in the work of the government and to participate in public affairs, including:
i. Being involved in non-governmental organizations and associations
focused on the activities of political parties and civil society;

ii. Forming and joining organizations of people with disabilities to
represent people with disabilities, nationally, regionally and locally.

ARTICLE 30 PARTICIPATION IN CULTURAL LIFE, RECREATION, LEISURE AND SPORT
1. The countries recognise the right of people with disabilities to take part in cultural life. They will take action to make sure that:
a. People with disabilities have access to literature and other writings in formats such as Braille, sign and audio;
b. People with disabilities can get television programmes, film, theatre and other cultural activities in a way that they will understand, for example, with captioning and sign language;
c. People with disabilities can get to cultural performances and services such as libraries, museums, theatres and sites of national importance.
2. The countries will take action to make it possible for people with disabilities to develop and use their creative, artistic and intellectual potential.
3. The countries will take action to make sure that laws that protect documents and other writings and inventions from forgery or copying do not discriminate against people with disabilities.
4. People with disabilities have the right, just like everyone else, to have their
culture and language recognised, for example sign languages and deaf culture.
5. The countries also recognise that people with disabilities have the same right as others to take part in recreation, leisure and sports. The countries will take action to:
a. Encourage and promote involvement of people with disabilities in sports with people without disabilities at all levels;
b. Make sure that people with disabilities have a chance to organize and participate in sport activities, and to receive the same training and support as other people;
c. Make sure that people with disabilities can get to sports and recreation arenas as other people can;
d. Make sure that children with disabilities can participate in play and sports at school, like other children;
e. Make sure that person with disabilities can get services to help organize recreational and sporting activities.

ARTICLE 31 STATISTICS AND DATA COLLECTION
1. The countries will collect and look at statistics and other information to put into practice this Agreement.
In collecting this information they will:
a. Respect the right to people’s privacy. The information should be given only if people agree;
b. Respect human rights and ethics when collecting and using the statistics.
2.The information collected will be in categories so that the countries can better understand how to put into practice the Agreement, and to learn more about barriers that exist for people with disabilities.
3. The countries are responsible for distributing this information and making sure that it is in a format like Braille or easy-to-read, for example, so that people with disabilities can access it.

ARTICLE 32 INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
1. The countries agree that it is important that they work together to make sure that each of them can put this Agreement into practice. They will take action to work together, especially with organizations of people with disabilities, to:
a. Make sure that people with disabilities are included and can access international programmes for development;
b. Make sure that they work together to educate people by sharing information, experiences, training programmes and best practices;
c. Arrange cooperation in areas of science and technology;
d. Give technical and economic help, for example by sharing new technologies.
2. The governments are not allowed to say that because they do not have help from other countries, they cannot put the Agreement into practice.

ARTICLE 33 NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING
1. The countries will make sure that there is at least one position in the government that will be responsible for making sure that the Agreement is put into practice.
2. The countries will make sure that within the government, they create an independent institution that will monitor how the Agreement is being put into practice.
3. Non-governmental organizations, especially people with disabilities and their organizations, will be fully involved in overseeing how the country puts the Agreement into practice.
ARTICLE 34
Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities
1. The Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities will be created.
2. When the Agreement becomes law, the Committee will have 12 experts. After 60 more countries agree to the Agreement, six experts will be added with a maximum of 18 members.
3. Members of the Committee will serve as individuals. They will be highly ethical and will be experts or have experience with disability.
4. The countries will elect the members of the Committee and will make sure that they are from all over the world, that they have members who are men, women, people with disabilities, and come from different legal systems.
5. When countries meet for a Conference, they will elect the members of the Committee in secret. To be elected, a person must receive the largest number of votes. Also, more than half of people present at the Conference must vote for him/her.
6. The first election will happen within the first six months after the Agreement becomes law. After that, four months before every election, the UN Secretary General will send a letter to the countries and ask them to nominate people for the Committee. Countries will have two months to do so.
7. Members of the Committee will serve for four years. They can be re-elected once. After the first election, six members of the Committee will serve for only two years.
8. When time comes for the additional six members to be added to the Committee, they will be elected during regular elections.
9. If a member of the Committee dies or leaves, the country that nominated that member will get to nominate another expert to serve for the rest of the term.
10. The Committee will make its own rules of how it will work.
11. The UN Secretary General will give staff and office space to make sure that the Committee can work effectively.
12. The members of the Committee will get paid for their services and the UN General Assembly will decide how much.
13. The members of the Committee will have the same rights as the other experts of the UN.

ARTICLE 35 REPORTS BY STATES PARTIES
1. Each country will write a report for the Committee within two years after the Agreement becomes law. The countries will report on how they are putting the Agreement into practice.
2. After that, each country will report to the Committee at least every four years.
3. The Committee will say what should be in the report.
4. After the country writes the first report, it does not have to repeat the same information in later reports. It is recommended that countries write their reports openly and consult with people with disabilities and their organizations.
5. The countries can write in the report what difficulties they had in putting the Agreement into practice.

ARTICLE 36 CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
1. When a Committee receives the report it will:
• Review and make comments and recommendations;
• Give the comments and recommendations to the country that reported;
• The country may then give more information to the Committee;
• Ask for more information if needed.
2. If a country is very late with its report, the Committee will:
• Tell the country that it is late;
• If after three months, the country still does not report, the Committee will let
the country know that it needs to visit the country to examine how it is putting into practice the Agreement.
3. All countries will get each country’s report from the UN Secretary General.
4. The countries will share the report publicly in their countries and will allow comments and suggestions on the report.
5. If needed, the Committee will send the country’s report to other agencies within the UN, so that they can help the country with technical issues.

ARTICLE 37 COOPERATION BETWEEN STATES PARTIES AND THE COMMITTEE
1. Each country will work together with the Committee and help them do their job.
2. When working with the countries, the Committee will also try to find ways to make sure the countries are better equipped to put the Agreement into practice.

ARTICLE 38 RELATIONSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE WITH OTHER BODIES
To make sure that the Agreement is put into practice and to encourage countries to work together:
a. Agencies can be included in the meetings of the Committee when the Committee is talking about issues that the agency works on.
The Committee can invite these agencies to the meetings when their expertise is required.
The Committee can also ask these agencies to give their own reports on how countries are putting the Agreement into practice.
b. There are seven other committees that look at how countries are putting into practice other human rights agreements, for example, agreements on women, children, etc. The Committee will talk to these other committees to make sure that they are not repeating their work, and to make sure that they are consistent when giving advice to countries on how to best put the Agreement into practice.

ARTICLE 39 REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
The Committee will report to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council every two years. It will make suggestions and recommendations based on the reports they receive.

ARTICLE 40 CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES
1. The countries will meet regularly to talk about issues relating to putting the Agreement into practice.
2. Within six months after the Agreement becomes law, the UN Secretary General will organize the first meeting. After that, the meetings will happen every two years or as the countries decide.

ARTICLE 41 DEPOSITARY
The Agreement will be filed with the UN Secretary General.

ARTICLE 42 SIGNATURE
The Agreement will be open for signing by all countries at the main UN building in New York as of March 30, 2007.

ARTICLE 43 CONSENT TO BE BOUND
The countries that sign the Agreement right away will have to “ratify” it, that is, their national government will have to accept the responsibility to put the Agreement into practice.
If the country does not sign the Agreement right away, they will be able to “accede” to the Agreement, meaning that they can join later.

ARTICLE 44 REGIONAL INTEGRATION ORGANIZATIONS
1. “Regional integration organization” is an organization made up of a number of countries in the same region that have given that organization the power to deal with issues that are covered in the Agreement.
2. When the Agreement says “countries” it also applies to these organizations.
3. When counting how many countries have signed the Agreement, these organizations do not count.
4. These organizations can vote during the meetings, and will have as many votes as there are countries in the organization. If any of the countries in the organization votes on its own, the organization cannot vote.

ARTICLE 45 ENTRY INTO FORCE
1. The Agreement will become law on the 30th day after 20 countries ratify or accede to the Agreement.
2. After that, when countries accept the Agreement, it will become law for them 30 days after the acceptance.

ARTICLE 46 RESERVATIONS
1. The countries can make reservations, meaning that they can say when they are signing the Agreement that they will not put into practice a particular obligation.
But, these reservations cannot be against the goal and intent of this Agreement.
2. The reservations can be taken away at any time.

ARTICLE 47 AMENDMENTS
1. Any country can propose changes to the Agreement with the UN Secretary General.
The Secretary General will then send the proposed changes to other countries.
If, within four months, at least one third of all countries want to meet to adopt the changes, Secretary General will organize the meeting.
The changes will be adopted if two-thirds of countries that are present at the meeting vote for them. Then the Secretary General will present it to the UN General Assembly for acceptance.
2. When a change is approved by the General Assembly, it will become law 30 days after two-thirds of all countries accept it.
After that, whenever a country accepts the change it will become law for them 30 days after they accept it.
The changes will be law only for those countries that accept it.
3. If the proposed change is about the reporting or the Committee, then 30 days after it is accepted by two-thirds of all countries, it will become law for all countries, not only those who accept the change.

ARTICLE 48 DENUNCIATION
A country can later go back and say that they will not agree to the Agreement anymore. To do this, they must write it down and send it to the UN Secretary General. That becomes effective one year after that.

ARTICLE 49 ACCESSIBLE FORMAT
The text of the Agreement will be prepared in Braille and other forms, so that all people can read it and understand it.

ARTICLE 50 AUTHENTIC TEXTS
The Agreement will be equally original in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

OPTIONAL PROTOCOL
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
(to be adopted at the same time as the Agreement)
All countries that agree to this Protocol agree to:

ARTICLE 1
1. Give the power to the Committee to receive and review complaints from individuals or organizations about violations of rights in the Agreement.
2. The Committee will only deal with complaints from countries that agree to this Protocol.

ARTICLE 2
The Committee will NOT accept the complaints if:
a. They do not say who they are from;
b. They do not match the Agreement;
c. The same situation has already been investigated. The same situation is being investigated by another body;
d. The people complaining did not use their domestic system to the fullest extent. But, the complaint will be reviewed if the domestic system takes too long;
e. The complaint is without basis; there is no proof;
f. The complaint is about something that happened before the Protocol became law.

ARTICLE 3
If the complaint is accepted, the Committee will secretly send it to the country in question. The country will respond within six months, and will say what solution they found.

ARTICLE 4
1. When the Committee gets a complaint, it can ask the country to take action right away if there is a risk that the victim(s) will be hurt permanently.
2. If the Committee decides to ask the country to take action right away, this does not mean that the case is successful.

ARTICLE 5
The Committee will meet in secret when examining complaints. After examining the complaint the Committee may, if needed, give suggestions and recommendations to the country in question and to the person(s) complaining.

ARTICLE 6
1. If the Committee gets trustworthy information about serious or widespread violations of rights in the Agreement, it may invite the country in question to participate in the reviewing of the information and to give its opinion on it.
2. After reviewing all the information that it has, the Committee may select one or more of its members to urgently investigate the matter. If the country in question agrees, and if it is needed, it may make a visit to the country to investigate directly.
3. The Committee will give the country in question the results of the investigation and any recommendations it has.
4. The country in question will give its opinion on the results to the Committee within six months.
5. The investigation will be confidential and the country in question will be asked to cooperate throughout the process.

ARTICLE 7
1. The Committee can ask the country in question to include in its report what it did in response to the investigation.
2. If it is needed, the Committee can ask the country in question to give its opinion on the results of the investigation if it has not answered within six months.

ARTICLE 8
Each country that agrees to this Protocol is allowed to say that it does not give the power to the Committee for situations discussed in Articles 6 and 7.

ARTICLE 9
The Protocol will be filed with the UN Secretary General.

ARTICLE 10
This Protocol will be open for signing at the UN Headquarters in New York as of 30 March 2007.

ARTICLE 11
The countries that agree to put the Agreement into practice can sign this Protocol and must then ratify it in their home countries.

ARTICLE 12
1. “Regional integration organization” is an organization of several countries that have given it (the organization) the power to deal with issues that are covered in the Protocol.
2. When this Protocol says “countries that agree to this Protocol,” it applies also to these organizations.
3. When counting how many countries have signed the Protocol, these organizations do not count.
4. These organizations can vote during the meetings, and will have as many votes as there are countries in the organization. If any of the countries in the organization votes on its own, the organization cannot vote.

ARTICLE 13
1. After the Agreement becomes law, this Protocol will become law on the 30th day after 10 countries ratify or accede to the Protocol.
2. After that, when countries accept the Protocol, it will become law for them 30 days after the acceptance.

ARTICLE 14
The countries that agree to this Protocol can make reservations. But, these reservations cannot be against the goal and the intent of the Protocol.
The reservations can be taken away at any time.

ARTICLE 15
1. Any country that agrees to this Protocol can suggest a change to the Protocol with the UN Secretary General.
The Secretary General will then send the proposed changes to other countries that agreed to this Protocol.
If, within four months, at least one third of all countries that agreed to this Protocol want to meet to adopt the changes, Secretary General will organize the meeting. At the meeting, the changes will be adopted if two-thirds of countries that are present vote for them.
Then the Secretary General will present them to the General Assembly for acceptance.
2. When the changes are approved by the General Assembly, they will become law 30 days after two-thirds of all countries that agree to this Protocol accept it. After that, whenever a country accepts the changes, they will become law for them 30 days after they accept it. The changes will be law only for those countries that accept them.

ARTICLE 16
A country can later go back and say that they will not agree to the Protocol anymore. To do this, they must write it down and send it to the UN Secretary General and it will become effective one year after that.

ARTICLE 17
The text of the Protocol will be prepared in Braille and other forms, so that all people can read it and understand it.

ARTICLE 18
The Protocol will be equally original in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:51 PM

August 27, 2007

US Chamber of Commerce Opposes ADA Restoration

When you run into facile assurances that "things are better for people with disabilities than they used to be" ask if the speak knows that the world's largest business federation is now on record opposing the ADA Restoration Act of 2007.


Dear Advocates,

On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest
business federation, in a letter addressed to the Members of the
U.S. House of Representatives, went on record as opposing the ADA
Restoration Act of 2007 (H.R. 3195) and urging Members not to co-
sponsor or show support of the bill. The Chamber's letter
mischaracterizes the ADA Restoration Act as an expansion of the
ADA, when in fact, it is, as its name suggests, a restoration of
the original intent of Congress when passing the ADA in 1990
,
which was to create a level playing field for everyone who wants a
job to have an equal opportunity to work. Just like other civil
rights laws prohibit employers from basing decisions on
characteristics like race or sex, Congress wanted the ADA to stop
employers from making decisions based on disability.

However, that original, bipartisan, bicameral intent has since
been distorted by the Courts through extremely narrow
interpretations of the ADA. The employment rate of people with
disabilities has not improved and two-thirds of people with
disabilities who do not have a job indicate they would work if
they could only find employment. What's more, for those fortunate
enough to find jobs, Courts are deciding against people with
disabilities who challenge disability discrimination 97% of the
time, often before the person with a disability even has a chance
to show that the employer treated them unfairly!

The Chamber argues that they "strongly support equal opportunity
in employment" yet they adamantly oppose H.R. 3195 which seeks to
make equal opportunities for people with disabilities possible!

TAKE ACTION!!

React directly to the Chamber regarding their opposition to ADA
Restoration by writing or calling the Chamber of Commerce at:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20062-2000
Main Number: 202-659-6000
Customer Service: 1-800-638-6582

Send your complaints to the regional Chamber offices, too. To
determine contact information for the regional office nearest you,
go to:
http://www.uschamber.com/about/contact/regional.htm

To read the letter the Chamber of Commerce sent to the U.S. House
of Representatives, go to:
http://www.aapd.com/News/adainthe/070827uscc.htm


SOURCE: AAPD

Posted by rollingrains at 01:15 AM

August 23, 2007

São Paulo Eleva Gasto com Portadores de Deficiência

São Paulo vai aumentar em 7% o repasse destinado a entidades ligadas a pessoas com deficiência ou mobilidade reduzida. A informação é do governador José Serra que participou nesta quinta-feira, 23, no Jardim Paulista, zona Oeste da Capital, do fórum sobre Estatuto da Pessoa com Deficiência organizado pelo Instituto Social Democrata (ISD)...

Para o governador, a inclusão dos portares de deficiência tem ocorrido nos últimos anos de forma gradual. O avanço, observou Serra, deve ser atribuído a mobilização dos próprios interessados “e dos setores mais conscientes da sociedade”. Serra também lembrou que a tecnologia, sobretudo a informática, se tornou aliada nesse processo. “Enormes possibilidades estão sendo oferecidas com a tecnologia. Mas há muito que ser feito para promover a equidade”, completou o governador.

Dados da Secretaria Estadual de Assistência e Desenvolvimento Social indicam aplicação de R$ 65,5 milhões em 2007 – em 2006, foram R$ 60,4 milhões. “É um aumento significativo”, qualificou o governador.

No evento, Serra enumerou algumas ações do governo estadual no sentido de promover a inclusão dos portadores de deficiência. Entre elas, a norma que fixa que 7% das unidades habitacionais construídas pela CDHU (Companhia de Desenvolvimento Habitacional e Urbano) devem ser destinadas a portadores de deficiência.

Outra grande frente de atuação do Estado mencionada pelo governador está na área de transporte. Serra adiantou que, até 2012, o transporte sobre trilhos, Metrô e CPTM (Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos), aplicará mais de R$ 80 milhões para facilitar a acessibilidade dos usuários. “Estamos aplicando somente neste ano R$ 23 milhões”, afirmou Serra.

Para o governador, a inclusão dos portares de deficiência tem ocorrido nos últimos anos de forma gradual. O avanço, observou Serra, deve ser atribuído a mobilização dos próprios interessados “e dos setores mais conscientes da sociedade”. Serra também lembrou que a tecnologia, sobretudo a informática, se tornou aliada nesse processo. “Enormes possibilidades estão sendo oferecidas com a tecnologia. Mas há muito que ser feito para promover a equidade”, completou o governador.

Estatuto

As propostas apresentadas no decorrer do fórum pelos grupos de trabalho serão utilizadas como subsídio ao projeto de lei sobre a criação do Estatuto da Pessoa Portadora de Deficiência que tramita na Câmara Federal. “A aprovação pelo congresso de um Estatuto será um avanço. Daí a importância de plenários como esse que buscam trazer as nossas ruas o debate”, defendeu Serra.

Em São Paulo, o governador José Serra encaminhou em maio deste ano, projeto de lei que prevê a criação da Secretaria Estadual da Pessoa Portadora de Deficiência. Com a medida, o governador espera centralizar as atividades de planejamento, coordenação, supervisão, controle e execução das ações destinadas à tutela das pessoas portadoras de deficiência.

Caberá ainda à nova secretaria articular-se com entidades da sociedade civil vinculadas à causa da pessoa portadora de deficiência, propondo parcerias para a execução de metas, programas e projetos concebidos para o fim de melhorar a qualidade de vida desse segmento.

