The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) organised a panel discussion on participation of persons with disabilities in political and cultural life on 14 June 2017 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.

It was held on the side-lines of the United Nations Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN COSP), the largest and most diverse international disability meeting in the world. The UN COSP drew the participation of more than 1,200 representatives of government delegations, UN Agencies, civil society organisations, National Human Rights Institutes, and Disabled Persons Organisations.

ASEF’s event, titled “Nothing about us without us: Enhancing participation of persons with disabilities in political and cultural life in Asia & Europe” was co-organised with CBM International and the International Disability Alliance. It was held as a follow-up to the 16th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, which took place on 8–10 November 2016 in Beijing, China, on “Persons with Disabilities and Human Rights”. It provided a unique opportunity to share the outcomes of the Seminar and promote the forthcoming publication, “Human Rights & Disabilities” to an audience of experts in the field of disability.

Moderated by Mirjam GASSER from CBM Switzerland, the panel addressed the importance of inclusion of persons with disabilities in policy processes. Dr Rosemary KAYESS (University of South Wales, Australia) stressed the need for accessible party systems while Nadia HADAD (European Disability Forum/European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) questioned the accessibility standards of voting instructions and information in Europe. Sebastien KESSLER (Swiss Delegation to the UN COSP) highlighted the importance to expand disability across all areas and to assess the effectiveness and influence of inclusion. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were identified by Risna UTAMI (Indonesian National Consortium for Disability Rights) as an opportunity to reinforce the role of persons with disabilities and representative organisations in public policy.

The event was broadcasted live on UN Web TV and is now available on-demand. You can watch the panel discussion here.