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Stevie Wonder Says Overcome Lobbyists for US To Ratify Disabilities Convention

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- When Stevie Wonder spoke at the UN on disabilities and development on Monday, it was a feel good moment. Inner City Press asked Wonder about the United States not having ratified the Disabilities Convention: what are the stumbling blocks?

Wonder said he didn't know the ins and outs of the stumbling blocks, but they will be overcome. We can't let the lobbyists win, he said.

Inner City Press also asked about accessibility at the UN itself. In July, Kenya's Ambassador said the UN has "no inkling" how to be accessible to the disabled. When Inner City Press pursued it, word was that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is working on a Bulletin on Accessibility. But where is it?

In the front row at Monday's press conference was UN official Daniela Bas, who last week told Inner City Press she couldn't speak for Ban on the matter of the Bulletin on Accessibility. So who can?

On the panel with Stevie Wonder was Philippines Ambassador Libran Cabactulan. He previously tried to become Ban's High Representative on Disarmament, but was passed over for Angela Kane of Germany, who needed another high post after leaving the Department of Management.

If Cabactulan had gotten that post, it would be him negotiating with the Assad government of Syria for access to investigate chemical weapons. Be careful what you wish for? Watch this site.

Footnote: DPI's chief moderated the press conference, gracefully. While he gave the first question to UNCA, he gave the second to Inner City Press, which thanked all three including Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Chair of the Committee of Rights of Person with Disabilities on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info.

  Given much history, limitations and rights of free speech and association, when UNCA gets or takes the first questions, FUNCA will too. And Monday it was appreciated.


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