Além do governador Serra, participaram do fórum o ex-ministro da Educação e deputado federal Paulo Renato, a deputada estadual Célia Leão, o vereador Netinho, a presidente do ISD, Gilda Figueiredo Portugal Gouvêa, e representantes de entidades como Apae, AACD (Associação de Assistência à Criança Defeituosa), Associação dos Amigos dos Autistas (AMA), entre outras.

por
Cleber Mata

Posted by rollingrains at 02:21 AM

Update on Inclusive Travel from the BBC

Clive Gilbert writes, "Despite a new European law to prevent airlines from discriminating against disabled people, planning a holiday can be a fraught exercise for a wheelchair user." Read his observations at "Ticket, passport, wheelchair..."

Posted by rollingrains at 01:56 AM

August 22, 2007

China's New "Barrier-Free Day" -The 16th of Every Month

Here's a new policy "design statement" that I hope every country in the world adds to their wardrobe this Fall -- monthly Barrier-Free Days. Maybe we ought to coordinate it so that the wave of inclusion flows from China all the way around the world at a pace that allows for Barrier-Free World Travel.

Imagine, start in China on the 16th of the month. Swing through Southeast and into South Asia on the 17th through the 24th as various countries strut their national inclusivities. End the month on an upswing through Africa into Europe as Barrier-Free Days ripple across the calendar and across borders. Start the next month hopping from Barrier-Free Day to Barrier-Free Day on a path back to China. Create a new Barrier-Free Silk Road and go around the world in 30 days!

The Beijing government has decided to make every 16th of the month the “barrier-free” day from this August. A special theme will be set for every 16th of a month. August 16th is hotel barrier-free day, September 16th the hospital barrier-free day, October 16th the transportation barrier-free day, November 16th the scenic spots barrier-free day, December 16th the supermarket barrier-free day.

The themes and main activities of the barrier-free day in 2008 will be scheduled according to the working task and the preparation for the Olympic Games.

The programme of the barrier-free day targets barrier-free facilities in hotels, hospitals and the capital airport which have signed the contract with the committees of the Olympics and Paralympics; the barrier-free facilities of public serving like roads, banks, post offices and other facilities around the Olympic gyms; barrier-free facilities of the streets, subways, flyovers and other transportation equipments; barrier-free facilities of the scenic sites like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall; barrier-free facilities in the shopping malls and other supermarkets, libraries, museums, banks and so on.

Posted by rollingrains at 06:42 PM

August 21, 2007

Inclusive Design for Malaysia

Malaysia has an informed and articulate Universal Design and disability rights community. Unfortunately some of the conversation escapes English-only speakers around the world. That is one reason why the blog by Naziaty Yaacob (Nazy) Inclusive Design for Malaysia is so important.

The other reason is simply because it is a well-done and thoughtful blog!

One example - humor & advocacy in My Office is Not Accessible.

Another example - engaging the international dialog on Inclusive Heritage Tourism


Still another - a thoughtful essay on contextualizing disability simulation exercises to Malaysian reality:

With regards to Training on Disability, I would like to give my opinion on the use of “Simulation Exercises” as a tool or method, which is a disability awareness training module that requires the participant to experience a ‘temporary state of disability’ by having them simulate, ie using a wheelchair, blind-folded etc., which is meant for them to understand barriers.

Simulation exercises should be used in conjunction of a specific context. Let me explain a bit more. In countries such as Japan, USA and the UK, they already have (i) disability discrimination laws; (ii) the disabled people had started their campaign way back in the 70s and 80s, and also, (iii) the architects and professionals would find it unacceptable where there are legal recourse (extensive laws) if they do not plan, design and managed the built environment and public transportation according to the discrimination acts and so on. They would be deem to be unprofessional if they did not include disabled people’s needs.

Simulation exercises in Malaysia and in many other UNESCAP countries MUST be used in conjunction with an ‘activist approach’ to solving the problems at the same time.It must never be a stand-alone exercise. You need to design it with a LEARNING COMPONENT, where the participant would understand the difference between an ‘impairment’ and a ‘disabling environment’ (two different concepts) and the ‘disabling environment’ is created by society and the participants themselves. This works particularly well with engineers, architects, planners, building managers, facilities managers and the CEO of an establishment.

Continue reading her argument at http://inclusivedesign.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/debate-on-simulation-exercises/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:26 PM

August 17, 2007

India: “The disabled cannot be denied air passage”

Ananth Krishnan reports in The Hindu on the questionable air travel policy and policy development procedure that is currently being challenged throughout India. On the positive side the regulation, specifies:

According to the new requirements, “no airline shall refuse to carry physically challenged or incapacitated persons or persons with disabilities,” as long as they “do not pose a threat” to the safety of other passengers or the evacuation procedure for the aircraft.

Airlines will also not be permitted to limit the “number or types” of disabled passengers on a particular flight, except “where required for operational reasons.” The procedure for limiting disabled passengers will also be documented. Airlines will now also have to run “sensitisation and developing awareness” training programmes for staff.

Disability rights experts in transportation are providing their colleagues in India with curricula and resources to develop best-of-class trainings drawing from worldwide experience.

Those with training resources to share may send them to Mahesh Chandrasekar below.

On the negative side:

Dhanasekharan, a representative of Vidyasagar, told The Hindu that the August 15 deadline did not give disabled rights groups enough time to respond to the recommendations. “We were shocked to discover that the deadline was to day [August 15],” Mr. Dhanasekharan said. “By just putting it on the DGCA website, how can they expect all of us to be aware of it?” Vidyasagar has written to the DGCA asking it to extend the deadline for implementing the new requirements. “Before they put the requirements into effect, the DGCA has to have a consultation with disabled groups as after all we are the stake-holders,” Mr. Dhanasekharan said. “They clearly seem to not want any suggestions from us.”

Source:
http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/16/stories/2007081660221000.htm

Send training materials to:

C. Mahesh
Advocacy Coordinator
CBR Forum
14, CK Garden
Wheeler Road Extension
Bangalore - 560 084
Tel - 080- 2549 7387 or 2549 7388

advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com

Posted by rollingrains at 02:25 PM

August 10, 2007

Willful Misconduct: Airline Liable for Death from Lost Baggage

eTurboNews reports:

The United States Court of Appeals upheld a lower Federal Court's ruling against American Airlines. The airline forced an elderly woman to check her bag along with necessary medical devices.

The airline lost her checked items.

The court found that American Airlines was responsible for her subsequent death after losing the bag.

The lower court has held that American Airlines should pay $226,238.81 to the relatives of the woman because she died soon after her bag was lost.

For the story see, Airline Liable for Death from Lost Baggage

Posted by rollingrains at 10:19 PM

August 03, 2007

The European Air Act

Press coverage continues on the new European Air Act.

New European Air rules to ensure fairer treatment for disabled passengers are welcome but need an enforcing body says the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

The new Regulation, which comes into effect on 26 July, means that for the first time, disabled passengers flying within Europe cannot be refused a flight because of their disability.

But if a disabled person is discriminated against and wants redress, there is no enforcing body, such as the DRC or the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights, to help support their claim.

An additional gap in the new Regulation means that some disabled people aren’t protected by the new rules – such as someone with HIV or Tourettes – because they are not classed as disabled. Individuals can face discrimination because of the stigma of their condition – for example, the DRC heard from a man with Tourettes who was refused a flight because of his impairment.

Responding to the new Regulation, the Chairman of the DRC, Sir Bert Massie said:

"These are important new rules. For the first time, disabled people have the right to fair treatment when flying.

“But some disabled travellers - for example people like former Culture Secretary Lord (Chris) Smith or Big Brother winner Pete Bennett - could still be treated unfairly without redress.

“The Regulation does not permit a UK body to help represent a disabled person in court. Without this, disabled travellers who’ve faced unfair treatment are unlikely to take the gruelling path to the courtroom.

“These gaps in the Regulation can only be safely plugged if the current exemption of air transport from the Disability Discrimination Act was lifted.

“The new Commission for Equality and Human Rights must be given the power to support individuals who have faced discrimination when travelling by air. Without this, the Regulation won’t bite.”

Source:

http://www.drc.org.uk/newsroom/news_releases/2007/eu_regs_air.aspx

Posted by rollingrains at 09:15 PM

July 31, 2007

"Complete Streets" -- Post-Petroleum Pedestrianism?

The concept is "complete streets." The driver is demographics -- and the-end-of-automotive-hegemony.

John Ritter writes in USA today:

A growing number of states and local governments are rejecting a half-century of transportation practice and demanding that streets accommodate all types of travel, not just automobiles.

The concept of "complete streets" — with bike lanes, sidewalks and room for mass transit — has attracted a diverse national alliance of supporters, including advocates for senior citizens and the disabled.

Watch for AARP's Livable Communities initiative to take leadership on innovative solutions incorporating the Disability Community's legacy of Universal Design:

"As an aging society, we need to look at the ability to get where we want to go not just as the driver of a car," says Elinor Ginzler, AARP's livable communities director. "Walking safely, getting to the bus stop safely, has to become more possible."

More:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-07-29-complete-streets_N.htm?csp=34

Thanks to Ruth Harrigan for this news tip!

Posted by rollingrains at 09:38 PM

July 28, 2007

Desenho Universal & a Qualidade dos Serviços Turísticos para a Melhor Idade (Portuguese)

Tem ouvido ja da programa Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade?

O Projeto Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade, a ser lançado no próximo mês de agosto, oferecerá pacotes de viajem aéreo ou rodoviário, com produtos customizados de nível turístico superior e luxo.

O pagamento pode ser efetuado através de cheque, dinheiro, cartão de crédito e/ou débito, além de crédito consignado via Banco do Brasil e Caixa Econômica Federal para viagens no valor de até 3 mil reais, que podem ser parceladas em até 12 vezes com juros de 1% ao mês.

A programa vai estimular a adotacao do Inclusive Tourism com Desenho Universal tambem:


Entre outros benefícios, o programa contribui para o fortalecimento do mercado turístico interno, estimula a atividade em períodos de baixa ocupação, eleva a qualidade dos equipamentos e serviços turísticos, estrutura os destinos e diversifica a oferta turística brasileira, e promove o desenvolvimento da pequena e média empresa, que são a maioria na atividade turística nacional.

Como sabe a industria:

Os “avós de antigamente” já não são mais os mesmos. Com espírito jovem e muita animação eles resolveram que depois de ter trabalhado a vida toda, não há nada melhor do que tirar férias merecidas e duradouras e ocupar seu tempo viajando.

E como ja disse, cumplido com o meu contrato com SeniorNet estou pronto voltar pelo Brasil escrever para o mercado norteamericano do roteiro Viaja Mais - Melhor Idade!

Recursos:

Balneário Camboriú

Ceará

Maceió

Manaus

Para

"Renovando Sempre"

Articulo de 2004 analizando acontecimentos em Santos para a "melhor idade"

Posted by rollingrains at 01:12 AM

July 26, 2007

The Launch of EU Inclusive Skies Regulations

From the European Disability Forum (EDF):

Brussels, 26 July 2006 – “It took us more than three years to obtain this important piece of legislation and I would like to congratulate all those that have actively contributed to make it happen. The European Union has taken an important step forward to advance disability rights in Europe, but we need to continue to work together in order to overcome the current gaps of the Regulation”, said today Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum.

The overall aim of the Regulation is to guarantee equal treatment for all passengers, including ‘any person with reduced mobility or sensory impairment, intellectual disability or any other cause of disability, age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers’.


Only articles 3 (‘Prevention of refusal of carriage’) and 4 (‘Derogations, special conditions and information’) of the new Regulation enter into force today. The entire Regulation, which is directly applicable to European airports and airlines, will be totally effective in one year.

For the European Disability Forum, the umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled people in the European Union that has lobbied the European union in favour of the Regulation, there is still room for improvement:

We are worried that the exceptions established in Article 4 will be used to continue discriminating disabled air passengers. If we want the Regulation to be effective, the safety reasons that allow to deny the boarding of a disabled person need to be clarified”, said Vardakastanis.

According to the Regulation, an airline can still refuse the boarding of a disabled passenger due to ‘Safety reasons established by national, Community or International law’. “We need the European Union to clearly define these exceptions and to agree on common safety reasons across Europe. Otherwise, a disabled passenger might be allowed to travel to a Member State applying certain rules, but not to come back!”, stressed EDF President.

EDF campaign on air passengers’ rights will therefore target the adoption of common safety rules in Europe, as well as the wide dissemination of the provisions of the law. The EDF will also concentrate its efforts to improve the Regulation, as well as to obtain similar legislation for all forms of transport.

EDF President: “Disabled people have new rights and they must apply them. It is important to inform them and to encourage them to complain if these rights are violated anywhere in Europe. This will ensure better quality for all passengers, with and without disabilities”.


For more information, please visit EDF webpage: http://www.edf-feph.org/en/policy/transport/trans_pol.htm


The text of the Regulation can be downloaded from:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_204/l_20420060726en00010009.pdf

For more information, please contact: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, EDF Communication and Press Officer; Tel office: (+ 32 2) 282 46 04; E-mail: communication@edf-feph.org


The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 50 million disabled citizens in Europe. EDF membership includes national umbrella organisations of disabled people from all EU/EEA countries, as well as European NGOs representing the different types of disabilities. The mission of the European Disability Forum is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:19 PM

L’espace aérien : ouvert aux passagers handicapés? (French)

Alors que les premières dispositions du règlement européen sur les droits des passagers aériens entrent en vigueur, le Forum européen des personnes handicapées met en garde sur les lacunes de cette législation.

Bruxelles, 26 juillet 2006 – « Il nous aura fallu plus de trois ans avant l’obtention de cette importante législation et j’aimerais féliciter tous ceux qui ont contribué activement à atteindre notre objectif. L’Union européenne a fait un grand pas pour mieux protéger les droits des personnes handicapées, mais nous devons continuer à travailler ensemble afin de surmonter les lacunes de ce règlement », a déclaré aujourd’hui le Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées, Yannis Vardakastanis.

Le but du règlement est de garantir l’égalité de traitement de tous les passagers, y compris « toute personne avec un handicap physique, sensoriel ou moteur, handicap intellectuel, ou avec toute autre cause de handicap, ou de l'âge, et dont la situation requiert une attention appropriée et l'adaptation à ses besoins particuliers du service mis à la disposition de tous ».


Uniquement les articles 3 (« Interdiction de refuser le transport ») et 4 (« Dérogations, conditions spéciales et information ») du nouveau règlement entrent en vigueur aujourd’hui. L’ensemble du Règlement, qui sera d’application dans tous les aéroports européens et sur toutes les compagnies aériennes, entrera en vigueur dans un an.

Pour le Forum européen des personnes handicapées, l’organisation faîtière qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de personnes handicapées dans l’Union européenne et qui est derrière l’adoption de ce règlement, la législation devra être améliorée.

“Nous sommes préoccupés parce que les exceptions énumérées dans l’article 4 laissent la porte entrouverte à des futures discriminations envers les passagers handicapés. Pour que le règlement soit réellement effectif, il faudra clarifier les motifs de sécurité qui peuvent être invoqués lorsqu’une personne handicapée se voit l’embarquement refusé » souligne M. Vardakastanis.

Selon le règlement, une compagnie aérienne peut refuser l’embarquement d’un passager handicapé suivant les exigences de sécurité applicables, qu'elles soient prévues par le droit international, communautaire ou national. « L’Union européenne doit clairement définir ces exceptions et se mettre d’accord sur des règles communes en matière de sécurité. Dans le cas contraire, un passager handicapé pourra voyager vers un Etat membre où ces règles le lui permettent, mais ne pourra plus rentrer dans son pays ! » rappelle le Président du Forum.

Les futures activités du Forum dans ce domaine cibleront l’adoption de ces règles harmonisées de sécurité, ainsi qu’une ample diffusion des dispositions prévues par la loi. Le FEPH concentrera également ses efforts dans l’amélioration du règlement. Il tentera aussi d’obtenir une législation similaire applicable à tous les autres moyens de transport.

Le Président du FEPH : « Les personnes handicapées ont aujourd’hui des droits et ils doivent les exercer. Nous devons les en informer et les encourager à porter plainte en cas de violation de ces droits sur le territoire de l’Union. Nous contribuerons ainsi à garantir un transport de qualité pour tous les passagers, avec ou sans handicap »


Pour plus d’information, beuillez visiter la page du site du EDF (seulement en version anglaise) :
http://www.edf-feph.org/en/policy/transport/trans_pol.htm


Le texte du règlement peut être téléchargé sur:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/fr/oj/2006/l_204/l_20420060726fr00010009.pdf

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter: Helena González-Sancho Bodero, Responsable de Communication et Presse; Tel: (+32 2) 282 46 04; GSM : (+ 32 ) 485 64 39 93; Courriel: communication@edf-feph.org


Le Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH) est la plateforme européenne qui représente les intérêts de 50 millions de citoyens handicapés au sein de l’Union européenne. Les organisations membres du FEPH incluent les plateformes nationales des personnes handicapées de tous les Etats membres de l’UE et de l’Espace économique européen, ainsi que les ONG européennes représentant les différents types de handicap. La mission du FEPH est de garantir le respect total des droits fondamentaux et humains des personnes handicapées par le biais d’une implication active dans le développement et application des politiques européennes.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:03 AM

July 19, 2007

AirAsia Discrimination Not Tolerated in Malaysia

From Peter Tan in Malaysia:

The Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) in Malaysia carried out a protest at the Low Cost carrier, Air Asia, Terminal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. There were about 50 of us who carried placards denouncing the discriminatory measures taken by our country's budget airline Air Asia for refusing to take us if we cannot walk up the steps to the plane.

Links to newspaper reports and response from the Ministry of Transport Malaysia can be
found in the following:

http://www.petertan.com/blog/category/disability-issues/air-asia/

A statement from BEAT (via the blog Present Point Power )

DATE : 15TH JULY, 2007, SUNDAY, 11 AM AT LCCT

PRESS STATEMENTS ON AIRASIA’S REFUSAL TO TAKE PASSENGERS WHO REQUIRE SPECIAL ASSISTANCE TO BOARD AIRCRAFT.

We, members of Barrier-free Environment and Accessible Transport Group ( BEAT), are gathered here this morning, to express our outrage and disappointment with AirAsia, for its refusal to take passengers who require special assistance to board the aircraft.

In AirAsia’s Terms and Conditions, it states :-

1. AirAsia is unable to accept passengers who are completely immobile
2. As access to our aircraft is by the boarding stairs, the carriage of persons with limited mobility is subject to whether they are able to climb the boarding stairs unaided or aided.
3. A passenger who is able to walk up the boarding steps unaided may travel without a carer.
4. If the passenger is unable to climb the boarding stairs without any assistance, then AirAsia will request that the passenger travels with a carer.

We find AirAsia’s terms and conditions blatantly discriminating, unfair and unacceptable !! A check with AirAsia Call Centre confirms that only those who DO NOT require special assistance to climb the boarding stairs are allowed to travel in AirAsia. These terms and conditions have denied disabled passengers and persons with limited mobility, their right to fly like everyone else !! These terms and conditions imposed by AirAsia has caused further inconvenience and hardship to them.

The freedom to fly should be applicable to EVERYONE including passengers who are immobile and persons with limited mobility who may travel unaccompanied but require assistance to go onboard the aircraft.

AirAsia, Asia’s leading and largest low fare airline, has failed to live up to its slogan “Now Everyone Can Fly”. It is obvious that “ Now Not Everyone Can Fly” and “ Now Not Everyone Is Allowed To Fly in AirAsia”.

