International Conference on Disability Rights 2023: Advancing Disability Rights Through Inclusive Disability Development

Posted on January 9, 2024 by Dhina Kartikasari


The Australia-Indonesia Disability Research and Advocacy Network (AIDRAN), a research partner of INKLUSI, held the International Conference on Disability Rights (ICDR) 2023 from 21-23 November. Themed Advancing Disability Rights: Disability Inclusive Development Reimagined, the event was opened at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta by the Counsellor of Development Effectiveness and Sustainability at the Australian Embassy.

ICDR is a biennial conference where experts, academics, activists, and disability rights advocates from various countries, supported by Australia and Indonesia come together.

This year marks the third edition of ICDR organised by AIDRAN, in collaboration with the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Gadjah Mada University (Fisipol UGM), Australian Catholic University (ACU) and is supported by the Australia-Indonesia Partnership Towards an Inclusive Society (INKLUSI).  Participants from over 10 countries shared their experiences, knowledge, challenges, and best practices in disability-inclusive development (DID) from their respective countries.

ICDR 2023 strengthens the collaboration between Australia and Indonesia in ensuring the rights of people with disabilities. “The Australian government’s support through the INKLUSI program for the implementation of this conference is expected to further strengthen cooperation between higher education institutions in Australia and Indonesia. Universities play a crucial role in promoting social change by supporting the rights of disabled groups through academic activities and community empowerment programs,” Simon Ernst, Counsellor of Development Effectiveness and Sustainability at the Australian Embassy, expressed his support for the conference in his opening speech.

AIDRAN, as a research institution dedicated to the rights of people with disabilities, remains committed to promoting the rights of people with disabilities through research and social advocacy. “Through ICDR, AIDRAN encourages higher education institutions in Indonesia to lead in respecting the rights of people with disabilities by providing access to higher education and advocating policy change through academic activities such as research and teaching to promote social change,” said Slamet Thohari, Indonesian Chair of AIDRAN.

Over two days, disability inclusion issues considering social, cultural, political contexts, and inclusive disability participation in development were shared.

Several INKLUSI partners also shared best practices in promoting social inclusion for people with disabilities through their various initiatives.

SIGAB, the Sasana Inclusion and Advocacy Movement for Disabled People, discussed the criteria for developing Inclusive Villages across Indonesia based on equality and respect for the rights of all communities, especially for people with disabilities. SIGAB also shared their experiences and challenges in improving access to assistive products for people with disabilities. YAKKUM Rehabilitation Centre reflected on their success identifying and organising people with disabilities into Self Help Groups (SHG). The SHG initiative empowers and mobilises individuals at the grassroots to improve their access to health services, caregiving, and strengthen their advocacy. KAPAL Perempuan who runs informal women’s schools and collects data on marginalised women discussed the need for comprehensive data, tools, and government systems at the district and provincial levels to support comprehensive and accurate data and information collection to inform policies and programs for marginalised women in remote areas.

Migrant CARE presented a case study on the vulnerabilities of migrant workers and disability issues using an intersectional analysis approach, particularly in terms of social security, health insurance, and protection for migrant workers from the risks of work-related accidents that trigger physical or mental disabilities.

Collectively, these initiatives provide a glimpse of the diverse strategies, commitment, and resources required to create an inclusive environment for people with disabilities across Indonesian society.

“The diversity of themes and perspectives in ICDR 2023 reflects the need to understand disability rights in social, cultural, and political contexts using an intersectional analysis approach. This conference is expected to enrich discussions and sharpen our understanding of the various barriers faced by people with disabilities in participating in development,” said Dr. Wawan Mas’Udi, Dean of Fisipol UGM.

Through the ICDR event, concrete contributions are anticipated towards positive changes for the rights of people with disabilities in Indonesia and worldwide, supporting the realisation of an inclusive society, in line with the Indonesian government’s commitments to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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