Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Friday, December 29, 2006

Some Good News to End 2006

It is encouraging that Lord Dubs (formerly the Labour MP Alf Dubs) introduced a Private Bill into the House of Lords on 15 December 2006. He had queued for hours to be the first Peer to introduce a Private Bill in the new Session. I was able to speak to Lord Dubs on the telephone the day before and offered to co-operate. The Private Bill is called Cluster Munitions (Prohibition) Bill [HL] and it is a great importance to those campaigning against anti-personnel weapons. This has a connection to my paper I intend to present next year at the 14th Deafblind International (Dbl) World Conference in Perth about weapons which are designed to intentionally blind and/or deafen people. Here is a Hansard transcript of the debate on 15 December 2006. The full text of the Bill available in PDF or html format is available here. It will be helpful if readers wishing to support Lord Dubs would write to him at the House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. The Bill was carried at the First Reading but its future is uncertain so support is essential. I have just learned that a similar Bill has been introduced into the Australian Senate on 5 December 2006 by Senator Lyn Allison. A brief description on Wikipedia is here and details from the Australian Senate website is here.

UN Adopts Global Treaty for the Disabled

Some readers will remember that I often listen to a online US news radio programme called Democracy Now (click here). I listen to this via my computer and this means that I always have clear reception. I recommend this programme hosted by Amy Goodman. Quite often I hear news items which are not covered by the BBC even though they concern British events. Thus I learned that there were protests in London and other British cities at the time of Tony Blair's announcement that he wanted to replace the Trident nuclear system. I heard nothing about those demonstrations on main BBC radio. On 14 December 2006, I heard on Democracy Now the following news item concerning the UN:
At the UN, the General Assembly has adopted a landmark treaty to uphold the rights of the disabled. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been hailed the first human rights treaty of the 21st century.
This text comes from here. As far as I know main BBC Radio news did not mention this important event. Full details from the UN website are here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

14th Deafblind International (Dbl) World Conference

This is to remind readers of this important conference. This will be the biggest gathering of deafblind people ever and I would encourage readers of this blog to take an interest and consider participating. This applies in particular to those in the southern hemisphere. I will be attending and in fact I intend to present a paper. I have drawn up an abstract of my paper and this has been sent to the conference organisers. This draft has been forwarded to the section considering papers/workshops to be given at the conference. I am very excited about the opportunity to give this paper and welcome any contributions in this endeavour. I will update this blog with news of progress. Here is the text of my draft so far : TITLE: Identification and control by UN member states of weapons designed to cause blindness and /or deafness. A) Brief statement of contents. 1. Are there weapons designed to cause blindness and/ or deafness? Yes. Brief description of them. 2. Where are these weapons manufactured? Where have they been used? 3. What legislation have UN member states introduced to identify, regulate and licence the manufacture of such weapons. 4. What are the international controls on the export/import and use of these weapons by parties under the jurisdiction of UN member states? 5. How informed are their organisations of and for deaf, blind and deafblind people in all UN member states about this issue. 6. Should DbI and it's constituent organisations take a stand on this issue? 7. Should this subject be addressed in the UN Convention on Disability, now in gestation? B) DESCRIPTION OF PRESENTATION 1. I propose to begin my presentation by putting the above questions to the audience. 2. I will then give answers as far as I can to my own questions. 3. I will then seek the views on these topics of the audience. I prefer that those people writing to address these matters provide written contributions that can be distributed before the conference begins. C) SUMMARY OF MAIN PURPOSE OF PRESENTATION 1. Obviously the intention of the paper is to direct the attention of the DbI and the db movement in general to the existence of these weapons. I would like to use this paper as a springboard to force governments to debate these issues in their legislatures and in other forums. I am looking for a resolution emanating from this paper/ workshop directing the DbI ruling body to take note of the contents of this paper/ workshop and any decisions/ recommendations flowing from it. I am well aware that some organisations will wish to avert their eyes from the subject of this paper/ workshop.