AirAsia has failed in its responsibility and obligation to provide facilities and services without discrimination, harrassment and vilification of its passengers.

We are here to reaffirm our commitment to fight any form of discrimination against disabled persons !! Discrimination against any person on the basis of one’s physical condition is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.

We are here to demand that AirAsia reviews its policies and takes reasonable steps to ensure that the facilities and services provided and the terms on which they are provided are non discriminatory !!

The provision of such facilities not only benefit disabled passengers but also senior citizens and international tourists who are wheelchair users and their family members who may choose Malaysia as their holiday destination. Besides this, it also further enhance the corporate image of AirAsia and tourism industry of Malaysia.

We also call on Malaysia Airports Berhad to make sure that all new and old airports be equipped with facilities to improve accessibility to disabled passengers.

We are deeply concerned that despite assurances from relevant authorities and Ministers, disabled persons continue to face barriers and discrimination in their everyday life.

Come this 31st August, Malaysians from all walks of life will be celebrating our country’s 50th year of independence. But disabled persons here are still struggling to understand and experience the meaning of independence.

We have internationally well known mega development projects called Southern Corridors, Northern Corridors, Eastern Corridors, etc, etc, but disabled persons are still struggling to get out of their house corridors !!

We have RapidKL which has launched 1200 new buses on the roads but none of these are accessible buses. Despite our appeals, Prasarana, a 100% government owned company, continues to purchase and launch non-accessible buses ! We have newly launched taxis which cannot take wheelchair passengers due to limited booth space filled with gas tank !

We have light rail transit system called STAR Line or Ampang Line and Monorail but are completely inaccessible ! Now, we have AirAsia, which has done the nation proud by being the fastest growing and largest low fare airline in the region, refusing to take passengers who are immobile requiring assistance to go onboard !

We call upon YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as Prime Minister of Malaysia, to hear our cries and consider our pleas for full inclusion in the overall Masterplan and Masterpolicy of the country. We ask to be treated with the same dignity and respect as equal members of society and full citizens of the country.

We also urge our Prime Minister to review the proposed Disabled Persons Act and to endorse the “ UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” to protect and guarantee disabled persons the same rights as other persons and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.

Thank you.

Christine Lee
BEAT Coordinator

V. Murugeswaran
BEAT Assistant Coordinator

Peter Tan
BEAT Assistant Coordinator

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) comprises 18 Organisations as listed below :-

• Persatuan Damai Orang-Orang Kurang Upaya Selangor & W.P
• Malaysian Spinal Injuries Association
• Persatuan Mobiliti Selangor & Kuala Lumpur
• Persatuan Orang-Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia
• Society of the Blind in Malaysia
• Malaysian Association for the Blind
• Society of the Chinese Disabled Persons Malaysia
• Persatuan Kristian Shuang Fu untuk orang Kurang Upaya Kuala Lumpur
• Beautiful Gate Foundation for The Disabled
• Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan
• Selangor Cheshire Home
• Malaysian Information Network on Disabilities
• Dignity & Services
• United Voice (Self-Advocacy Society of Persons with Learning Disabilities Selangor & Kuala Lumpur)
• Selangor Council for Welfare and Social Development
• Majlis Paralimpik Malaysia
• Malaysian Council For Rehabilitation
• Lovely Home-

More at

Malaysia Hotel News:
Order to Malaysia Airports and AirAsia: Ease movement of the disabled
http://malaysiahotelnews.blogspot.com/2007/07/order-to-malaysia-airports-and-airasia.html#links

Corporate Social responsibility Asia:
Protests against AirAsia
http://www.csr-asia.com/index.php?p=10320

Daily Express
AirAsia, MAB told to ensure disabled are not deprived
http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=51400

Posted by rollingrains at 01:51 PM

July 16, 2007

UN Convention Reaches Milestone in Signatures

On 9 July, Qatar became the hundredth country to sign the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
, which
opened for signature on 30 March.

The landmark Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly
in December 2006 after three years of negotiations that included
members of the disability community, will take effect 30 days
after the deposit of the twentieth ratification with the
Secretary-General.

In addition, 55 countries have, as of today, signed the Optional
Protocol to the Convention, which allows individuals and groups to
petition the yet to be established Committee on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, once all national recourse procedures
have been exhausted.

"We are pleased by the commitment shown by so many Member States,"
said Thomas Schindlmayr of the United Nations Secretariat for the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The countries that have signed both the Convention and its
Optional Protocol are: Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda,
Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Central African Republic, Chile, Republic of the Congo,
Costa Rica, Ctte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Ghana,
Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon,
Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia,
Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of
Korea, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia,
South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda
and Yemen.

The signatories to only the Convention are: Australia, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark,
Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Greece, Guinea, Guyana,
Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Poland, Qatar,
Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, United
Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu and the European
Community.

Jamaica also ratified the Convention on 30 March. The Treaty needs
19 additional ratifications to come into force - a figure the
United Nations Secretariat of the Convention feels will be reached
by the end of the year.

When the Convention opened for signature at the United Nations on
30 March, 81 Member States and the European Community signed the
treaty and 44 signed the Optional Protocol. Together, this is a
record for the first day of signature for any Convention.

For information, please visit:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable or contact at the
Department of Public Information, Daniel Shepard,
tel.: 212.963.9495, e-mail: shepard@un.org, or Edoardo Bellando,
tel.: 212.963.8275, e-mail: bellando@un.org.

SOURCE: United Nations via AAPD

Posted by rollingrains at 01:04 AM

July 08, 2007

India's Right to Information Campaign for PwD

The following is courtesy of Mahesh Chandrasekar:

Sakshi Trust

I am very happy to share with you a guide developed by Sakshi Trust and ActionAid India on the use of RTI to get information related to the issues faced by persons with disabilities.

This guide can also be downloaded from the following link http://www.actionaidindia.org/RTI_guide_Disability_Issues.htm

I am very happy to share with you a guide developed by Sakshi Trust and ActionAid India on the use of RTI to get information related to the issues faced by persons with disabilities

Some of the current issues such as:

* Getting a Disability Certificate
* Getting an allocation in Poverty Alleviation Schemes
* Ensuring barrier free access in Public spaces and offices
* Access to education and related services for PWDs
* Employment opportunities for the disabled
* Getting Assistive Devices
* Ensuring complaint are heard by the Commisioner for PWDs.

For each of these issues model RTI applications have been developed in this guide that can help you solve the problem

We kindly request you to circulate the information widely and use the guide extensive

This guide can also be downloaded from the following link http://www.actionaidindia.org/RTI_guide_Disability_Issues.htm

Kind regards

C. Mahesh
Advocacy Coordinator

CBR Forum
14, CK Garden
Wheeler Road Extension
Bangalore - 560 084

Tel - 080- 2549 7387 or 2549 7388

advocacy.cbrforum@gmail.com

cbrforum@blr.vsnl.net.in

cbrforum@gmail.com

Posted by rollingrains at 05:11 PM

July 07, 2007

UK: Aviation Becomes Accessible to All

Press release:

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (077) issued by The Government News Network on 5 July 2007

Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick today outlined measures coming in later
this month to give disabled people new rights when travelling by air in Europe.

From 26 July 2007 it will be illegal for an airline, travel agent or tour
operator to refuse a booking on the grounds of disability or to refuse to
embark a disabled person who has a valid ticket and reservation.


The law also covers persons with reduced mobility, including people who would not normally be classed as disabled, such as those with a temporary mobility problem.

The new rules will mean that anyone who has been refused boarding on the
grounds of disability or reduced mobility will be able to complain to the
Disability Rights Commission (DRC). The Commission will advise them on their
rights and could refer the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
which will have power to prosecute. If found guilty, an airline could face
an unlimited fine.

Mr Fitzpatrick said:

"The new measure coming into force later this month is only the first step
in ensuring that disabled people and those with reduced mobility have the
same access to air travel as others.

"The second stage, which will come into force next year, will bring further
significant benefits to disabled travellers. When all these measures are in
place disabled passengers will be assured that they can expect a consistent
and seamless level of service from airports and airlines."

Background Notes:

1. EC Regulation 1107/2006 imposes new legal obligations on airport operators,
air carriers, their agents or tour operators. The Regulation was largely
progressed under the UK's Presidency of the European Union in 2005.

2. The Regulation comes into force in two stages. The first stage (prohibiting
refusal of booking or embarkation) comes into force on 26 July 2007. In very
occasional circumstances these rights may not apply - for example, where there
are legitimate safety or technical reasons why a disabled person cannot board
an aircraft. The rest of the Regulation will apply from 26 July 2008. From
this date, airport managing bodies will be required to organise the provision
of the services necessary to enable disabled/reduced mobility passengers to
board, disembark and transit between flights, with costs recovered through
a charge on airlines proportionate to the total number of passengers they
carry to and from the airport.

3. The two stage approach gives the industry time to make changes to
contractual arrangements for provision of ground-handling assistance.

4. In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority has been designated to enforce
the Regulation. The Disability Rights Commission has been designated to
handle complaints from passengers (along with the Consumer Council for
Northern Ireland).

5. The Government has worked with the UK aviation industry to produce a
voluntary code of practice (published in 2003) which aims to improve access
to air travel for disabled people. We intend to revise this code by 2008 to
reflect the new European Regulation and ensure the spread of good practice.

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3118
E-mail: press@dft.gov.uk
Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk


Source:
http://media.netpr.pl/notatka_80677.html

Posted by rollingrains at 08:53 PM

July 04, 2007

Due Diligence on the Part of Airport Assistants for People with Disabilities

News media have picked up on a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation last week filed by two SEIU members.

Service workers at Los Angeles International Airport filed a federal complaint on Thursday, saying they had not received adequate training for assisting travelers with disabilities. The two workers said in the complaint that their employer, Aero Port Services, had not offered real training in how to operate a wheelchair since 2003. Because of that, they said, workers dropped three passengers with disabilities in the span of a year.

KPFK Evening News, Thu, June 28, 2007
http://64.27.15.184/parchive/mp3/kpfk_070628_181500kpfknews.mp3

Los Angeles Times June 29, 2007
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-disabled29jun29,1,2937708.story?coll=la-headlines-california_&ctrack=1&cset=true

Wheelchair provider at LAX targeted
By Francisco Vara-Orta
Times Staff Writer

Two workers who provide wheelchair assistance to disabled travelers at
Los Angeles International Airport filed a complaint Thursday with the
U.S. Department of Transportation, alleging that their employer has
failed to provide legally mandated training and properly maintain
wheelchairs.

Backed by a group of eight disability and workers' rights organizations,
the complaint alleges that Aero Port Services has failed to train some
of its 350 wheelchair assistance employees, leading to eyewitness
accounts of three customers being dropped from their wheelchairs in the
last 12 months, among other problems.

But Stephan Park, director of Aero Port Services' legal department,
rebutted the allegations, adding that he had not yet seen the complaint.

Park said the company has nurses provide training in how to help people
in wheelchairs. He said the company has 75 new wheelchairs in its fleet
of 100 and has ordered an additional 40 chairs.

For about four years, Inglewood-based Aero Port Services has had a
contract to serve the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Park said the complaint may be an attempt to "put pressure" on the
company to unionize.

"We are one of only two ground-handling companies that are not
unionized," he said.

Carolina Briones of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, a
labor-backed community group, said Parks was mistaken.

Unionizing "is not what the complaint is about," Briones said. "This is
about safety for the disabled and those handling them."

The employees' complaint states that Aero Port Services has violated
parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access
Act, requiring that airlines and airports make accommodations to assist
disabled passengers with traveling.

/francisco.varaorta@latimes.com/

Daily Breeze.com Friday, June 29, 2007

http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/8241147.html

LAX workers seek training for aiding disabled passengers
Service employees say three passengers in wheelchairs were dropped.
From staff reports

Service workers at Los Angeles International Airport filed a federal
complaint on Thursday, saying they had not received adequate training
for assisting travelers with disabilities.

The two workers said in the complaint that their employer, Aero Port
Services, had not offered real training in how to operate a wheelchair
since 2003. Because of that, they said, workers dropped three passengers
with disabilities in the span of a year.

The workers also said they had not been trained to help passengers with
different types of disabilities, such as visual impairment. They argued
that the federal Air Carrier Access Act requires such training, as well
as periodic refresher courses.

"We do our best to figure it out," one of the workers, Tim Maddox, said
at a press conference in front of the main international terminal at
LAX. The other worker, Xiomara Osorio, said that it's "uncomfortable for
us and for the passengers to have to guess what to do."

The company had not received formal notice of the complaint by late
Thursday afternoon, said Stephan Park, the director of its legal
department. He declined to comment on the workers' claims: "I can't
comment on something I haven't seen."

Aero Port Services employs about 800 people at LAX, Park said; he
estimated that about 300 of them work in what the company Web site calls
"wheelchair operations." The company also offers security and cargo
services at the airport, according to its Web site.

The two workers filed their complaint with the U.S. Department of
Transportation. A copy provided to the media laid out a list of demands,
including a "disability liaison" to train workers and penalties against
the company.

Several advocates for disabled people added their names to the complaint
as supporters. They included the American Association of People with
Disabilities and the California Alliance for Retired Americans.

Workers for Aero Port and other service providers at LAX have been
pushing for better pay and working conditions in recent months.

Posted by rollingrains at 07:33 PM

US Census Reports Releases Statistics on Disability

U.S. Census Bureau releases disability statistics

The Census Bureau recently released a Fact Sheet on Disabilities
in preparation for the 17th Anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Updated numbers show the following:

* 51.2 million people have some level of disability
(18 % of population).

* 32.5 million have a severe disability (12% of whole population).

* 4 million children have a disability (or 11% of children
ages 6 to 14
)

To view the entire fact sheet, go to:
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/
facts_for_features_special_editions/010102.html

Editor's note:

The preceding data were collected from a variety of
sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other
sources of error. Questions or comments should be directed to the
Census Bureau's Public Information Office: phone: 301-763-3030;
fax: 301-763-3762; or email: pio@census.gov.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau

Posted by rollingrains at 01:44 AM

July 03, 2007

Good Work Carlson Hotels!

cis_logo

I have always had good experience with the Country Inn & Suites by Calson in Naperville, Illinois either as a guest or when referring guests. I was pleased to learn today that they are taking a leadership position - and receiving credit for it.

Kudos for Carlsons' foray into Universal Design thinking and their work to accommodate people of short stature!

Country Inns and Suites in Naperville is one of 950 Carlson Hotels where Sandra Wolf is the manager.

"Carlson Hotels believes in diversity and inclusiveness, and through that, they take it beyond the realms of ethnicity and they always try to accommodate all kinds of guests," Wolf said.

She says the idea of providing accommodations to people of short stature came from Matt Roloff, the star of TLC's reality show "Little People, Big World".

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=community&id=5430953

And congratulations to Sandra Wolf. If she really does manage 950 Carlson Hotels as ABC7 Chicago.com reports she must be someone extraordinary!

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 PM

July 02, 2007

Integrating Universal Design Principles in Asset Building Program

Universal Design began as a design philosophy applied to the arrangement of space -- architecture, stage design, landscape design. It grew in parallel with a liberation philosophy of its era. That philosophy was radically interested in equity.

As Universal Design has evolved and been popularized it has come full circle as an encapsulated summary of the disability rights philosophy from which it sprang in the 1970's. Universal Design thinkers have been reinserting the concept in an ever widening circle of societal settings. Here Dede Leydorf of the World Institute on Disability presents
Integrating Universal Design Principles in Asset Building Programs

More:

http://www.wid.org/publications/integrating-universal-design-principles-in-asset-building-programs/

Posted by rollingrains at 02:44 PM

Monitoring the Skys: Flight Rights @ Disability Now

flight-rights

Find out what is going on with airlines and travel for people with disabilities at Disability Now's Flight Rights site here:

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/campaigns/flight/index.htm

baywatch

And, when they're not watching the skies, Disability Now is watching parking bays. Join their July 2007 survey on the abuse of disabled parked at:

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/news/news_jun_2007_015.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 03:07 AM | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Simi Linton on the Evolution of Adaptation

simi_linton

When Simi Linton began her blog not long ago I am certain that some server somewhere measuring the Blogoshere registered a spike in "the Force." Today she posts a reflection on "adaptation" where she observes:

“Survival of the fittest” means best fit of life forms and their environments. Attempts to create human perfection is wrongheaded and prejudicial. Instead, as a society we should focus on creating environments (physical, social, cultural etc) that increase survival, comfort and the active participation of all members of society.

She explains:

In the sixth edition of Origin of the Species, Darwin, discusses various criticisms of his theory of natural selection that have come to light since the original publication. He notes that a “distinguished German naturalist has asserted that the weakest part of my theory is that I consider all organic beings as imperfect: what I have really said is that all are not as perfect as they might have been in relation to their conditions.” (P. 288 The Origin of the Species, 6th edition, January 1872)

Here is an example of where Darwin shines as a very early proponent of the social model of disability. Whereas the German naturalist interprets Darwin as finding imperfection in individuals, Darwin recognized that individuals “perfection” can only be understood in relation to their environment.

For the full article, Adaptation is in the Air, follow this link to Disability Culture Watch:

http://similinton.com/blog/?p=43

Posted by rollingrains at 10:27 AM

June 22, 2007

US Access Board Proposes Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas

Outdoor accessibility has been a long-deferred issue in the US. The Access Board is taking it on. The following is a communication from the US Access Board:

The Board has released for public comment new accessibility guidelines for Federal parks and recreation areas. As proposed, the guidelines address access to new or altered trails, beaches, and picnic and camping areas on sites managed by the Federal government. Achieving accessibility in outdoor environments has long been a source of inquiry due to challenges and constraints posed by terrain, the degree of development, construction practices and materials, and other factors. In developing these guidelines, the Board seeks to clarify how, and to what extent, accessibility criteria can be applied to outdoor developed areas.

The guidelines specify where compliance is required and provide detailed technical criteria for achieving access. These specifications derive from existing Board guidelines for buildings and facilities, but have been modified and tailored for application to outdoor developed areas. Conditions that necessitate departures are recognized, including situations where meeting certain provisions would compromise natural features, require prohibited construction methods or materials, or be infeasible due to terrain. For example, a portion of a trail could be exempt from minimum width requirements where rock outcroppings or similar natural features restrict the trail width.

The guidelines were developed by a regulatory negotiation committee chartered by the Board. The Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee’s 27 members included representatives from parks and outdoor recreation associations, disability groups, state and Federal land management agencies, and others. This rulemaking approach enables interested groups and stakeholders to assume a leadership role in drafting a new regulation and provides a forum for different, and sometimes competing, interests to reach consensus on its substance. The Board’s proposal substantively tracks the detailed specifications developed by the committee and submitted to the Board.

The guidelines would apply to sites developed or altered by Federal land management agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Army Corps of Engineers, among others. The Board intends to develop guidelines for outdoor developed areas controlled by non-Federal entities at a future date.

The guidelines, which are posted on the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov/outdoor/nprm/, are available for comment until October 18th. A notice published with the guidelines discusses the provisions, poses questions to the public on various issues, and includes instructions for providing comments. Comments can be submitted by email, fax, or mail. In addition, the Board will hold public hearings on the guidelines in Denver on July 24th and in Washington, D.C. on September 6th. For further information, contact Bill Botten at botten@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0014 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

Overview of the Proposed Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas

The guidelines would apply to outdoor developed areas constructed or altered by Federal land management agencies. Exemptions and departures from certain criteria are recognized where access would:

▪ substantially harm cultural, historic, religious, or significant natural features or characteristics;

▪ substantially alter the nature of the setting or its purpose;

▪ require prohibited construction methods or materials;

▪ be infeasible due to terrain or prevailing construction practices.


