Direct Action at the United Nations Conference of States Parties UNCRPD makes point of principle on Access

June 23, 2019 by Richard Rieser

Delegates to the Civil Society Forum of the Conference of State Parties of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held on Monday 10th June were told by Mohammed Lofty of DPI who was chairing the afternoon session that the UN had decidded on ‘safety grounds’that wheelchair users who were observers, would not be alloweed to the opening ceremony in the General Assembly Hall on the morning of Tuesday 11th June and that the afternoon and subsequent sessions in Committee Room C they would need to go to an overflow room in Committee Room E to watch proceedings remotely.

This led to a number of delegate observers from the UK Michelle Daley, Anthony Ford, Richard Rieser and Lucy Mason to start a discussion that led to a leaflet and a call for a puicket the next morning
Leaflet given out at UN Picket 11th June 2019

Efforts were made to run off leaflets at the Hotel were delegates were staying and this was bbosted by Fed EX being open until 10 pm wwhere another 200 were printed.

Pictures of thje Picket
Picket at UN 110619

Richard Rieser representing Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance International Committee, the author of the leaflet, was at the UN in the Foyer to give out leaflets at 8.50 am and soon joined by many other delegates and more than 60 mainly wheelchair users joined the picket. Many country delegates to the COSPs took the leaflet and said they would rais the matter inside. Soon officials from the UN came and said it was a mistake and would be sorted out. We said we would not move until the matter was resolved. Fifeteen Min utes later Vladamir Cuk, Chief Executive of International Disability Alliance thanked us and said 20 wheelchair using observers would be allowed onto the floor of the general assembly and 40 in the balcony. This would not have happened without the Action.

This photo shows wheelchair using observers inside the General Assembly
Picket Tuesday 11th June at UN

Wheelchair users can bee seen on right and left of the main floor as a result of the action.