In Focus: Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Light for the World representatives attend the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) in New York on June 11th - 13th, 2019.
Yeti, Marieke and Rupert at the COSP 2019 Photo Credit: Julian Roniger

What is the COSP?

Each year policymakers, government officials, human right advocates, representatives of international organizations and other attendees meet in New York City for the Conference of States Parties (COSP).

This year the conference will take place June 11- 13th and is officially the 12th session. You might ask yourself what is so different about this conference? For starters, while most conferences related to human rights are held in the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, this event will take place in New York City and uniquely showcases the synergies between development and human rights topics. 

Not able to attend the conference in person? Not a problem, the UN Web TV Channel is available 24 hours a day with selected live programming of United Nations meetings and events as well as with pre-recorded video features and documentaries on various global issues. Visit the website for UN Web TV by clicking here or the picture below.

Screenshot of the website for the UN Web TV

What will be discussed?

The main theme throughout the conference will be: "Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)". 

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Technology, digitalization and ICTs for the empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities
  • Social inclusion and the right of the highest attainable standard of health 
  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities in society through participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

Source: United Nations - Disability: Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Light for the World in Attendance:

Representatives from Light for the World will be in attendance at the conference and include Yetnebersh Nigussie (Director of Advocacy and Rights), Rupert Roniger (CEO), Marieke Boersma (Director of Disability Inclusion in Community Development) as well as UK Trustee for Light for the World - Susan Scott-Parker.

Side Event - June 13th

Hundreds of individual events will take place parallel to the main conference. On June 13th, Light for the World will take part in a very special side event in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in New York, the International Disability and Development Consortium, Zero Project and many others.

The event is called "Community Based Inclusive Development - Working with Communities in the Implementation of the CRPD and SDGs" and will begin with a speech from the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations in New York, Jan Kickert. 

Why the side event:

The side event will place emphasis on the importance of implementing outreach in communities (especially rural communities) for people with disabilities who may not have access to fundamental services and rights. 

Our very own Yetnebersh Nigussie will be a panellist at this event.

Portrait of Yetnebersh Nigussie


"Our role as an NGO is to explore how far conferences such as this have affected the community we are working for. What has happened with the legislation as well as how it impacts our communities. We must make sure that what the governments are saying actually are enacted and affect the people in a positive way. We need to ensure that the focus is on the community."

-Yetnebersh Nigussie

Light for the World will present valuable insight with Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) in rural community levels as well as the role we can have in rural communities to meet the needs of people with disabilities. We will provide anecdotes from our fieldwork in order to make the needs of the communities known in order to inform the different stakeholders (Politicians, UN officials and other organizations). It is clear that there is a drive to include people with disabilities, the problem is many are not sure how to do so. The goal of this discussion is to shed some light on how this inclusion can take place.

Invitation for COSP Side event