These exceptions apply primarily to requirements for trails. As proposed, they would permit departures only from those specifications that would pose one of the recognized conflicts. All other specifications would still apply.

Trails

Specifications for trails address firmness and stability, running and cross slopes, width, and other characteristics. They would apply to new trails or to altered portions of existing ones. Application would be limited to trails that already connect to designated trailheads or to existing accessible trails so that compliance results in a continuous accessible network. Exceptions and conditions permit departures where compliance would be difficult due to factors such as topography or would conflict with prevailing construction practices. For example, at sites where only natural surface materials are allowed, certain departures from criteria for firmness and stability may be allowed. To make compliance more feasible, some trail specifications differ considerably from existing Board guidelines for accessible routes, such as those permitting a steeper and more continuous running slope.

Beaches

The guidelines address beach access and would require access routes to the water’s edge at intervals up to a half mile at new beaches. Accessible beach routes also would be required at redeveloped beaches that are served or bordered by pedestrian routes, such as a boardwalk. Criteria for these routes address surface, slope, width and other features and are similar to those for trails. Temporary beach routes would be permitted in alterations.


Picnic and Camping Areas

Scoping and technical requirements for picnic and camping elements are included in the guidelines. These provisions cover:

▪ picnic tables ▪ fire rings, fireplaces, and wood stoves

▪ cooking surfaces ▪ trash containers

▪ overlooks and viewing areas ▪ benches

▪ utilities and sinks ▪ warming huts

▪ rinsing showers and pit toilets ▪ signage

▪ parking for camp sites and camping vehicles

For most elements, access would be required to at least half the number provided in each area. The guidelines also address connecting accessible routes to these elements. Specifications for these routes are more stringent than those for trails since camping and picnic areas typically involve more site development and are subject to fewer accessibility challenges.

Supplementary Technical Provisions

The proposed guidelines are structured as a stand-alone document, although many provisions derive from existing facility guidelines. They include a section of supplementary technical provisions that address fundamental aspects of accessibility, such as wheelchair turning space and accessible reach ranges.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:29 AM

June 20, 2007

Violation in Chennai: Air Travel Denied Disability Activist

Let me state my bias from the outset, "I support Rajeev Rajan and his discrimination complaint against SpiceJet and JetLite." Further, I find it very encouraging that the government of India has taken swift and forceful action on his behalf. I have asked Rajeev to send in his own account of what occurred for publication in the Rolling Rains Report.

Here's a point under debate. Were the airline personnel malicious? Insensitive? Ignorant?

On the one hand, none of that is important in light of the abuse of Rajeev's rights and dignity.

On the other, locating the source of the problem may illustrate that we have further evidence supporting the California SEIU's claim that airline workers, who often have the best of intentions, are placed in impossible situations through lack of training. If that is true, then we have the opportunity for a truly global movement of solidarity in which both consumers and service providers are passionatelys striving for the same outcome.

My observation is that, for all the promise of this encouraging convergence of goals the cause of the problem lies in the failure to design transportation systems around the principles of Universal Design. And, that failure of imagination points to systemtized injustice embedded in travel industry business practices and resulting in lost revenue. The cause of the problem lives in managerial suites far removed from the site of the conflict.

Monday, June 18, 2007 (Chennai, New Delhi)

Rajeev Rajan is someone who fights for the rights of the disabled worldwide but Air Sahara denied him a boarding pass to fly from Chennai to Delhi...

The government has reacted strongly to NDTV's report of a disabled person who was not allowed to board an Air Sahara flight on Monday evening in Chennai without first getting a fit-to-fly certificate.

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a notice to the managements of SpiceJet and JetLite (Air Sahara's new name) asking for an immediate explanation. The airlines could face action if the DGCA is not satisfied with its reply.


The article by Sam Daniel and Sandeep Phukan goes on further to explain:

Rajan says the airline authorities insisted on an escort and a fitness to fly certificate and called the police to evict him.

His repeated pleas that he is a frequent flier and ought to be treated with dignity went unheard.

When Rajeev contacted another airline, SpiceJet, they too refused him a ticket.

All of us with disabilities know that we are too often called upon to provide the sort of "just-in-time" training at the point of service that Mr. Rajan attempted. I suggest that we start billing for these services.

There is a predictable frequency to the ignorance about our comunity by those we have paid to serve us as passengers. The cure for ignorance is education. Are they being educated by anyone besides passengers? To what management level within the air transportation industry must this ignorance be eradicated before the policy of pervasive underpreparedness of front line professionals is eliminated?

I applaud Mr. Rajan's decision to take this incident to consumer court.

This ia a generous act of public education on his part. He is uplifting the ignorant from their moral confusion about the rights and realities of the disability community.

As a point of law, I hold that he is entitled to compensation for providing these educational services. He ought to be compensated at the rates customary for any professional educator. He has spent a lifetime mastering the content he is imparting to his student. His compensation ought to include the "course development time" he has invested -- a lifetime of becoming an expert on living with cerebral palsy.

Full article:

DGCA issues notice to Air Sahara
http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070015952

Posted by rollingrains at 04:58 PM

Post-Katrina: US Access Board to Name Advisory Panel on Emergency Transportable Housing

The Access Board will determine guidelines on emergency housing in the wake of disasters such as Katrina.

The only real question: Will all FEMA-funded manufactured housing units be Visitable?

Board to Name Advisory Panel on Emergency Transportable Housing

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina exposed a number of shortcomings in the government’s ability to respond to large-scale disasters, among them access to emergency housing. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other agencies, the Board has examined the accessibility of trailers procured by the government to house those displaced by natural disasters. Access issues and constraints have been identified and explored in consultation with these agencies as well as disability groups and manufacturers.

The Board has determined the need to supplement its facility guidelines to tailor and clarify coverage of emergency transportable housing and plans to organize an advisory committee to assist in this effort. To ensure a balanced cross-section of interests, the committee will include representation from disability groups (including the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, and the United Spinal Association), industry and code groups (such as the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the Manufactured Housing Institute, and the National Fire Protection Association), and government agencies (among them FEMA, HUD, and the Department of Justice). The Board will soon publish a notice on the formation of this committee and its proposed membership which will be posted on the Board’s website. For more information, contact Marsha Mazz at mazz@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0020 (v), or (202) 272-0081 (TTY).

Posted by rollingrains at 01:41 AM

June 18, 2007

Travel Abroad Testimonials from the Disability Community

Documentation of Inclusive Travel is catching on all over.

If you have not been therre recently, you may want to visit TransitionsAbroad.com for their section on Travel & Disability. Here's a catalog of their offerings:

Simon Says Teach Abroad by Melissa Mitchell

The Accessible Himalayas by Mary Ann Davis

18 Tips for International Travelers: Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities by Laura Hershey

Accessible Melbourne by Anne Vize

Disability Travel in Egypt by Lynn Atkinson

Accessibility Overseas: Is There a Way to Get There? by Sharon Gerlach

Adventures in Teaching from a Wheelchair in Venezuela by Marie Sharp

Young Adults with Disabilities Explore World by Pamela Houston

Study Abroad in Ireland by Johana Schwartz

Study Abroad with a Disability by Beth Ocrant

Abroad with a Disability: Prepare Yourself for the Unexpected by Jennifer Kettler

Resources for Study Abroad with a Disabilities in Europe by Tracy Scharn

Study Abroad and Accessibility: Overseas Experience leads to Activism at Home by Shannon Cun Lin Huy

Diversity in Study Abroad: Ways to Include Underrepresented Communities in Exchange Programs by Carole Patterson

Travel With a Purpose by Pamela Houston

Why Not Visit the U.K.? by J. E. Killick

Paris by Wheelchair by David W.E. Smith

Disability Travel Abroad Checklist by Barbara Ballard

Traveling with a Service Dog by Tracy Scharn

Source:

http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/disability/index.shtml

Posted by rollingrains at 06:37 PM

June 13, 2007

"Good Samaritan" Design as Architectural Solution at Heritage Sites?

The tide is turning against retrofitting for inclusion. The leading edge of this retreat from justice is often most blatantly stated in projects involving "heritage sites".

Simple calculations of immediate cost trump future-oriented stewardship of social good. The gutting of the International Building Code is one example. The arguments put forward by administrators at St. Stephen's College at Dehli University add the pernicious resurgence of the philosophy of patronizing exclusion.

When inclusion is not held as a fundamental good -- but rather as a "Good Samaritan's" option -- the iron rod of a caste system is barely disguised by a guilding passing as virtue. Below Mr. Vinod Choudhury abdicates the institutional responsibility to educate by claiming as virtue the generosity of students who daily compensate for his college's structures of exclusion.

Rather what he exposes is a case where students seem to enter his school with an innate sense of the justice of inclusion and an inclination to make that possible. Meanwhile the "curriculum" imposed by St. Stephen's architecture is a relentless education in injustice and exclusion-by-design. Is that the heritage upon which Dehli University was built? Less than Universal Design is a travesty.

New Delhi: AT A time when most Delhi University (DU) colleges are making structural changes in their buildings to make the environs disabled–friendly St. Stephen's has decided against construction of ramps for wheelchair user students. Authorities say no external construction of any kind is possible in St. Stephen's since it is a heritage building. St. Stephen's is one of the three colleges that constituted Delhi University in 1922, the formation year.

But there's no need to worry Vinod Choudhury Media Advisor, St. Stephen's, said: "We are a very student friendly college and

the good samaritan in us makes us want to help students ascend stairs whenever they need help. We have had a lot of students in the past who were wheelchair user. And students have always volunteered to help, without being instructed." A.D Mathur, Convener of Admissions, said: "There are several issues with constructing ramps, the technical specifications like low roofs and old pillars are some limitations which we cannot overlook." On ambilift, he said, "That is way too expensive and we haven't given that option a thought."

One wonders about the college's awareness of the world around it.

The Service Employees Union International (SEIU) points out that even those whose profession it is to help travelers with disabilities at airports find themselves inadequately prepared for the task. Does St. Stephen's expect that undergraduates rushing to their next class are better prepared? Or is the real answer that institutional standards of safety for their students are so abysmally low as to be nonexistent? Certainly "there's no need to worry" if that is the case.

Perhaps confident Temporarily Able Bodied (TAB) college spokepersons need a 48 hour disability simulation -- say during the notoriously serene registration or finals weeks. I would not be surprised to hear afterward that they were dropped down the stairway on campus -- as I was the year before I co-founded the University of Washington's first Disabled Students Association.

One wonders about the academic quailty of an institution that is unwilling to invest even a single rupee of the currency it was created to produce -- thought -- to pursuing its own mission.

Intellectual malfeasance lies at the heart of such hubris.

Source:

Hindutan Times, Dehli Edition quoted in Disability News India
http://www.disabilityindia.com/html/news.html#Stephen

Posted by rollingrains at 04:02 AM

June 07, 2007

On Samarthya from Mahesh in India

samarthya


Mahesh is going to earn honorary "Contributor of the Week" with the flurry of excellent submissions he has sent in to the Rolling Rains Report recently. Thank you!

I call your attention to the Basin-South Asian Newsletter published by Development Alternatives. Featured prominently is the work of Samarthya. The current issue (2007 No. 8) is available here. Download file

From Samarthya's web site:

Samarthya, National Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled Persons whose main motto is “Let’s make the world accessible’’ has been promoting and advocating for:

Access to the built environment & information- “Design for All”
Accessible transportation- “Mobility for All”
Accessible tourism– “Tourism for All”
Samarthya has promoted the concept of Universal Design i.e. “Design for All” in the making of Dilli Haat (recipient of National Award by the Hon’ble President of India on promotion of Barrier Free Environment), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and High Capacity Bus System (HCBS)/Low Floor Buses. It had conducted

Samarthya has promoted the concept of Universal Design i.e. “Design for All” in the making of Dilli Haat (recipient of National Award by the Hon’ble President of India on promotion of Barrier Free Environment), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and High Capacity Bus System (HCBS)/Low Floor Buses.

Source:

http://www.samarthyaindia.com/conferencedetails.html

Information on the newsletter:

Development Alternatives
B 32 TARA Crescent
Qutab Institutional Area
New Delhi 110016
Tel : +91 -11 2680 1521, 2680 4482
Email: basin@devalt.org
Website: www.devalt.org

Posted by rollingrains at 06:53 PM

May 30, 2007

Upcoming Announcements on the ADA

From the Justice for All Network:

The U.S. Department of Justice will propose new rules related to the act sometime in the next few months, spokeswoman Cynthia Magnuson said.

Proposed requirements being considered include:

* Visible workplace alarms, which would allow deaf and
hard-of-hearing employees to be made aware of an emergency
situation.

* Additional wheelchair-accessible seating at stadiums, theaters
and other entertainment venues, spread out at varying distances
from the stage or screen.

* One in every six accessible parking spaces to be van accessible,
up from one of eight.

* TTY, or text telephone, equipment in all buildings with four or
more public telephones.

* Wider doorways and entrances to galley kitchens, public
restrooms, hotel rooms and public housing.


...

To read the entire article, go to:
http://www.aapd.com/News/adainthe/070529pe.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 02:40 AM

May 25, 2007

Text of the Hotels.com Inaccessibility Complaint

You can read the lawsuit against Hotels.com by Bonnie Lewkowicz and Judith Smith
here (.pdf) Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 10:22 PM

May 23, 2007

Setting Precedents for Inclusive Travel: Booking Hotel.com for Discrimination

OK, time to scratch our heads and ask, "Why didn't I think of this?"

Read about the commonsense lawsuit against Hotels.com by Bonnie Lewkowicz and Judith Smith here:


Kevin Knestrick, attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, a law firm based in Berkeley that specializes in high-impact lawsuits on behalf of people with disabilities, said, "The failure to guarantee accessible hotel rooms means that a person in a wheelchair who pays for a room through Hotels.com literally might not be able to enter the room after they arrive at the hotel."

Knestrick alleged, "Hotels.com is excluding people with mobility disabilities from its services. This is hostility to disabled and elderly people, not hospitality."

Knestrick said Hotels.com won't guarantee that a wheelchair-accessible room will in fact be available but instead treats accessibility as an optional "amenity" like a king-sized bed.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:58 PM

April 29, 2007

Lowe's & Rebuilding Together: Universal Design Meets Corporate Philanthropy

lowes logo

Lowe's continues its market-savvy leadership in the onloing home-building and home-retrofitting growth market. By aligning with Rebuilding Together they put further pressure on Tax Credit Housing to adopt Universal Design as the mainstreaming of Universal Design by LEED certification project of the U.S. Green Building Council, has done.

With all that momentum in the market how long can it be before the hospitality industry adopts Universal Design in hotels, resorts, and cuise ships?

Wouldn't it have been extraordinary if FEMA had been as insghtful as Lowe's in the post-Katrina to rebuild Livable Communities together using the off-the-shelf materials already available and requiring mobile home makers to have made slight adjustments to their manufactuting templates that would make all FEMA-funded post-Katrina modular housing be Visitable?

Fema ignored market needs. It lost money.

Lowe's carefully researched needs. It is making money.

Does Universal Design fit into that equation somehwere?

Posted by rollingrains at 02:36 AM

April 08, 2007

Accessible Transit About Face in Malaysia: An Obstacle to Tourism

Malaysia's energetically marketed tourism campaign, Malaysia My Second Home, is being a dealt a blow as the government ignores transportation needs of the group they are marketing to. International customers looking for retirement options are sophisticated consumers. National stability, health and transportation infrastructure are top criteria in their purchasing decisions.

It is disappointing to see Malaysia sabotage its tourism potential by recycling strategizes of patronization and dismissal of Malaysia's Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) as reported in Monster Blog.

Typical strategies of such short-sighted policy are requests that people with mobility limitations "be patient" together with platidues that "things cannot change overnight." Meanwhile, a 2006 statement " by RapidKL corporate communications division senior manager Katherine Chew said the 100 units of disabled-friendly buses would be delivered in batches from Europe soon. “We hope they will arrive by January [2007],” she said." While an April 4, 2007 article reports that the supplier is now China and that “For the time being, we will not be having special buses for the disabled who use wheelchairs.”

The analysis at Digital Awakening by Peter Tan should serve as a wake-up call to all responsible for services to their citizens with disabilities that injustice at home has the unintended financial consequence of lack of investment from abroad.

As a Boomer tourist and investor I see RapidKL's action as destined to turn my peers toward other destinations. My advice would be to recalculate ROI and reconsider this poor business decision.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:20 PM

March 30, 2007

Braztoa, Marta Suplicy, Aventura Especial e Turismo Inclusivo


BRAZTOA

Ontem, na Braztoa,
a nova ministra
Marta Suplicy

MartaSuplicy


fez questão de receber a Dadá Moreira da Ong Aventura Especial, e anunciou á imprensa, que o ministério terá desde agora uma ênfase especial nos temas de acessibilidade no turismo.

Obrigado ao Mauro Brucoli, da Aventura Especial e Turismo para Todos, para as noticias.

Posted by rollingrains at 11:05 PM

March 19, 2007

Green Universal Design -- The Core of Inclusive Destination Development

The seed is here at Adaptive Environments:

Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

Two expressions, growing out of Designing for the 21st Century in Rio de Janeiro, are the documents, The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development and 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing.

Now it appears that the American public might almost be ready to hear the message. Living on Earth interviewed Professor Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. A study undertaken by his center finds that, "A new survey shows that 63 percent of Americans are as concerned about climate change as they are about terrorism."

Some resources on the topic here at Rolling Rains:

The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000313.html

2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000285.html


A Major Endorsement of Visitability in US Housing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001457.html


A Major Endorsement of Universal Design in US Housing
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001456.html


A Barrier-Free Resort: Inclusive Design at Work in the Virgin Islands
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001517.html

The Universal Design "Twofer"
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001380.html


What is Sustainable in Destination Development?
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000654.html


Reflections on Universal Design & Justice

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000769.html

International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001511.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:06 PM

March 18, 2007

If You Were Wondering About Cruise Ship Accessibility

Candy Harrington's post on the current state of maritime accessibility policy and regulations in the US is informative.

Read "Don't Believe Eveything You Read!"

Posted by rollingrains at 06:20 AM

March 16, 2007

From the Green Travel Digest

Marcus L. Endicott publishes the informative Green Travel Digest. A recent issue mentions an impressive collaboration created "to advance the state-of-the-practice in sustainable tourism development." Can we convince the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) that Universal Design is the logical completion of the sustainable tourism ethic?

Tomorrow's post will reference some of the resources available here on the blog that are available for making that case.

USAID Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA)

Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA)
http://www.nric.net/tourism/gsta.htm

The Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) is a single award,
five-year Leader with Associates (LWA) cooperative agreement funded
by USAID. Its purpose is twofold: to advance the state-of-the-
practice in sustainable tourism development and allied fields; and to
assist USAID Missions and other operating units to design and
implement innovative, integrated, and market-based tourism approaches
that will foster sustainable futures for individuals, local
communities, and societies in USAID-presence countries.

