Seminar on the Rights of Disabled Persons in Poverty Reduction and Seminar on Empowerment of People with Disabilities and Their Organisations

We had international guests for the abovementioned seminars including UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, Mr. Shuaib Chalklen, Ms. Maria Reina (Global Partnership on Disability and Development) and Mr. Kudakwashe Dube (Secretariat of the African Decade on Disability). The former seminar was held in the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the latter in the Threshold Association. Both seminars were open to everybody, which I thought was great. The guests were the same but the profile of the participants were different from each other: the first were attended by DPOs, government officials, academics, staff of Embassies, while the latter mainly by DPOs. In both seminars, around 40-50 persons were present.

Importance of DPOs and ownership of persons with disabilities on own agenda was repeatedly assured, even though many share the feeling that DPOs are still weak. Cooperation of many actors is indespensable for tackling a number of challenges, but it takes time. The importance of disability to be recognised as rights issues started to penetrate, while few governments financially and concretely support initiatives of global disability communities. Kalle Könkkölä's comment summarises well the discussion we had: "We cannot sleep and wait. If we do, there is only a frog who comes and kisses you." Continuous efforts of DPOs are still highly needed even after entering into the era of human rights and disability after the Convention. They were both very exciting seminars. Thank you for the organisers!