United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) Newsletter

December 2017
International Advocate Risnawati Utami, Senator Tom Harkin & Paralympic Gold Medalist & USICD Board Member, Candace Cable

USICD Holds Memorable, Beautiful Gala!
The 2017 USICD Gala to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was held at the Embassy of France on 5 December. The evening kicked off with the French Ambassador, His Excellency Ambassador Gerard Araud, and USICD President Dr. Patricia Morrissey, providing opening remarks. Also in attendance was His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Hamdullah Mohib, Embassy of Afghanistan, and several charge d'affaires from Embassies in the Washington, DC area.

This year's Dole-Harkin awards were presented by Senator Tom Harkin to Senator John Barrasso and the Honorable Judith Heumann. The International Advocate award was presented by USICD Board Member and Paralympic gold medalist, Candace Cable, to Risnawati Utami from Indonesia. 

During Senator Barrasso's remarks he attributed much of his disability advocacy to the work he did for 24 years as an orthopedic surgeon in Wyoming working with individuals and families living with  muscular dystrophy. 

Senator John Barrasso _right_ with Mr. Jim Sinocchi_ JPMorgan Chase _Co. 
Senator John Barrasso (right) 
with Mr. Jim Sinoocchi from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Judith Heumann motivated Gala guests with a call-to-action to support USICD. In her remarks,  she said:

"I really hope that at the end of this evening, you go home committed to supporting USICD; to doing the work that needs to be done to get the [disability] treaty ratified; to get the voices of disabled people from  the United States and around the  world, to enable disabled people in the U.S., to travel abroad, study  abroad, and work abroad!"

Dole-Harkin Honoree Judith Heumann with Senator Tom Harkin

Risnawati Utami shared her delight in receiving USICD's International Advocate award as the first international award she had received and spoke passionately about her organization, OHANA-- which in Indonesia means "No One Left Behind."  Risna also mentioned her candidacy for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Committee. 

Please Consider USICD During Your Year-End Giving


Happy Holidays!!

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, your tax-deductible donation will go a long way to helping USICD in our mission of promoting the rights and full participation of persons with disabilities through global engagement and U.S. foreign affairs!

Please take a moment to view a short video of our work in 2017

The last 25 years have been amazing, but we still have a lot of work to do to:
  • Realize our Mission & Vision
  • Achieve Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Advocate for a permanent Office on International Disability Rights at the Department of State
  • Ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars are not spent overseas in any way that segregates people with disabilities
  • Ensure international donor policies are inclusive of people with disabilities from the solicitation phase to field implementation
  • And so much more!
Please  consider a  donation to USICD in your year-end giving. 
USICD Releases Annual Report for 2017
Each year, USICD releases an Annual Report that gives an overview of USICD activities and accomplishments over the past year, a snapshot of USICD's finances, and updated information on the membership of its Board of Directors. The Annual Report is typically released near or on the date of USICD's Annual Meeting.

Cover of the 2017 USICD Annual Report with the logo for USICDs 25th anniversary which shows the globe in gray and gold embedded within the bottom curve of the numeral 5 in 25th Anniversary
Protecting People with Disabilities in Conflicts
By Catalina Devandas, Shantha Rau Barriga, Professor Gerard Quinn, Janet Lord

People with disabilities rank high among those badly affected by conflict. For one thing, conflicts degrade whatever support systems are in existence. The lucky ones can flee--but many are forced by their circumstances to remain in the conflict zone after others have been evacuated, and are particularly vulnerable as a result.

Refugees carrying possessions flee fighting, walking down a dry dirt road. One man on crutches pauses to rest, with one arm draped over one of his crutches and his head resting on his arm face down. The tendency in many countries to congregate people with disabilities into institutions creates heightened vulnerabilities that can complicate the task of civilian protection. History is replete with examples, for instance, the slaughter of civilians with disabilities at a psychiatric hospital during the Rwandan genocide or, earlier, under the Nazi T-4 programme of extermination of disabled adults and children in institutions and hospitals. Indeed, the very existence of clustered settlements - psychiatric hospitals, orphanages, social care homes and other institutions - can tempt some combatants to use people with disabilities as human shields.