Academy for Educational Development (AED): Ecotourism
http://www.aed.org/EnvironmentandEnergy/International/ecotourism.cfm

Ecotour - Ecotourism at Conservation International
http://www.ecotour.org/

Citizens Development Corps/Tourism Development Corps
http://www.mbaec-cdc.org/desktopdefault.aspx?page_id=148310

Counterpart International
http://www.counterpart.org/Default.aspx?tabid=322

EplerWood International
http://www.eplerwood.com/

George Washington University-International Institute of Tourism
Studies

http://www.gwutourism.org/iits.htm

Nathan Associates

http://www.nathaninc.com/

National Geographic Society-Center for Sustainable Destinations
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/

Rainforest Alliance
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/tourism.cfm?id=main

RARE
http://www.rareconservation.org/programs/ page.php?subsection=Rare%
20Enterprises
{ http://tinyurl.com/2dzkw3 }

Solimar International
http://www.solimarinternational.com/

The Nature Conservancy-Ecotourism Program
http://www.nature.org/aboutus/travel/ecotourism/

University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management
http://www.tim.hawaii.edu/

U.S. Forest Service-Heritage Design
http://www.heritagedesign.org/

&

12 Non-traditional Development Partners

= = =

Summary Table of Organization Expertise in Sustainable Tourism
http://www.nric.net/tourism/directory_table.pdf

from:
"Marcus L. Endicott" mendicot@yahoo.com

Posted by rollingrains at 04:03 PM

March 14, 2007

Accessibility in US National Parks: A Vision for 2016

The US National Park Service is taking input on park accessibility through April 2, 2007 here.

The National Park Service (NPS) is interested in knowing how to make its parks more accessible. Although most of us won't be able to attend the listening session hosted in San Francisco next week, we do have the ability to make our voices heard by submitting written comments to the NPS by April 22. This is a great opportunity to reflect on previous vacations and accompanying barriers you or a loved one may have encountered during your journeys and to offer thoughtful suggestions for greater accessibility to some of our country's most beautiful preserved spaces. ________________________________________________________________

National Parks -- Comments on Access Needed by April 22

* Have you ever visited a national park?
* Would you like to do so?
* Would you like to assure that the parks are accessible to you,
AND your great grandchildren?

Then take a few minutes to provide feedback to the NPS, so they
know how to make the parks more accessible to you...

The National Park Service will celebrate its' centennial in 2016,
and is initiating a nation-wide campaign to listen to the public
about the future of the parks. See http://www.nps.gov/2016/

It is imperative that persons with hearing, visual, cognitive, and
mobility disabilities express their concerns and ideas about
programmatic and physical access at National Park Service areas.

A session is scheduled in San Francisco, next Thursday, March 22,
2007.

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Presidio Officers Club
50 Moraga Avenue
San Francisco, California
305-242-7714

National Park Centennial Initiative Listening Session

Description: You can help to shape the future of America's
national parks! Please come to this listening session to share
your ideas.

Meeting Directions: For directions, please visit:
www.presidio.gov/event/rental/officersclub/

The agenda of the San Fransisco meeting has been set, and
apparently it will be the same format as used in all other
meetings:

The principal department representative will make some welcoming
remarks and then participants will be asked to circulate to
various
workstations where their comments and suggestions will be
recorded. Such a format eliminates the opportunity for individuals
to grandstand on their pet issues and is also less intimidating to
many individuals. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the format
for the meetings will be announced in advance as it has been for
San Francisco. In other words, you may arrive with a two-minute
statement prepared only to find out that the format is
workstations.

Attendees will apparently be asked three questions:
1. Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national
parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? What
are your hopes and expectations?

2. What role do you think national parks should play in the lives
of Americans and visitors from around the world?

3. What are the signature projects and programs that you think
should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

To comment on the National Park Centennial Initiative via the
Internet, use the form on the following web page.

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=442&projectID=17892&documentId=18372

However, they must be received in Washington by April 22, 2007,
11:59 p.m.
--------

Source: California SILC,

Posted by rollingrains at 12:21 AM

March 13, 2007

In Disability Studies Quarterly

Watch next month's Disability Studies Quarterly for A Roundtable on Disability Blogging. In it you will find some of my favorites:

Ruth Harrigan
Wheelie Catholic

The Goldfish
Diary of a Goldfish

Darren Hillock
Get Around Guide

Kay Olson / Blue
The Gimp Parade

Alicia "Kestrell" Verlager
The Blind Bookworm Blog

Wheelchair Dancer
The Wheelchair Dancer

Emma Crees
The Life and Times of Emma

Stephen Kuusisto
Planet of the Blind

Posted by rollingrains at 07:57 PM

March 10, 2007

A Barrier-Free Resort: Inclusive Design at Work in the Virgin Islands

Multi: Design for People does excellent work. They are defining the field of sustainable Inclusive Destination Development.

Here's one more affirmation of that through their presentation posted at Slideshare.net


Posted by rollingrains at 09:51 PM

March 08, 2007

International Best Practices in Universal Design: A Global Review

HRC logo


The Canadian Human Rights Commission has announced the publication of
INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES IN UNIVERSAL DESIGN: A GLOBAL REVIEW

A Global Review is a comprehensive research document comparing the latest accessibility standards for the built environment. It compares selected building codes and standards from developed and developing countries, those undergoing rebuilding and war torn countries. Included are codes and standards from Canada, Lebanon (UN), Mexico, Uruguay, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, USA, South Africa, Bangladesh, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.

The document contains an extensive comparison of 31 essential design elements, presented in tabular form, along with photographic examples highlighting best practices in universal design.


For more information contact
Harvey Goldberg
613-943-9146
harvey.goldberg@chrc-ccdp.ca

To order a copy go to:

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/pub_form_pub/bp_pe-en.asp

In partnership with:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Treasury Board of Canada
Swedish Agency for Disability Policy
National Disability Authority of Ireland
Rehabilitation International

Posted by rollingrains at 10:51 PM

March 05, 2007

Wireless Net Neutrality

Tim Wu was interviewed on National Public Radio's On the Media about his paper Wireless Net Neutrality.

While illuminating the chokehold exerted by the leasees of the public airwaves on cell phone use he shedding light on the dynamic that guarantees that Universal Design will not be used in the development of cell phones.

What was the old adage during the previous era of telco monopolization, "We don't care. We don't have to?"

Wireless carriers aggressively control product design and innovation in the equipment and application markets, to the detriment of consumers. In the wired world, their policies would, in some cases, be considered simply misguided, and in other cases be considered outrageous and perhaps illegal.

Source:
Wireless Net Neutrality
http://www.newamerica.net/publications/policy/wireless_net_neutrality

Download file

Posted by rollingrains at 10:48 PM

February 25, 2007

Advocacy: Exposing the Unfriendly Skies via SlideShare

This travelogue by Lori Magno posted to SlideShare.net documents one couple's rapid immersion into the world of traveling with a disability.

For a follow-up post see Jet Blue -- Back From the Brink.

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/16284424

Posted by rollingrains at 03:30 PM

February 23, 2007

European Disability Forum

EU Disability Logo

One month ago today One Million for Disability was launched in the European Union. If you are an EU citizen, sign the declaration here.

Goals include:

- raise public and political awareness on the daily reality of
Europeans with disabilities, who confront discrimination, prejudice
and are denied of their most basic rights;

- mobilize the public opinion in favour of a stronger European
disability legislation that will effectively protect the rights of
disabled people, combating discrimination and enabling them to act
as fully active citizens in the EU-27;

- stress the role and moral responsibility of the European Union to
work for and protect the rights of all its citizens, with no distinction,
under a coordinated and comprehensive approach;
- highlight that disability is above all, a Human Rights issue.

The signature campaign aims to collect at least 1 000 000 citizens’ signatures to combat discrimination in all aspects of the lives of disabled citizens in Europe.

The European Union must respond to the call of at least 1 million citizens. This is stated in the draft European Union Constitutional Treaty. We must not miss this opportunity to raise our voices.

The campaign “One million for Disability” runs from 23 January to 3 October 2007

On 4 October 2007, the signatures will be officially handed out to the European Commission and the European Parliament. At the same time, a gathering of disabled persons, their families, friends and allies will take place in Brussels, in the heart of the European Institutions area.

Read EDF Declaration on disability rights in Europe, click here.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:55 PM

February 21, 2007

Public Transit: A View Into The Maelstrom

This 2006 firestorm of public debate in Seattle, Washington - one of the earliest adopters of accessible transit - on the use of busses by people with disabilities is preserved here.

Posted by rollingrains at 05:22 AM

February 18, 2007

Basic Access for Travelers: Public Toilets

D.N.I.S. News Network – Unhappy over the non-compliance of its earlier orders to make public toilets disabled-friendly, the Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Chief Secretary to convene a meting of M.C.D. and N.D.M.C. top officials immediately.

Taking strong exception to the lackadaisical attitude of M.C.D. officials, the Division Bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “We hope that our orders are complied with and a situation does not arise where the court has to resort to coercive measures like issuing a contempt notice.”

On 21 December 2006, the High Court had demanded an explanation from M.C.D. for not having taken action to build more such facilities since 1998. The orders have come on a P.I.L. seeking High Court directions to M.C.D. to make public toilets disabled-friendly.

News item thanks to DPI-Asia Pacific Region

Posted by rollingrains at 05:16 PM

February 14, 2007

When Access is Out of Reach

Now here is something that sounds like a genuine dilemma.

The owner of a cinema in Belper, UK has been unable to find a way to make her establishment accessible because of its unique architecture. It is not, according to this report, as if she were not motivated. her own sister is a wheelchair user. What to do?

Ritz criticised for no disabled access

THE OWNER of the Ritz Cinema has defended the business which has been criticised for not having adequate disabled access.

Amanda Mundin, co-owner, of the Ritz on King Street, said they tried as hard as they could to find a way to make the place accessible for everyone but because the cinema is staggered over three floors none of the layers overlap enough for a lift to travel between levels.

She said they even looked at purchasing some more of the building in order to have space to fit a lift but it proved impossible.

She said: "Providing access is something we would definitely do if we extend the cinema because it would be such a big thing to do we would be making it accessible without a doubt.

"My sister was in a wheelchair for 20 years. I know what it is like to not be able to get in places and to have to struggle. It is not fair. I believe we should have access but we just can't."

The building is not listed so the problem with access has been purely down to logistics.

Ms Mundin said they also explored the possibility of installing a chairlift but it would not be in keeping with fire regulations and not all disabled people would be able to use it.

She said they even sought advice from an access officer in who is himself in a wheelchair but were unable to solve the problem.

Source:
http://www.belpertoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=747&ArticleID=1987566

Posted by rollingrains at 08:07 PM

February 13, 2007

A Major Endorsement of Visitability in US Housing

The U.S. Green Building Council has taken a major step in changing the face of the built residential market in the US with the "Universal Accessibility" designation for residential communities seeking LEED certification. Major, but still leaving an 80% inaccessible remainder for developers who take the minimalist approach.

LEED, a project of the U.S. Green Building Council, has achieved widespread success certifying commercial buildings as environmentally friendly when they meet specified requirements. Now LEED, with its new pilot program LEED-ND, has moved beyond commercial buildings to whole neighborhoods.

Notably for people in the home access movement, LEED-ND awards a point
for developments that build single-family homes with basic access.

(Single family homes are the main building type still built by the
hundreds of thousands with no access features, continuing the age-old
barriers that impose drudgery and social isolation.) It is
encouraging that people are beginning to see that Visitability is
connected to green building practices
. Basic access at the time of
construction decreases the waste of energy and materials necessitated
by retrofits, and makes neighborhoods more sustainable by enabling
social interaction, "aging in place," and disability inclusion.

To receive the "Universal Accessibility" point, the builder includes,
in at least 20% of the single-family homes, the features required
by federal law in apartment buildings—
--a zero step entrance on an
accessible route, wide interior doors, maneuvering space in bathrooms
and kitchens, blocking in bathroom walls to allow future grab bars,
reachable electrical controls, and a step-free path of travel through
the first floor of the home.

The application document reads in part:

Intent

Enable the widest spectrum of people, regardless of age or ability, to
more easily participate in their community life by increasing the
proportion of areas that are usable by people of diverse abilities.

Requirements

For projects with residential components:

For each residential unit type developed, design 20% (and not less than
one) of each type to comply with the accessible design provisions of
the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act (Rehabilitation Act), as applicable. Separate
residential unit types include: single-family, duplex, triplex,
multi-unit row or townhouses, and mixed-use buildings that include
residential units. (Compliance for multi-family buildings of 4 or more
units is already a regulatory requirement.)
---------------------------------------------------
Eleanor Smith of Concrete Change and Ed Steinfeld of the IDEA
Center at SUNY, Buffalo, were among those working on the committee to
bring this about. Not all their recommendations were followed, but
they welcome this early recognition that basic access is green.

The LEED-ND initiative is a joint venture of the Congress for the New
Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources
Defense Council. To read the LEED-ND document, go to
http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=2310
To read about the point awarded for houses with basic access, go to
page 83.


Posted by rollingrains at 07:28 PM

February 11, 2007

Travel Resources: Disabled Persons Transport Committee (DPTAC).

dptac logo

The UK's Disabled Persons Transport Committee (DPTAC). publishes a densely informative resource on Inclusive travel at: http://www.dptac.gov.uk/door-to-door/ Originally developed by Tripcope, the site includes a means of user input for updating.

Another step along the path of Inclusive Destination Development.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:16 PM

February 09, 2007

Jim Dator on the Future of Tourism

Attendees at the ASEAN Tourism Conference had the opportunity to hear Jim Dator of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii. His core message: “It may be equally misleading to assume that tourism will continue to grow as a world industry in the future as it has in the past.”

In this quote from Imtiaz Muqbil's Travel Impact Newswire he cites aging and energy shortages but he could easily have emphsaized that aging will bring Universal Design issues to the forefront of discussion:

He added, “There are very good reasons to believe that the global political-economic system that has dominated the world since the end of the Second World War may not continue much longer.” One driver will be global demographics, including the fact that in “more and more parts of the world, population is no longer growing” creating a “youth gap” in almost all developed countries even as the number and percentage of old people--and of very old people--is growing.”

Among the nations of Southeast Asia, there is great variability. The youth bulge is over and aging is setting in for Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia. It is expected to continue for another few years in Brunei and Cambodia. For Malaysia, the Philippines, and Laos, the youth bulge may extend even longer. The countries of South, Central, and Western Asia are still growing with a very substantial youth component.

Equally important, Prof Dator said, is the question of whether people of all age groups “will be able to continue to move around the globe as easily as many have been able to do in recent decades?” Here he pointed to the imminent end of the era of cheap and abundant oil.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:22 PM

January 31, 2007

Us, Not You, for Person of the Year

Paul Lamb, founder of Street Tech, and colleague in the Community Technology Foundation of California Zero Divide Fellowship sent a note this morning as he delves into Universal Design. In a Computerworld piece below he addresses another issue of concern to the disabld community - affordability:

“Is anybody making technology and access to it for me, and not just for some rich kid?” I overheard a young student ask. At the time, I was in the classroom at Street Tech, a San Francisco Bay area technology training and job placement program for low-income and underserved adults.

The answer is complicated. Or is it?

Trickle-down technology is a fact of life in the U.S., just as are trickle-down employment, housing and wealth distribution. Thankfully, we as a nation believe in offering a safety net to keep people from slipping over the edge entirely. But we also harbor a competing set of beliefs that people get what they deserve and that working hard entitles one to certain “freedoms,” like unlimited wealth accumulation.

What if technology could help us to move beyond a “to the victor go the spoils” mentality? What if we all had similar access to the tools for success in a world that is being rapidly flattened, as Thomas Friedman suggests, by technology changes? That flattening already has some welcome partners, like municipal and community wireless broadband networks that are attempting to offer free and low-cost Internet access to everyone.

For full article click here.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:55 PM

January 22, 2007

Advice for Airline Operators from Australia

The following information is available online but bears duplication here in part:

Disabled travellers - a guide for airline operators

This information has been adapted from a presentation by Jane Buckley - Director of medical services, Australian Paralympic Team.

Disabled passengers have different needs to the 'average' traveller. The result could easily be a journey which is stressful for all concerned. It can also be a trip that is rewarding for staff, relaxing for the passengers concerned and enhances the airline's image for all those involved. The difference is mostly in the preparation.

If a passenger is travelling independently, allow them to tell you how it is best to assist them. There are several different ways of helping. Passengers may just want assistance with moving their legs during a transfer from their wheelchair to their seat. Lifting can be quite dangerous if done incorrectly.

When dealing with disabled people, airline staff need to be aware that some disabilities are not obvious. Patronising or speaking louder is not appreciated.

Booking the flight and checking in

Emphasise to passengers that they should get there early. Inform them about baggage allowances. It may be necessary to ask groups such as athletes to deliver excess baggage early to ensure it is ready for them at their destination.

There are regulations in force under national and international laws governing the carriage of dangerous goods by passengers.

Identify any specific needs well in advance of check-in. Passengers with severe disabilities should be accompanied by their own carer or assistant. Large groups will need co-ordinated planning by the airline and group organisers.

Wheelchair passengers

Passengers should be able to take their own wheelchairs to the gate. They should not be expected to surrender their chair at check in and have it substituted with an uncomfortable and often dangerous chair until they board the plane. Its a bit like expecting an able bodied person to surrender their legs until their journey was over. As well as being uncomfortable and inconvenient, it makes it difficult to do last minute things like shopping and going to the toilet.

Passengers like wheelchair athletes will have multiple wheelchairs. Their 'day chair' should be taken to the gate, tagged appropriately, and available at the gate on arrival at their destination. Day chairs belonging to passengers should NEVER be offloaded as excess baggage. Many "ambulant" passengers also use day chairs.
Battery-powered wheelchairs and mobility aids

For reasons of safety the carriage by airlines of battery-powered wheelchairs and mobility aids is regulated under national and international laws.

Further information on transport of battery-powered wheelchairs.

Boarding

Experienced travellers will have made arrangements for the physical aspects of boarding. Less experienced passengers will let the airline staff do the work. Cabin crew need to be familiar with the use of an aisle chair.

Take care when assisting. Ensure the passenger is lifted well clear of the armrests. Knocking them against the armrests can cause pressure areas.

Pressure area management is usually unique to paraplegics and tetraplegics. These passengers may want to sit on their own pressure relieving cushions. These should be kept with the passengers at all times, as they can be easily lost.

Source:
http://www.casa.gov.au/aoc/disabled/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:55 PM

January 01, 2007

Age Friedly Cities Initiative by WHO

The World Health Organization is piloting a worldwide Liveable Communities program -- Age Friendly Cities. More information here: http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/age_friendly_cities/en/index.html

Posted by rollingrains at 04:21 PM

December 25, 2006

Call for Candidates: Create International Disability Rights Fund

Now here's some news to launch the new year!

Do you have the "right stuff" to set up a global fund that will make the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a reality? Can you pull your credentials together to make a convincing presentation by January 15, 2007. If so, read on and write to the Fund for Global Human Rights.


