DPI e-update - 5 December 2011

December 6, 2011


Welcome to Disabled Peoples International's (DPI's) E-news. Please continue to send your activities, conference information, and publications news to Dr. Cassandra Phillips at info@dpi.org.

Government of Australia Lifelong Achievement Award for Disability

DPI congratulates Frank Hall-Bentick on receiving the Government of Australia's Lifelong Achievement Award for Disability. A tireless, grass-roots campaigner for the rights of people with disability, Frank has contributed to improving human rights for people with disability for more than thirty years. Frank played a pivotal role in the development of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and successfully lobbied for its ratification in Australia in 2008. The Convention now forms the basis for Australian Government policy and program development for people with disabilities.


UN calls for Ban on Solitary Confinement

Last month, a United Nations expert on torture called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, with an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.

"Segregation, isolation, separation . . . whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique," stated the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez at the United Nation's General Assembly's third committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs. Read more at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40097&Cr=torture&Cr1=


  The Forgotten Children

Protection systems and monitoring mechanisms rarely addressed the special challenges facing girls, children with disabilities and the world's most impoverished young people at great cost not just to them, but to their entire societies, the head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) in October 2011. "Too many children are being left behind, deprived of their right to thrive and grow simply because they were born female, or have a disability or live in one of the world's poorest and most isolated places," Anthony Lake said, as he launched the Committee's three-day discussion on the promotion and protection of the rights of children at the United Nation's General Assembly's third committee. Read more at http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/gashc4010.doc.htm


Victory against Torture

We can celebrate a major victory against torture of people with disabilities in the United States. The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) adopted new regulations last month that greatly restrict the intentional use of pain as a form of treatment - including the use of electric shock, seclusion, and restraints on young children and adults with disabilities. Read more at http://www.disabilityrightsintl.org/


Stigma against Persons with Disabilities in South Africa

Stigma and prejudice is fuelled by a lack of knowledge and increasing public awareness about mental disabilities will reduce discrimination, says Gadija Koopman, Deputy Director of Cape Mental Health Society. Read more at



More on Stigmatization

In Sierra Leone misconceptions about blindness are widespread, and people often blame blindness and other disabilities on witchcraft, but local and international work is being done to reduce stigma and open up opportunities, according to campaigners. Read more at http://allafrica.com/stories/201111041133.html


Disability History Month, United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Disability History Month is an annual event creating a platform to focus on the history of the struggle for equality and human rights in the United Kingdom. This is the second year for the event themed, "Celebrating Our Struggle for Equality." To read more go to    http://ukdisabilityhistorymonth.com/what_is_/


New Publications of Interest

UK Equality and Human Rights Commission: Hidden in Plain Sight - Inquiry into disability related harassment - Nov 2011. Download at



Council of Europe on the Participation of People with Disabilities in Political and Public Life . Download at



Women with Disabilities Australia's Submission to Australia's fifth report to the Committee Against Torture is available at http://www.wwda.org.au/subs2011.htm


More information on disability and the media. Download at http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_214917_en.pdf


To see the html version and past e-news archives, please go to http://www.dpi.org/lang-en/index.php?page=23