Read the rest of this article in the December 1st, 2017, issue of Nato Review. 

One of the authors, Janet Lord, serves on USICD's Board of Directors.
My Perspective on Why it is Important for the U.S. to Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), by Della Leonor
Woman with short hair is shown from the shoulders up Writer Della Leonor, member of the National Anti-Poverty Commission of the Philippines government, says "As the most powerful nation, if the United States ratifies the CRPD, it would send a strong message around the world that it, too, supports comprehensive human rights for people with disabilities at a global level."

Read Della Leonor's full blog post on why she believes the U.S. should ratify the international human rights treaty Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at USICD's blog site.
Use Amazon Smile to Support USICD
Consider using Amazon Smile to do your online shopping and support USICD at the same time! Instead of using your usual link, visit this link:

From this link, do your holiday shopping and make your purchases as usual. A percentage of your purchases will be donated to USICD!

Gerard Quinn, Long Time Global Disability Rights Advocate in Ireland, Retires from Director Post 
Gerard Quinn, the founding Director of the Centre on Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at the National University of Ireland (NUI), has announced that he will step down from his position at the end of December 2017. In the new year, he will assume two part-time research chairs--one at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (University of Lund, Law Faculty, Sweden), and one in Leeds University (UK). 

Under his leadership, the CDLP has trained hundreds of disability rights advocates around the world via its various academic programs, including its LLM and doctorate degrees and its Disability Law summer program. During his career, Gerard Quinn was involved with the negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

USICD honored Gerard Quinn for his global disability rights advocacy work at its 2014 Annual Gala.
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In This Issue
USICD Holds Memorable, Beautiful Gala!
Please Support USICD!
USICD Releases Annual Report for 2017
Protecting People with Disabilities in Conflicts
My Perspective on Why it is Important for the US to Ratify the CRPD
Using Amazon Smile to Support USICD
Events and Opportunities
Director of Development at Women Enabled International, part time position (20 to 25 hours), can be based in Washington DC or New York, application deadline January 31, 2018

U.S. and Ireland Independent Living Peer Project, June 13, 2018 Opportunity for independent living advocates to network with Ireland peers to promote independent living in the U.S. and Ireland.

The next World Down Syndrome Congress will be held in Scotland, July 24-27, 2018, sign up to be notified when more detail becomes available.
For more international disability news, events, and opportunities as they occur, check USICD's Twitter Feed USICD's Facebook page , or USICD's LinkedIn page !
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Board of Directors
Patricia Morrissey - President
John Wodatch- Vice President
Marca Bristo - Past President
Ted Mauro - Secretary
Jerry McCloskey - Treasurer

Judy Heumann               Candace Cable
Jill Houghton
Axel Leblois
Barbara LeRoy
Janet Lord
Susan Mazrui
David Hutt
Michael Brogioli
Shelia Newman
Stephanie Ortoleva
Susan Parker
Neil Romano 
Eric Rosenthal
Meg O'Connell
Kirt Toombs
William Abrams
Katherine Guernsey
Ruthie Marie Beckwith
CRPD Ratification Watch
As of December 2017 :
  • 160 Signatories
  • 175 Ratifications
Optional Protocol:
  • 92 Signatories
  • 92 Ratifications
Recent Ratifications:
Monaco ratified the convention on September 19, 2017 

Fiji ratified the convention on June 7, 2017

Suriname ratified the convention on March 29, 2017

Federated States of Micronesia ratified the convention on December 7, 2016

Democratic Republic of Korea ratified the convention on December 6, 2016

Samoa ratified the convention on December 2, 2016

Belarus ratified the convention on November 29, 2016

Central African Republic ratified the convention on October 11, 2016

Iceland ratified the convention on September 23, 2016

Netherlands ratified the convention on July 13, 2016

Comoros ratified the convention on June 16, 2016

Finland ratified the convention on May 11, 2016

Brunei Darussalam ratified the convention on April 11, 2016

Sri Lanka ratified the convention on February 8, 2016

Antigua and Barbuda ratified the convention on January 7, 2016

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