Request for Services: Consultant to create international disability rights fund

I. Introduction
The drafting and adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has spurred the maturation and globalization of the disability rights field. Disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) from all over the world have strengthened their advocacy efforts and infused their work with a human rights framework. The Convention, which could enter into force as early as 2007, offers unique opportunities and challenges, as the disability rights field seeks to build human rights capacity around state ratification, implementation and monitoring of the treaty. The birth of a new core UN human rights treaty (the first in a decade and the first this century) presents an opportune moment for funders to support a burgeoning and energized human rights constituency, and the advancement of the UN’s institutional framework for human rights standards.
To leverage this opportunity, several funders would like to explore the establishment of a funding mechanism to support country-level disability organizations using rights-based approaches to implement the principles embodied in the CRPD. The initiative would be a vehicle for funders interested in supporting international disability rights as part of their larger human rights or disability portfolios. The fund would be a unique opportunity, limited in scope and duration, to support a rights constituency advocating for the implementation of a UN human rights treaty. Such efforts may include explicit work to ratify, monitor and implement the CRPD and may also include more general awareness raising and empowerment projects. The ultimate goal would be to build the human rights capacity of DPOs around the world to support the rights articulated in the CRPD.
To establish such a fund, critical institutional decisions around grantmaking strategy, governance, and process must take place prior to the initiation of targeted donor investments.
II. Consultant position overview
To make such an initiative a reality, a consultant is needed to undertake three critical activities:

1) Investigate trends in the disability rights field and grantmaking community
Thorough research is needed to design the overarching funding strategies including regional foci. A consultant will investigate the leading trends in the disability rights field around the Convention, the challenges, opportunities and needs of organizations, and the role that private funders can best play. The consultant may begin to meet with disability organizations and experts in the field to understand the work within regions and organizations and their potential match with the fund’s objectives. Such research may require international travel. Concurrently, the individual will consult with potential donors to the fund on their grantmaking interests and priorities. The consultant will integrate this research into a donor strategy to identify grantmaking priorities that match donors’ interest and address the critical needs of the disability rights field around the implementation of the Convention.

2) Assess donor interest and market a potential fund
The consultant will reach out to international human rights funders as well as disability funders who may be interested in this international endeavor. Over the last several years, the Disability Rights Working Group of the International Human Rights Funders Group has held semi-annual meetings, helping to educate donors on the issue. Several donors have expressed interest in the idea of a fund and look forward to seeing the outcomes and structures that the consultant would develop. However, a dedicated individual is needed to educate funders about the potential of such a fund, address questions and concerns and incorporate potential funders’ ideas into the structure of the fund.

3) Design the fund’s operational structure, including identification of an institutional home
Simultaneous to the marketing of the fund, the consultant will determine the primary operational details of the Fund. The consultant will be asked to identify and assess potential institutional homes. While the Fund for Global Human Rights will serve as the home for this initial phase, it will not necessarily serve as the permanent home. Working with interested donors, the consultant will coordinate the decision making process around determining the fund’s structure such as the minimum subscription level for launch (possibly $3 million-$5 million), duration of the initiative, details of governance, funding guidelines, grantmaking process and grants management.

III. Statement of qualifications:
The ideal candidate should demonstrate the following qualifications:
· Passion and commitment to advancing the human rights of people with disabilities;
· Familiarity with the community of DPOs and the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
· Knowledge of UN human rights systems and international human rights norms;
· Strategic vision for the development of a vibrant movement for the advancement the rights of persons with disabilities, including tackling multiple discrimination;
· Ability to drive and facilitate collaborative group decision-making processes;
· Experience in the field of grantmaking and/or demonstrated fundraising ability to attract donors to the fund;
· Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Other language proficiencies a plus;
· Ability to travel internationally, but based in the United States; and
· Self-directed with the ability to keep the project moving forward.

Compensation: Competitive, commensurate with experience.

Duration of assignment: Seeking full to half-time consultant for five to nine months (depending on time allocation) with the possibility of full-time employment if the fund is launched.

People with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

IV. Submission requirements:
· Cover letter expressing interest
· Resume of qualifications

V. Submission deadline: January 15, 2007

Please email or mail your materials to:
Fund for Global Human Rights
Attn: Jerusha Burnham
1634 “I” Street NW, Suite 1001
Washington, D.C. 20006
info@globalhumanrights.org (no phone calls please)

We have tried to make this document accessible for persons with disabilities. If you would like this document in rich text format or Braille, please let us know.


Posted by rollingrains at 03:51 PM

December 20, 2006

Imtiaz Muqbil on Tourism & Disability

Imtiaz Muqbul publishes Travel Impact Newswire. His recent lead story celebrates the new UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities:

The implications [of the UN convention] for travel & tourism are significant across the board. Trade shows, conferences and seminars will emerge for buyers and sellers of holidays and travel opportunities for PwDs, along with new publications and marketing campaigns directed at them. Special awards are sure to be created. Opportunities for training and education also abound in what will clearly be a highly specialised field of travel. If legal issues emerge, the lawyers are waiting.

Directly relevant to travel & tourism industry is Article 30 of the Convention which covers “Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport”. It requires countries to take all appropriate measures to ensure that PwDs “enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism serv

ices, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.”

Another one, Article 20 guarantees their rights to personal mobility in the manner and at the time of their choice, and at affordable cost, with all the requisite “mobility aids, devices, assistive technologies and forms of live assistance and intermediaries”. Especially important are articles underwriting their rights to education, work and employment.

Source:

TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE -- Edition 77 -- Tuesday, 19 December 2006
===================

ABOUT TRAVEL IMPACT NEWSWIRE

Set up in August 1998, Travel Impact Newswire is the Asia-Pacific’s first email travel industry news feature and analysis service. Mission Statement: Dedicated to reporting with Integrity, Trust, Accuracy and Respect the issues that impact on the Asia-Pacific Travel & Tourism industry. Distributed every week to senior industry executives, consultants, academics and media globally.

Interested in sponsoring future editions of Newswire, the region’s only no-holds-barred travel industry information service? Please contact me at 24 Soi Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. T: (66-2) 2551480, 2537590. Fax: 02 2544316. Email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com

Posted by rollingrains at 08:37 PM

December 19, 2006

Report from the Ministry of Railways India

In India the legislation pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities includes the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995. Recently the Ministry of Railways issued a statement chronicling its compliance.

FACILITIES TO DISABLED, Ministry of Railways India

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Honourable Delhi High Court wherein Ministry of Railways is one of the respondents.

In pursuance of implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal
Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995,
Railways have provided the following seven short-term facilities at 300
stations comprising all 'A' category stations and few 'B' category
stations. These facilities have been planned for remaining 'B' category
stations also.

1. Standard ramp for Barrier free entry,

2. Earmarking parking lots for vehicles used by Disabled Persons,

3. Non-slippery walkway,

4. Signage,

5. Toilets,

6. Water taps suitable for needs of handicapped person,

7. "May I Help You" Booth,

Besides, wheel chairs have been provided at important stations.

Regarding inter platform connectivity, trolley paths have been
provided at the end of the platforms of important stations which have been
authorized for use by handicapped persons on wheel chairs with escorts.

Concessions in fares are granted to four categories of
disabilities.

(1) Orthopaedically Handicapped/Paraplegic

(2) Mentally Retarded

(3) Blind persons - completely blind.

(4) Totally Deaf and Dumb and both afflictions together.

In addition to the above concession in single journey 50% concession in
first and second class season ticket fare is also admissible to above
categories of disabled people.

A Reservation quota of two sleeper class berths has been earmarked in all
trains running on non-suburban sections for handicapped persons performing
their journey on handicapped concessional ticket. The persons accompanying
the handicapped person as escort are also allotted the berth out of this
quota.

Indian Railways are manufacturing certain passenger coaches, which have a
separate compartment specially designed for wheel chair borne passengers.
These compartments have facilities like wider door-way, aisle and knee space
to permit easy movement of wheel chair, wider berths, toilet adapted to
needs of such passengers, arrangements for securing wheel chairs during the
journey etc.

The Railways are working to provide at least one non-AC Passenger Coach
which will have a separate compartment for wheel chair borne passengers in
every Mail/Express Trains within a period of two years.

The following 19 Major Stations all over Indian Railways will be developed
into world class stations which will be provided with lift/Escalators for
facilitating inter-platform transfer :-

1 Pune 2 Carnac Bunder, Mumbai 3
Howrah

4 Lucknow 5 Anand Vihar, Delhi
6 Bijwasan, Delhi

7 Amritsar 8 Chandigarh
9 New Delhi

10 Varanasi 11 Chennai
12 Patna

13 Secunderabad 14 Thiruvanthpuram 15
Ahmedabad

16 Bhubneshwar 17 Mathura
18 Bangalore

19 Bhopal


This information was given by Shri R. Velu, Minister of State for Railways
in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=23354

Posted by rollingrains at 11:24 PM

December 04, 2006

The Impact of Ageing on Aviation

harry wolfe
Professional colleague and personal friend Harry Wolfe presented at the Airneth Conference, The Impact of Ageing on Aviation, held at the Hague, Netherlands on November 23.

Presentations are downloadable here.


Meeting the Needs of Older and Disabled Air Travellers

by Anne Frye
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/AnnFryefinal.pdf

Ageing and Air Transportation

by Harry Wolfe
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/HarryWolfefinal.pdf

Ageing and Travel Behaviour in the 21st Century
by Ton van Egmond
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/VanEgmondfinal.pdf

Ageing at Work in the Netherlands
by Rob Gründemann
http://www.airneth.nl/documents/Grundemann.pdf


Upcoming Airneth event:

Optimal Use of Airport Capacity: April 11-13, 2007
http://www.airneth.nl/activity.php?page=24

Posted by rollingrains at 02:25 AM

December 01, 2006

US Travelers: Grab Your Passports

Get those passports ready!

Starting January 23 all travellers entering the US, including US citizens, must have a passport if coming in by air.

The Department of Homeland Security issued its formal announcement the necessity of having a passport to enter the US by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere will begin on January 23, 2007. Secretary Michael Chertoff said "The ability to misuse travel documents to enter this country opens the door for a terrorist to carry out an attack. We cannot continue to allow loopholes that could facilitate access to the United States through false claims of citizenship or fake identities. This initiative strengthens our border security by designing verifiable secure documents that may be used at our air ports of entry." He also said this date was the final one. The final date for having to have a passport to enter the country by land or sea remains at June 1, 2008, however that date could be moved up to January 1, 2008.

The US government will charge $28 annually to process background checks on each airline passenger who joins a private registered traveler program that could help him/her to get through airport security more quickly. The fee is to cover the cost of performing the checks and overseeing the program. The program is aimed mostly at frequent fliers which include business travellers on major airlines at busier airports. Those who sign up for the program agree to submit personal information for background checks and fingerprints or other biometric information to be embedded on an identity card. Verified Identity Pass plans to expand the service to Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Jose and BA's terminal at JFK by the end of the year. Its first program is in Orlando where about 30,000 fliers participate. the fee will be part of the cost of joining the program.

Posted by rollingrains at 12:34 AM

November 23, 2006

Forum Européen des Personnes Handicapées

build for all logo

Build for All is an EU project of capacity building for inclusion. November 15 was the launch of the Build for All project manual.

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of Presidents of the Disability, Urban Housing and Ageing Intergroups, I would like to invite you to the launch of the Reference Manual of the Build For All project. The launch will be held on 15 November 2006 in Strasbourg. It will run from 16.30 through to 18.30 and will be followed by a cocktail reception. You are welcome to attend at any time convenient for you.

Build For All is a Pilot Project to mainstream disability policies, supported by the European Commission promoting Accessibility to the built environment through the implementation of Design for All. The project provides guidance to public authorities in the establishment of essential accessibility criteria as provided for by the EU Public Procurement legislation. It aims to bring together the representatives of disability and older people’s organizations, the authorities, the construction industry, the lift manufacturers and architects – in order to promote and create lasting and ongoing dialogue.


Kind regards,


Janina Arsenjeva

Secretariat

EP Disability Intergroup

c/o European Disability Forum

Forum Européen des Personnes Handicapées

rue du Commerce 39-41

1000 Bruxelles Belgium

Tel +32 (0) 2 282 46 02

Fax +32 (0)2 282 46 09

www.edf-feph.org

Posted by rollingrains at 07:10 PM

November 06, 2006

Stillborn Arguments for Exclusion

The bankruptcy of the medical model of disability as a base for social policy is starkly exposed today in the work of Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

Promoting discussion of the death of children with disabilities as medicine the College's report includes the statement, "A very disabled child can mean a disabled family" - a false sentence in that the definition of disability is a lack of function. Handicap is the condition experienced by the family and the child with the disability.

A disability - a medical condition - may or may not be cureable by medicine. A handicap - a soclal consequence of exclusion due to a medical condition - is a social practice that is "cureable" by non-medical means.

One such manifestation of non-lethal approaches to resolving handicaps is the application of Universal Design in various markets such as Visitability in housing and Inclusive Travel and Inclusive Destination Development in transport and leisure.

Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology may succeed in fomenting the discussion on the topic of euthanasia. It is unfortunate that it has initiated the conversation with a vocabulary inadequate to the argument.


Readings on the Social Model of Disability:


International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000513.html

Implementing the Social Model of Disability
http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=1196&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=1815

Manchester City Council: The Social Model of Disability

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/disability/policies/model.htm

The Social Model of Disability
http://inclusion.uwe.ac.uk/inclusionweek/articles/socmod.htm

The Social Model of Disability Explained
http://www.southamptoncil.co.uk/social_model.htm

Disability Issues: the Social Model
http://www.equality.salford.ac.uk/disability/social_model.php

Canada: Defining Disability
http://www.sdc.gc.ca/asp/gateway.asp?hr=/en/hip/odi/documents/Definitions/Definitions003.shtml&hs=oxf

Diary of a Goldfish
http://blobolobolob.blogspot.com/2006/04/social-model-of-disability.html

Posted by rollingrains at 03:13 PM

November 05, 2006

Olegario D. Cantos on Travel with a Disability

On August 14, 2006 the information reported here at Sight Community News was presented by Olegario D. Cantos, U. S. Associate Director for Domestic Policy:

http://www.tabinc.org/blog/archives/2006/08/over_the_last_2.html

Posted by rollingrains at 02:46 AM

October 30, 2006

Blind Travelers and Valencia, Spain

Valencia, Spain initiated a project for travelers with visual impairments.

Posted by rollingrains at 08:16 AM

October 23, 2006

Italian Study: Accessible Tourism

INCIFRE Logo.jpg


Below is a reproduction (without graphics) of the May 1999 Italian study on accessible tourism.


The data which this work is based on are taken from the survey carried out in the period between 31 May – 2 July 1999, by the Iter company commissioned by ENEA, as part of the STARe “Study of the Demand for Accessible hTourism”. This enquiry is part of the project “Italia per Tutti” promoted by the Ministry for the Industry (Department General for Tourism) and realised by ENEA as a tool for the promotion of holidays for “tourists with special needs”. The complete results of the survey can be found in the ENEA site at the following Internet address www.italiapertutti.it/i mprenditoria.htm .

Main results of the Iter survey on accessible tourism

* What is accessible tourism?
* Contents of the Survey
* Who are the tourists with special needs
* What are the needs and problems when travelling?
* Travelling after 65 years of age
* Travelling subject to what conditions: "potential tourist demand"

What is accessible tourism?

Accessible tourism is intended as the set of services and facilities capable of allowing persons with specific needs to enjoy a holiday and their leisure time with no particular barriers or problems. Individuals with specific needs could be elderly people, disabled individuals and people with particular diets or with allergy problems, who need particular comforts and facilitations during their travels. The definition of tourist covers a large category of people and takes into consideration all those individuals who declare they have taken at least one trip during the last year.
Information and data on this argument are quite rare and often missing in the main statistical sources on tourism, which mainly deal with qualitative assessments or, at most, with estimates relating to the actual size of the phenomenon.
The enquiry has been conducted on a sample of Italian households consisting in 9,041 units, not including all those individuals living in charitable organisations. The CATI (Computer Assisted Telephonic Interview) technique was adopted for the interviews, which were carried out by telephone.
The study represents a first attempt to fill in the current information gaps and, simultaneously, to build a methodological prototype capable of allowing surveys and analyses to be carried out on the real and potential demand for accessible tourism, even in other contexts.
In addition, there are several suggestions and requests coming from operators in this field, that contribute to increasing the importance of disseminating the statistical data on accessible tourism and that increase the motivation for the creation of homogeneous, comparable and continual data sources related to the subject. (up)

Contents of the survey

The data which this work is based on are taken from the survey carried out in the period between 31 May – 2 July 1999, by the Iter company commissioned by ENEA, as part of the STARe “Study of the Demand for Accessible Tourism”. This enquiry is part of the project “Italia per Tutti” promoted by the Ministry for the Industry (Department General for Tourism) and realised by ENEA as a tool for the promotion of holidays for “tourists with special needs”. The complete results of the survey can be found in the ENEA site at the following Internet address www.italiapertutti.it/i mprenditoria.htm .
The aims of the study are: to quantify the number of people with special needs in the Italian population and the percentage among them of those who contribute to the tourist demand; to gain a description of the various typologies of special requirements and of the relative problems encountered by the population that expresses a tourist demand; to define the conditions necessary for a potential demand of accessible tourism to emerge.

Following is a description of the demographic and social features of the tourists with special needs. It is worthwhile noting that tourists with special needs should not all be identified as disabled, since this category involves a larger amount of people than those with disabilities and, vice-versa, not all disabled. (up)
Who are the tourists with special needs?

In 1999 about 31 million people took at least one trip a year, amounting to 54.6% of all the Italian population. Among these, 2.9%, corresponding to 889,330 individuals, were people who expressed special needs. If one wishes to extend the analysis to tourists who, whilst not expressing any special needs, nevertheless belong to the higher age class (65 and over), for which it is assumed that in the majority of cases one chooses to make journeys with particular characteristics, then the analysis extends to another 2,140,785 tourists, corresponding to 6.9% of the tourists who do not express special needs.

There is also a considerable number of Italians who do not travel: in 1999 they amounted to 26 million people, equal to 45.4% of Italians. One may ask why it is that these people do not travel, if it is due to temporary or permanent causes and, under what conditions they would be willing to travel. We are interested in focusing on those who do not travel for health reasons or for old age (14.1% of the individuals who do not travel) and, in particular, on those among these who, notwithstanding the permanent character of their impairments, have declared that they are willing to travel if the causes hindering their desire to travel were removed (1.9% of those who do not travel).

Table 1 – Those who travel and those who do not travel in Italy (1999)

(Graphic at: http://www.disabilitaincifre.it/descrizioni/e_turismoaccessibile.asp)
Those who travel: Those who do not travel:
31,165,062 (54.6%) 25,910,265 (45.4%)
of whom with special needs: : of whom:
889,330 (2.9%) for health problems/old age 3,651,003 (14,1%) (would travel 1.9%)
taking care of disabled/child 1,215,868 (4.7%) (would travel 0.1%)

As tourists with special needs, women travel more than men, contrarily to what happens in the whole universe of tourists. In fact, among the people with special needs, women belonging to the older age classes tend to prevail and, from what emerges through the data, they do not give up travelling.

Graph 1 – Percentage distribution per gender of all tourists and of those with special needs (1999)

At what age does one travel most? The amount of tourists aged over 65 years, with special needs (22.8%) is three times more than those belonging to the same age group in the overall number of tourists (7.5%), while the amount of youngsters up to the age of 14 years who travel, both among those who express special needs and in the overall amount of tourists, is more or less the same (18.7% and 17.2% respectively). This typical distribution per age of the tourists with special needs is strongly influenced by the age structure of all the people who have special needs, namely featuring the elderly as being the group with most members.
The following table summarises the distribution per age group of tourists with special needs and that of the overall universe of tourists.

Table 2 – Percentage distribution per age of tourists and total number of tourists (1999)
Tbale at: http://www.disabilitaincifre.it/descrizioni/e_turismoaccessibile.asp)

Age group Tourists with special needs Tourists overall
Up to 14 years 18.7 17.2
15-24 12.1 18.1
25-44 22.6 36.7
45-64 23.8 20.4
Over 64 years 22.8 7.5
Total 100.0 100.0

Another characteristic that emerges, which is interesting to study, is the type of working activity carried out by tourists with special needs. A good 33.6% of them work as employees or teachers, while with respect to the overall number of tourists, the percentage is 28.1%. Only 5.9% are entrepreneurs, freelance professionals or managers, whereas in the overall number of tourists the percentage is double.
49% of the tourists with special needs resides in Northern Italy while in the overall number of tourists the percentage is 44.2%, 35.2% reside in the South compared to 30,8% in the overall number of tourists, 15.8% reside in Central Italy compared to 25% in the overall number.
Travellers with special needs seem more inclined to take trips within Italy rather than go abroad.

At this point one can outline the profile of the socio-demographic characteristics of the tourist with special needs, who is prevailingly a woman of medium-old age, working as an employee. One must nevertheless consider the fact that this profile is highly influenced by the socio-demographic features of the individuals with special needs in general, independently from the fact that they travel or not. (up)

What are the needs and problems when travelling?

One of the first comforting results of the research is the consideration that “not always the emergence of a need encounters a barrier”, that is to say that in most cases tourists with special needs turn to the facilities and services capable of providing for them in the best possible manner, according to their needs. Given that 84% of tourists with special needs express only one requirement, 10% express at least two and, a little more than 5% of them, at least three, a detailed analysis of the needs declared by tourists with special needs gives the following classification of expressed needs [1] :

*

the most recurrent needs are dietetic needs, which involved 379,688 tourists, 43% of tourists with special needs;
*

the need for ana/hypoallergic environments involved 332,396 tourists, 37% of tourists with special needs;
*

the need for visits and medical care regarded 258,622 tourists, 29% of tourists with special needs;
*

the number of tourists with special needs who expressed ambulating needs was 74,206, 8% of the tourists with special needs;
*

particular needs related to sensory impairments were expressed by 29,641 tourists, 3% of tourists with special needs;

Table 3 – Type of need for tourists with special needs (1999)
Type of need Yes No Total
Need for a special diet 379,688 509,642 889,330
Need for ana/hypoallergic environments 332,396 556,934 889,330
Need for visits and medical care 258,622 630,708 889,330
Ambulating needs 74,206 815,124 889,330
Needs related to sensory impairments 29,641 859,689 889,330

What emerges from the enquiry is that those who declare they have special needs have not necessarily encountered any barriers or problems. In fact, among those who have special diet needs, the most frequent among needs, only 19% complain that they had problems in being provided with “dietetic meals”, or among those who expressed the need for anallergic or hypoallergic environments, only 16% found it difficult to find “aseptic accommodation”. As a whole the most relevant problems that emerge are:

*

the availability of health facilities and personnel declared by 97 thousand tourists with special needs;
*

the accessibility to means of transport expressed by 54 thousand tourists with special needs;
*

the accessibility to services for 44 thousand tourists with special needs.

The comparison between persons who declare they have “special needs” and those who complain having had “problems and barriers while travelling” leads one to retain that the tourists who have had the biggest problems in travelling are mostly the tourists with disabilities. These are in fact the persons that mostly need health facilities and personnel, means of transport and accessible services. (up)

Travelling after 65 years of age

The ENEA-Iter survey is also a source of data regarding elderly tourists, who do not enter the category of those tourists who have declared they have special needs, yet, nevertheless, present peculiar features, which seem to call for a moment of reflection.

With reference to the year 1999, we are speaking of a set of 2 million and 140 thousand travellers, who are over 64 years of age and cover 6.9% of total number of travellers.

The information gathered helps build a profile of the tourist “over 64” according to certain social and economic characteristics. It is a category of tourists in which neither of the genders, male or female, prevail, in which the most frequent profession is that of the housewife, living mainly in Northern Italy. (up)
Travelling subject to what conditions: "the potential tourist demand"

Let us now speak of those who do not travel, but who would do so under specific conditions. We are speaking of 490 thousand individuals, 1.9% of the more than 25 million Italians who declared that they do not travel, in 1999. First of all it would be best to try to understand the reasons which determine a non propensity to travel. In fact the data show that 61.1% (298.709 people) declare they have “a serious health problem”, while the remaining 38.9% (189.890 people) do not travel due to a generic “impairment to moving/travelling”.
Even in this case it is possible to design a profile of the potential tourist:

* prevailingly a woman, who in 72% of the cases is over 64 years of age and for 29% is a housewife.

The survey has given a deeper insight of the phenomenon of the non-expressed demand for tourism, trying to decipher under what conditions the “potential tourists” would travel. Over 61% of potential tourists place as a minimum requisite in order to travel the “need to be accompanied”, 25% would ask for the “availability of medical assistance”, 7% would require “barrier-free architecture” in the facilities and services. This group of individuals expresses the highest number of needs necessary to make travelling possible and most probably represents that of disabled people.

Graph 2 – Specific conditions under which the “potential tourist” would travel (1999)

(Graph at: http://www.disabilitaincifre.it/descrizioni/e_turismoaccessibile.asp)

1. Being accompanied 61%
2. Medical assistance 25%
3. Elimination of architectural barriers 7%
4. Organised trips 4%
5. Special meals 3%

1. Every tourist was allowed to express more than one specific need.



Further Reading:

http://www.disabilitaincifre.it/

Posted by rollingrains at 05:08 PM

October 21, 2006

From "Holiday Care" to "Tourism for All"

Tourism for All logo


In 1979 the organization Holiday Care was formed in the UK to anticipate the growth of Inclusive Tourism. Changing its name in 2004 to the local monkier and movement designation for accessible tourism, "Tourism for All," it continues to grow its services and web presence adding robustness to the pan-European movement to integrate the seven principles of Universal Design into the leisure and travel industry.

The existence of industry-oiented online advice and additional consulting service such as this is essential to tourism far beyond the borders of the European Union. Thank you Tourism for All - UK!

For more information:

Advice for Tourism Businesses
http://www.tourismforall.org.uk/pages/advice.htm

IndividuALL
http://www.tourismforall.org.uk/pages/individuall.htm

Holiday Care - UK
http://www.holidaycare.org/

History
http://www.tourismforall.org.uk/pages/history.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 05:32 PM

October 20, 2006

Improving Information on Accessible Tourism for Disabled People

When comparing international schemes for developing Inclusive Travel and strategizing on the integration of Universal Design in development the following EU document provides practical guidance:

This Guidance describes how tourist facilities, large and small, and destinations as a whole can improve the quality of the service that they offer to disabled people and others who will benefit from better accessibility...

This Guidance shows how to move beyond simple information provision
and provides further contacts to assist organisations in moving forward.
A key aim of this Guidance is to present a consistent and practical EU-wide
approach to providing access information, so that tourists can compare their options.
For this reason, all tourist facilities and destinations should consider this Guidance
as providing a complementary approach to existing actions.


Full article:


http://www.kzn.org.za/Disabled/EU.pdf

Posted by rollingrains at 05:23 PM

October 08, 2006

Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI)

Accessibility to cultural venues, tourism and leisure services for people with disabilities is still very limited, according to the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). CERMI states that “Guaranties of accessibility should not be considered as a matter of sensitivity or of an agent’s good faith, but more as a matter of fundamental rights which should be guaranteed by the Government through a binding and effective law”.
Their proposals to improve accessibility are very concise: they extend from establishing the necessary legal framework in order to regulate accessibility to audiovisual media (subtitling or broadcasting into Sign Language the program for deaf people, audiodescription of a specific program for blind people) to the elaboration of a National Plan for the development of an Accessible Tourism.

Although the main Spanish museums have already been modified for people with disabilities (the Reina Sofía Museum, the Museo del Prado, the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, the Dali Museum at Figueras, the Picasso Museum at Barcelona and the IVAM Valencia Institute of Modern Art, among others) the cultural heritage of Spain, in general, frequently presents difficult obstacles to overcome. Access to monuments, installations or cultural activities for people with disabilities is not always taken into consideration.

Even though some initiatives have been made to compile information on accessible hotels, beaches, rural tourism, trekking and tourism services for people with disabilities, the truth is that there is still little specific professional preparation, and more rarely do agencies and tour operators offer travels that don’t entail an obstacle course full of disappointments for the 3.5 million Spaniards who suffer from some kind of disability, and for their families, altogether, 10 million people. According to CERMI’s sources, there is a market with an important potential demand.

Source:
http://www.cermi.es/
http://www.canalsolidario.org/

Posted by rollingrains at 06:06 PM

October 03, 2006

Brou v FEMA 06-0838

It was inevitable in hindsight. The stonewalling began simultaneously with the Katrina floodwaters.

Immediately following Katrina Rolling Rains readers worked with FEMA, manufactured home producers, and their trade association advising on housing & infrastructure accessibility. All that was necessary to make 100% of the manufactures homes produced for Katrina survivors accessible (and Visitable) was an adjustment to the fabrication template to widen doorways to 36 inches. Simple.

Instead we have a legacy of needless suffering ending in Brou v FEMA 06-0838 providing only 5% access more than one year after the hurricane damaged a region of the US with a pre-disaster 24% disability rate.

The following information was provided by the National
Disability Rights Network.

This is a press release about the approval of the settlement in
Brou v. FEMA, No. 06-0838 in the eastern district of Louisiana,
regarding FEMA's provision of accessible trailers to Katrina and
Rita evacuees with disabilities. The full text of the settlement
is online at
http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/specialplans.shtm#1,
and pleadings are available from NDRN. The press release contains
the phone numbers evacuees can call beginning Oct. 10 to obtain
accessible trailers or modifications to the trailers they have.
______________________________________________________________

September 26, 2006

For further information, contact:

* Nell Hahn, Advocacy Center, (337) 237-7380 x11
* Cary LaCheen, National Center for Law and Economic Justice
(212) 633-6967

Today, the federal district court in the Eastern District of
Louisiana approved a settlement in Brou v. FEMA, a class action
lawsuit that will ensure that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
evacuees with disabilities will receive accessible FEMA trailers.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eleven Katrina and Rita
evacuees with disabilities who lived in Louisiana or Mississippi
before they were displaced. Five additional plaintiffs were
added later.

Defendants are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, the
Director of the Department of Homeland Security, and David
Paulison, the Director of FEMA. All of the named plaintiffs
needed accessible trailers from FEMA, but all were provided with
inaccessible trailers, no trailers, or were still waiting for
simple modifications to make their trailers accessible.
Plaintiffs' counsel estimates that thousands of other evacuees
with disabilities may have needed, but did not get, accessible
trailers from FEMA.

Plaintiffs are represented by the Advocacy Center, from
Louisiana; the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, from
New York; the Mississippi Justice Center; the Public Interest Law
Project, from Oakland, California; and the New York City offices
of Kirkland and Ellis LLP, a private law firm headquartered in
Chicago.

Approximately 25% of Katrina evacuees have disabilities, but at
the time the suit was filed, only 1 to 2% of evacuees from
Louisiana and Mississippi were provided with accessible trailers.
Depending upon their needs, individuals may be entitled to a
trailer with a ramp, wider doorways, more turn space for
wheelchairs, lower appliances, sinks, and cabinets; accessible
showers; shower chairs; grab bars near toilets, showers, and
tubs; and other accessibility features.

As a result of the settlement, FEMA has created special toll-free
numbers for evacuees who need accessible trailers from FEMA:

866-496-4297 (for evacuees from Louisiana)
888-294-2820 (for evacuees from Mississippi)

The phone number will be staffed from Monday to Saturday, 9:00am
to 6:00pm (excluding holidays), beginning October 10, 2006.

The settlement also provides that:
* FEMA will notify evacuees within 5 days after they call the
toll-free number of what FEMA intends to do to meet their
accessibility needs, and when it plans to do it.

* If FEMA decides that a person's FEMA trailer can be modified to
make it accessible, it must give an estimated time frame of up
to 30 to 60 days for making the modifications, depending upon
whether the modifications are standard (ramps, grab bars and
stair railings) or more complex.

* FEMA must give an estimated time frame of up to 90 days for
providing an accessible trailer, if FEMA decides to give the
evacuee an accessible trailer, or replace an inaccessible
trailer.

* If FEMA decides that an evacuee is not eligible for an
accessible trailer or modifications, it must inform the evacuee
in writing and give reasons.

* FEMA must handle complaints from evacuees with accessibility
issues. Evacuees can call the toll-free number to complain if
they disagree with what FEMA tells them it plans to do, or if
they are otherwise not satisfied. Further review is available
if hotline staff is unable to resolve the matter.

FEMA will send a letter to the last known address of evacuees who
are eligible for temporary housing and have requested or received
a FEMA trailer, informing them of the toll-free numbers, and will
send press releases and public service announcements to media
outlets in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states where many
evacuees live.

Under the settlement, 5% of trailers at FEMA group trailer sites,
and common areas of FEMA trailer sites, must meet Uniform Federal
Accessibility Standards.

"We are pleased that FEMA has decided to meet its legal
obligation to give evacuees with disabilities accessible
temporary housing," said Cary LaCheen, a Senior Staff Attorney at
the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, one of the
attorneys for the plaintiffs. "FEMA trailers are still the only
housing available to thousands of people whose homes were damaged
or destroyed by the hurricanes." said Nell Hahn, Director of
Systems Advocacy and Litigation at the Advocacy Center, "Now,
finally, people with disabilities will have equal access to this
program."

Posted by rollingrains at 09:29 PM

September 18, 2006

Access Board Holds Meetings on Vehicles

On July 25, 2006 the US Access Board held public meetings as an initial step in upcoming efforts to update its ADA guidelines for transportation vehicles and to develop supplementary guidelines on communication access. The meetings provided an opportunity for interested parties to advise the Board on key issues or subjects that should be addressed in these initiatives.

Meeting on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles


The Board’s guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the ADA address buses, vans, various types of rail cars, and other modes of transportation. The Board plans to review these guidelines, which were published in 1991, and to propose any revisions or additions as necessary, including coverage of new or convergent technologies. Meeting participants included transportation providers, manufacturers, and representatives from disability groups and trade associations.

Many comments called attention to the advances made in the design of mobility aids over the past 15 years, which have led to a wider array of manual and mechanized devices of varying sizes and capabilities. A growing number of mobility aids are larger and heavier than the standard manual wheelchair upon which many access specifications are based. The Board was urged to revise criteria in the guidelines so that access is ensured for a broader range of mobility aids now in use. Some commenters cautioned the Board about the potential impacts of such changes to the design of vehicles, particularly boarding devices, such as lifts, and seating space. This discussion also touched on accommodation of new mobility technologies, such as Segways, that have been developed for general use but are beneficial for some people with walking impairments.

Recommendations also addressed securement devices and restraint systems, the reliability and quality of on-board announcements of stops and other passenger information, signage, level boarding at rail cars, minimum gaps between vehicles and boarding platforms, industry standards for wheelchairs and mobility aids, coverage of new transportation technologies, such as bus rapid transit, and accessible restrooms on buses. The Board will hold another meeting on this topic during its September meeting in Las Vegas.

The meeting will be held September 12th from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30, with a reception to follow. In addition, the Board will hold a public meeting, similar to the one in July, on the update of its guidelines for transportation vehicles and will explore newer modes of transportation available in the area, including a bus rapid transit system, double-decker buses, and the city’s monorail. For further information on the meetings, contact Kathy Johnson of the Board at (202) 272-0041 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), or johnson@access-board.gov (e-mail).


Source:

Access Currents
Volume 12, No.4 July/ August 2006

Posted by rollingrains at 01:16 AM

September 05, 2006

United Nations Recognizes Disability Rights: Africa Responds

pambazuka logof

The 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Inclusive Development set a high standard in the ongoing dialogue on development and disability. Progress continues. The following is by Lina Lindblom, communications officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. The aricle celebrates the August 25, 2006 approval of a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THE DISABLED
http://www.pambazuka.org/

by Lina Lindblom

Friday 25 August saw a UN General Assembly committee approve a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and is designed to encourage governments to pass legislation protecting people with disabilities and to eliminate discriminatory laws and practices. Lina Lindblom from the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities explores the implications for the 60 million people in Africa living with disabilities.

The first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century has just been finalised at the United Nations. It will serve to promote and protect the human rights of 650 million persons with disabilities around the world. In Africa, the decade between 1999 and 2009 has been proclaimed the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities by the African Union. The first-ever human rights convention for persons with disabilities will be an important tool for the Secretariat that facilitates the implementation of the African Decade’s plan of action.

Around 60 million persons with disabilities live in Africa. These individuals are barely visible in most African societies, and rarely appear to have voices or opinions about general issues that are brought to our attention by the media. The majority of them are excluded from schools, work opportunities and participation in development programs. The African disability movement’s struggle for human rights is essentially a fight against this exclusion and against the overwhelming poverty that it leads to.

The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities advocates for the inclusion of disability into the existing development priorities of African Union member states, because the exclusion of disability from them perpetuates the poverty and despair of disabled Africans. The new convention constitutes a broad framework for disability, human rights and development. It will be increasingly important to associate any work on disability to the convention, including poverty reduction processes. The African Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 1999-2009, was proclaimed by the African Union to address the human rights and development needs of disabled Africans.

Representatives of DPOs and UN Agencies came up with a continental plan of action for the Decade. It was endorsed by the executive counsil of the AU in 2002. The government of the Republic of South Africa accepted to host the Secretariat of the African Decade in 2003, and the Secretariat was established in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004. The Secretariat facilitates the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action through its African Decade Disability Programme (ADDP), a program primarily funded by the governments of Sweden and Denmark.

One of the working focuses of the disability movement has become to mainstream disability, i.e. to get disability and persons with disabilities included in the existing development community. It is about getting governments and development organisations to include disability into policies and programs, and to invite persons with disabilities to participate in the development of these policies and programs. The disability movement does not want separate, exclusionary processes, keeping them out of the mainstream societies.

If mainstreaming is a buzz word in the disability movement, how come they have designed a new and separate human rights convention just for persons with disabilities?, you may ask. Some within the movement are indeed wishing that disability had been inserted and mentioned in the existing human rights provisions instead, but most people are actively supporting the new convention. Petronella Linders, who works for the South African government and assisted the South African delegation to the convention deliberations in New York, explains that she believes that the convention will force countries to look at their own legislation from a disability point of view. In so doing, a separate convention can actually enhance and enforce mainstreaming of disability into national legislation. Before, the approach of many African governments has been to implement human rights provisions for persons with disabilities on an ad-hoc basis. Now there will be a legally binding document that governments must implement if they ratify it.

Thomas Ong’olo from Kenya, who works as a program manager at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, agrees. He says that the convention will be a crucial instrument “to remind governments that we are here”. So many times before, Africans with disabilities have simply been left out of the equation. It has also been argued that persons with disabilities find themselves in a legal disadvantage in relation to other vulnerable groups such as refugees and women, because the latter have the protection of single bodies of binding norms in thematic human rights conventions. The convention on the Rights of the Child has been the only one of the conventions to explicitly mention persons with disabilities. In the other ones, individuals with disabilities are only covered as being part of “vulnerable or marginalized groups”. Governments that ratify the new convention will be legally bound to treat persons with disabilities not just as a vulnerable group or a minority, but as subjects to the law with clearly defined rights.

The process of developing the new convention has been said to be very participatory and well functioning. More than 400 delegates and disability advocates from around the world have attended the eight sessions since 2002 at the United Nations in New York. One of the few serious problems mentioned is that many persons with disabilities and Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs) from developing countries have not been able to attend the meetings, meaning that their issues and voices have not been adequately captured in the draft convention. This, again, is down to the issue of poverty. Many African DPOs have simply not had the money to send representatives to the United Nations headquarters in New York.

According to Phitalis Were Masakhwe, an international advisor on disability within the United Nations, there appears to be a wide gap between the wishes, needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities from poor developing countries and those from the so called developed world. In Africa and parts of Asia people would have wanted a convention that emphasizes their main challenges; poverty, disability and conflicts, and invisibility of disability in international development and cooperation, he says. Thomas Ong’olo of the African Decade Secretariat agrees. The benchmark of the discussions in New York has been set by the rich, he argues: “Sometimes the discussions may be around issues that are simply not relevant to most Africans, such as choice of services. Choosing the type of accessible transport you want to use or the exact time of pickup by that transport of your choice, is not an issue in developing countries. The main African issue is around basic survival.”

Implementation is the main concern now. International monitoring of the convention and international cooperation in the implementation process have been two of the most difficult issues to agree on during the eighth session of the convention committee. This is possibly an even bigger concern in Africa than in other parts of the world, because of the lack of capacity and funds at the national level. Many Africans worry that the convention will be just another document not put into practice by their governments. The money issue is the predominant concern here too. Putting the provisions of the convention into practice will be costly. Concerns have been raised that lack of money will hinder states to meet even the most urgent obligations. All countries will face costs, but it will be hardest for developing countries.

International cooperation must play an important part in this, Ambassador Don MacKay, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on the convention at the United Nations, says, for example in incorporating into development cooperation programmes elements to assist with disability related matters.

A worry is also that the DPOs are expected to monitor the governments in the implementation process, but many of these organisations in many countries are simply too weak. Training programs are taking place, but the problem remains. Much more capacity building and better structures are needed. In the five pilot countries of the African Decade Disability Program, [1]Decade Steering Committees (DSCs) have been established, comprised of representatives of government ministries, DPOs, civil society, media, experts on disability and international organizations. The private sector in the countries has been invited to participate. A partnership between the public and the private sectors is crucial for job creation and effective resource mobilization.

The major functions of the National Decade Steering Committees include playing a key role in the preparation of a comprehensive national plan and in the development of national policy. The committees also monitor the implementation of policies and programmes for persons with disabilities in their countries. The African Decade Secretariat’s plan is to facilitate the establishment of new committees in at least 15 other African countries by the end of 2009. [2] The mission of the Secretariat is to empower governments, DSCs, DPOs and development organisations to work in partnership to include disability and persons with disabilities into policies and programs in all sectors of society in Africa. This means that the emphasis is on capacitating these actors to work together. One of the Secretariat’s strengths is that we are able to learn from initiatives in one country, and bring them to (or avoid them in) another.

We are also engaging large international organisations in the struggle for mainstreaming. Our experience is that it often only takes one meeting, a small effort that brings large results if we manage to get them on board. One current new initiative is collaboration between the Secretariat and UNESCO, to train African journalists in how to report on disability issues in a way that respects their human rights and does not reproduce common stereotypes. Another is to collaborate with UNICEF to ensure that children with disabilities are included in their programs.

Prejudice, exclusion, stigmas and a tendency to still view disability within a charity perspective or a medical model, rather than within the human rights discourse, are all very real barriers to participation for persons with disabilities in Africa today. Combined with a high level of poverty, the African disability movement is facing an uphill struggle. There are positive signs and opportunities, however. The topic of disability and development has been featured in the development discourse for a couple of decades now. Many global and regional discussions and pledges abound to ensure that policies, programs and resources are accessible to persons with disabilities and inclusive of everyone.

Some ten African countries, e.g. Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and South Africa, have developed White Papers on national disability strategies. These are model documents for the mainstreaming of disability. The African Union has taken important and promising initiatives in recent years, such as proclaiming the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. However, Africans with disabilities are increasingly frustrated by the beautiful words, and want action. For this reason the establishment of the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is an important step from talk to implementation.

The Decade was proclaimed in 1999. We only started our work at the Secretariat in 2004. We can regret the delay, but we choose to focus now on our role as facilitators of the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action, capacity building, awareness raising, continued struggle for mainstreaming of disability and against the poverty and exclusion of disabled Africans. Now we will be enforced with a new and important tool, the first-ever human rights convention for persons with disabilities.

* Lina Lindblom, communications officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.

* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at www.pambazuka.org

Notes:

[1] The pilot countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.
[2] Some African countries, e.g. Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and the DRC, have also set up their own Decade Steering Committees outside of the Secretariat’s programme.

For more information, see:
http://www.un.org/News/
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc8.htm

Posted by rollingrains at 04:15 PM

September 01, 2006

Access to Digital Information

NetSquared is a project to facilitate adoption of new, Web 2.0, social web tools by non-profits. Their informal gatherings and conference in the San Francisco Bay Area are an engine of technology dissemination and best practice sharing.

One topic covered at the NetSquared multi-author blog is Accessibility. In the latest post Sharron Rush looks at Goggle's Accessible Search.

Posted by rollingrains at 01:52 PM

August 31, 2006

Helen Henderson on Accessibility & Airline Security

Helen Henderson has done a good article exploring new airline security practices from the perspective of a traveler with a disability.


Long before the sunscreen and the mouthwash and the duty free were banned from the cabin, air travellers who use electric wheelchairs knew only too well what it's like to be buried in pre-flight restrictions.

Wheelchairs as air cargo have always meant a maze of red tape — the planning, the booking, the checking, the re-checking, the worry that no matter how careful everyone tries to be, one of your most precious possessions may come to grief at the hands of strangers in the belly of a jumbo jet.

See Wheelchair users struggle to get airborne

Posted by rollingrains at 08:11 PM

August 23, 2006

Agreement on Accessibility Issues with the Madonna Inn

From USNewsWire.com:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A settlement agreement reached with Madonna Inn Inc. under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will make the landmark roadside Inn more accessible to people with disabilities, the Justice Department announced today.

"People with disabilities too often face unreasonable barriers to enjoying many things most of us take for granted, such as traveling and staying in a hotel or motel," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's settlement is a positive step towards ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy fully the freedom to travel."

Each of the 108 rooms in this well-known lodging facility located just off the 101 freeway on California's Central Coast is uniquely decorated with a special theme and color scheme, including the five designated accessible rooms (Golfer, Vintage, Mt. Vernon, Rose, and Desert Sands). The Inn has agreed to remove barriers to access in each of the designated accessible rooms. In the future, should the Inn grow and expand, the settlement requires additional accessible rooms to be added in compliance with the agreement. The Inn will also provide different bed types in three of the rooms (or two rooms that adjoin from the inside for the price of one); equipment to make rooms accessible to individuals with hearing and vision disabilities; and it will provide additional amenities such as a patio or fireplace in at least two of these rooms.

In addition, the agreement will provide greater access to other spaces and elements throughout the Inn and restaurant. The agreement also provides that the Inn will modify its guest reservation policies to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to stay at the Inn.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the ADA or the agreement can call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access its ADA Web site at http://www.ada.gov.

http://www.usnewswire.com/

Source:
http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=70962

Posted by rollingrains at 07:53 PM

Lex Frieden and the National Council on Disability

A strong voice for the social & policy impact of Universal Design has been "reassigned." Lex Frieden will not be reappointed to lead the National Council on Disability.

As reported in Independence Today:

Frieden said he is proud of the work NCD has done promoting the concept of livable communities. "It's equivalent to the concept of universal design," he said. "The idea is, when we start to build communities, we do so with the assumption that the communities include people with disabilities. So everything from the ground up is going to be designed for all people. The whole issue of disability accommodation becomes superfluous."

Source:
http://www.itodaynews.com/ITNews--FRIEDENOUT072007.htm

Sometimes the simplest truths are the hardest to see.

Posted by rollingrains at 04:46 PM

August 18, 2006

Wealth & Disability: A New Study

The results of the study below are not surprising but the validation through research is an encouraging sign:


More Money Equals Less Disability: Study

08.16.06, 12:00 AM ET

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Even a little extra income can make a big difference in helping middle-class people ward off disability, a new study finds.

"The surprise was at the upper end," said Meredith Minkler, an author of a report on the study in the Aug. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. "We always knew there was a major gap between the very poor and the very rich. To find that the middle class was at a substantial disadvantage to slightly wealthier folks was a surprise."

Source:
http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/health/feeds/hscout/2006/08/16/hscout534415.html

More:

The study was sponsored by the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), which requires the information to help it prepare for the health needs of aging baby boomers -- 8,000 of them per day -- who are now reaching the age of 60.

The study used data on 335,000 people 55 and older collected as part of the Census 2000 American Community Survey. In that survey, pollsters asked older Americans about disabilities that affected basic activities such as walking, reaching and lifting.

Respondents were classified into nine household income levels, starting with poverty ($8,259 for someone 65 or older living alone in 2000, $17,761 for a family of four) and going up to 700 percent of that figure -- $124,327 or over.

As expected, disability increased with age. While 16.2 percent of men aged 55 to 64 reported disability, the incidence for men 85 and older was 47.5 percent. Among women aged 55 to 64, the incidence of disability was 17.2 percent, compared to 57.9 percent for those aged 85 and older.

The difference between making a good income and making a very good income turned out to be important, the researchers said. For example, men aged 65 to 74 in the "600-699 percent" income group ($49,544 single-person income) had a 44 percent higher odds of disability than those in the "700 percent" group, where single-person income topped $57,813 per year. For women aged 55 to 64, that income difference translated to a 16 percent greater incidence of disability.

There are several possible explanations for the income-linked differences, said Dr. Jack Guralnik, chief of the NIA laboratory of epidemiology, demography and biometry, and a member of the research team.

"Health behaviors explain some of this," Guralnik said. "Also, people with lower incomes tend to have less access to medical care."

But, Guralnik said, "There's something going on here that is not easy to understand, something related to what is going on in life at lower income levels."

The NIA will continue to look at differences in disability, he said. "Better understanding of why income status has an impact on health can lead to better interventions," Guralnik noted.

"One of the things we can conjecture is that people who are upper class have slightly better medical care, a better environment in which to live and fewer hassles," said Minkler, a professor of health and social behavior at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health.

Money can also help reduce disability though improvements in the home, she said. "You can widen doorways and put in ramps," Minkler said. "Ultimately, that can make the difference between living at home and being in an institution."

While the United States has "the best-educated, best cared-for population in the history of the world," she said, an increase in disability is inevitable as the number of older people increases. "It's important to find out whether slight increments in income make a difference," Minkler said.

More information

A resource guide for people with disabilities is available from the University of Buffalo.


From:
http://www.healthcentral.com/newsdetail/408/534415.html

Posted by rollingrains at 01:25 AM

August 17, 2006

Reviving the Katrina & Disabilities Conversation

The New Standard has published a good overview of what we all watched happen in realtime after Katrina -- but the major news sources systematically overlooked. If basic accommodation of people with disabilities are so poor when the entire government of the United States turns its attention to a problem can there be any doubt that accessible tourism has a bit of improving to do?

Disabled People 'Left Behind' in Emergency
© 2006 The NewStandard

Aug. 15 – During Hurricane Katrina, Benilda Caixeta, a New Orleans resident with quadriplegia, tried for two days to seek refuge at the Superdome. Despite repeated phone calls to authorities, help never arrived for Caixeta. Days later, she was found dead in her apartment, floating next to her wheelchair.


"Benilda need not have drowned," testified Marcie Roth before the US House of Representatives Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus in November 2005. Roth, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, had personally placed calls to prompt Caixeta’s evacuation.

"People with disabilities are not in good hands," Roth said.

While there are no concrete estimates of how many people with disabilities died as a result of Hurricane Katrina, 71 percent of the 1,330 victims were older than 60, according to a 2006 report by the White House, suggesting people with special needs suffered disproportionately.

Disabled-rights activists have been calling for inclusive disaster-preparedness plans for years – from wheelchair-accessible transportation to closed-caption emergency messages on television. But despite some progress on both the federal and state levels, and even a 2004 Executive Order to strengthen preparedness plans to serve people with disabilities, critics say recent disasters illustrate how disabled people are still being left out of evacuation plans.
Disabled-rights advocates say traditional evacuation plans, which often rely on at least some walking, driving, seeing and hearing, are not appropriate for many people with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that emergency preparedness and response programs be accessible to people with disabilities. But critics say there is currently no standardized federal preparedness plan for disabled people, and many state and local emergency management offices do not have appropriate plans in place to account for special needs.

"There isn’t ownership clearly defined by the federal government as to who is responsible for disability planning," Hilary Styron, director of the Emergency Preparedness Initiative for the National Organization on Disability, told The NewStandard.

While President Bush’s executive order created the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, the council is only instructed to "encourage" state and local jurisdictions to consider special needs in its planning.

The ADA defines a disability as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual." There are an estimated 50 million people living with disabilities in the United States.

Disabled-rights advocates say traditional evacuation plans, which often rely on at least some walking, driving, seeing and hearing, are not appropriate for many people with disabilities. Activists have been pushing for more responsive plans, and for governments to include people with disabilities and their advocates in the planning process. Although some states have adopted measures that have begun to account for the needs of people with disabilities, such as a reverse 9-1-1 system and more accurate records on the locations of people with disabilities, gaps still exist.
“What happens if you lose your wheelchair and then you’re placed in a shelter? You can no longer get up to go to the bathroom by yourself. People lose their independence.”

Styron said emergency managers have difficulty planning for people with disabilities because there is no "one-size-fits-all approach."

She also said many states have seen emergency management funding cut in recent years. According to the National Emergency Management Association, a national nonprofit that produces the only report to examine state-level emergency management funding, there is currently a $246 million shortfall in the government’s Emergency Management Performance Grant Program. The program is the primary federal funding source for states and local jurisdictions’ emergency management programs.

A three-year study completed in 2006 by the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas investigated 30 randomly selected counties, cities or boroughs in the US that had recently experienced a natural or man-made disaster. Researchers found that only 20 percent of the emergency managers had specific guidelines to assist people with mobility impairments during emergencies.

Additionally, the study discovered that 57 percent of emergency managers did not know how many people with mobility impairments lived in their jurisdiction, and only 27 percent of managers reported completing a course offered by FEMA to help emergency responders understand the needs of people with disabilities.

"People [with disabilities] are being left behind," said Cat Rooney, project coordinator for the study.
“If you have a disability, you could be dependent on medical equipment. You could have a special diet. You could have medication that you have to take. You don’t just need a house; you need an accessible house.”

FEMA and emergency management offices in Louisiana, Arizona, Florida, California and Delaware that were part of the University study, did not return TNS interview requests.
Disability un-preparedness

Jeanne Abide, complaints specialist for the Advocacy Center, a disabled-rights organization in New Orleans, said there simply was not appropriate assistance for people with disabilities after the hurricane. According to the National Council on Disability, 155,000 residents living in the three cities hardest hit by Katrina – Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans – were disabled and over the age of five.

Abide told TNS that the preparedness problems specific to people with disabilities in New Orleans included a lack of appropriate transportation and emergency housing. In February, the Center filed a lawsuit against FEMA, alleging that five months after the hurricane, the agency was still not supplying accessible trailers to people with disabilities.

Disabled-rights advocates say that people with disabilities have a host of concerns that non-disabled people may not consider during emergencies. Groups say many people with disabilities in New Orleans were evacuated without their medicine, medical equipment, wheelchairs and even guide animals.

"What happens if you lose your wheelchair and then you’re placed in a shelter?" said Rooney. "You can no longer get up to go to the bathroom by yourself. People lose their independence."

Dr. Glen White, the principal investigator for the University of Kansas study also stressed the needs of people with mental impairments. "If someone has schizophrenia and they’re put in a great big shelter with all these other people around them, and they don’t have medication, that can cause a lot of problems," White told TNS.

Other recent disasters have also put the shortfalls of emergency preparedness and response for those with disabilities in the public eye.

A 2004 report by the California State Independent Living Council (CALSIC) found that the emergency response plan for people with disabilities floundered during the 2003 wildfires, in which 730,000 acres of the state burned. The report said that many people with impairments were unable to see approaching danger, or hear announcements to evacuate, which police sometimes made over loudspeakers. There was a lack of transportation for people who were unable to drive themselves, and power outages meant that emergency responders could not access computerized lists of disabled people. Finally, emergency telephones set up at evacuation sites were not equipped for people who were deaf, and were not within reach of people in wheelchairs.

"There’s just so many tiny things that people don’t think about," White said. "Are these all going to go away? No. But the more planning we can do, the better we can make it for people."

Filling the gaps

As local, state and federal planning fails, people with disabilities and their advocates are doing their best to compensate.

Susan Fitzmaurice, who uses a mobility scooter and has a child who is disabled, was concerned about the temporary housing being offered to Katrina victims, with no mention of the special needs of people with disabilities. Although she lives in Michigan, Fitzmaurice was determined to help. Within days of the hurricane, she set up a website, KatrinaDisability.info, to provide much-needed resources.

"With a typical able-bodied person, you could snatch them up out of their house, take them to a motel room and say, ‘Here’s $50 to get you through the next couple of days,’" Fitzmaurice told TNS. "But if you have a disability, you could be dependent on medical equipment. You could have a special diet. You could have medication that you have to take. You don’t just need a house; you need an accessible house."

Fitzmaurice’s site has now become a clearinghouse for disability-preparedness information, and includes links to local and national emergency response information for Louisiana. She has made similar sites for 30 other states.

"It’s wonderful, but then on the other hand," she said, "I’m like: ‘I shouldn’t be doing this. The federal government should be doing this.’".

Members of the Central Virginia Post-Polio support group are also taking matters into their own hands by inviting speakers to discuss disaster planning at their meetings. Dr. Henry Holland, a polio survivor who uses a wheelchair, and a member of the support group, told TNS that people with disabilities have to become self-reliant.

Holland said the threat of a disaster for someone with a disability is "scary." He said a good support network and generator at his home made him well-equipped if a disaster hit.

"But what about people who can’t afford that or don’t have access to help?" he said.
Addressing the needs

As some people with disabilities and their advocates take matters into their own hands, Styron and others are still pushing federal and local governments to adopt adequate emergency preparedness measures.

Styron said she would like to see a disability coordinator at the federal level, a coordinator assigned to every FEMA region in the country, and a designated off