August 8, 2014

Dunya and Danish

Dunya is two and half years and Danish is two months old. They turned the light on in my life. They shine like sun every morning they wake up and open their eyes. When Dunya says 'sub bakhair' or 'morning' to Papa and Mama every morning, she energizes us for the day. I always heard from parents that your children are pieces of your heart and I thought it was just an express to love every parent have for their children, but I never felt it. Danish and Dunya have started giving me that feelings of how they can be pieces of heart for us. They even make us feel that they are our world, THE world we have.

Dunya, whose name means 'world' speaks so cutely with a sweet accent mixing up French and Dari and English as well sometimes. She is a lot cleverer than one can think of. She makes a lot of jokes, especially if Papa accepts her invitation to go to her room and play with her. She loves reading books, but she doesn't like reading the texts, she wants me to make story out of images, if I followed her rule, she is never tired of listening and keeps enjoying and making reaction to stories, ask questions and sometimes she put back on track if my story was completely out of what the images reflect. She has been getting lots of gifts but her number one favorite is 'book' and number two is 'pink cloths'. Our friends are seem to be well aware of her favoritesJ. The other day I was amazed with her hospitality behavior, a friend visited us, Dunya sat next to her and made sure she had access to tea and chocolate by pushing the tea-cup closer to her reach, giving her chocolates and giving her a tour of her toys and her room. She already proved that is a true Afghan!

Danish means 'education' or 'wisdom' in Dari. It's a pure Dari name, usually it's known as a 'last name' but because we like it, we decided to choose Danish as first name. He is a big boy, he was nearly 5kg when he was born, now after two months he is about 7kg, he doesn’t look like he is fat because his height is good enough to accommodate his weight. His Asian spiky hair makes him look very stylish though sometime shows him over his age. The day a lady stopped us in the kids’ park and said how cute and handsome Danish was, but she was surprised when we told her Danish was only two months old, she thought we were joking. He behaves so well, he is quite most of the times, he gives a lot of smiles when we talk to him. His intelligence struck me on his day two when his eyes could follow the moves and made eye contact! He is lovely kid, who I like to hold all the times!

Before they were born, I would usually end up to work or just spent time on computer and internet after long days of work, but now as soon as I am back Dunya and Danish are ready to play, play and play until they go to bed and refresh Papa until next day.

Love you both, Dunya and Danish!

October 10, 2013

*** It's very nice of Mr Ban Ki-moon to quote me in his statement. Thank you Sir! ***

International Day for Disaster Reduction
13 October

Secretary-General's Message for 2013

“Persons with disabilities are the biggest untapped resource for disaster planners around the world.”  These are the words of Firoz Ali Alizada, a double amputee from Afghanistan who responded to a United Nations survey which uncovered scores of stories that speak to the ingenuity and drive of persons with disabilities to manage risk from disasters.
More than one billion persons in the world live with a disability.  This year’s commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is an opportunity to recognize their vital role in fostering resilience.
Unfortunately, most persons with disabilities have never participated in disaster management or related planning and decision making processes.  They suffer disproportionately high levels of disaster-related mortality and injuries.
Early warning systems, public awareness campaigns and other responses often fail to consider the needs of persons with disabilities, putting them at an unnecessarily elevated risk and sending a harmful message of inequality.
We can change this situation by including persons with disabilities in disaster resilience initiatives and policy planning.  The recent General Assembly High-level Meeting on Disability and Development recognized the urgent need for action on this issue, which is also addressed in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  
Inclusion saves lives. And it empowers persons with disabilities to take ownership of their own safety – and that of their community.
We can already see their potential contribution in the many persons with visible and invisible disabilities around the world who already serve as volunteers and workers helping communities when disaster hits to cope and bounce back.
On the International Day for Disaster Reduction, let us resolve to do everything possible to ensure that all persons with disabilities have the highest possible levels of safety and the greatest possible chance to contribute to the overall wellbeing of society.
Let us build an inclusive world where persons with disabilities can play an even greater role as resourceful agents of change.
Ban Ki-moon

October 3, 2013

Moving Towards New Heights: World leaders are taking actions to uphold rights of persons with disabilities

Dance presentation at the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. © Giovanni Diffidenti
Dance presentation at the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. © Giovanni Diffidenti
Firoz Alizada – Campaign Manager, International Campaign to Ban Landmines

A decade ago, the issue of disability was nowhere on the global agenda and the need to address this was barely understood by the world’s decision makers. For instance, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) contained no reference to persons with disabilities. The more than 1 billion persons with disabilities, including mine survivors, were viewed as a burden, as objects of charity and treatment.

Fortunately the last ten years have brought about a paradigm shift among the world’s leaders on the issue of disability and today this is recognized as a global issue of concern that needs to be addressed. This evolution would not have been possible without the adoption of the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the determined efforts of those who fought relentlessly for the creation and adoption of this Convention.

The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), the first disarmament regime to recognize the rights of an indiscriminate weapon’s victims and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which contains a ground-breaking provision on victim assistance, have contributed enormously to the recognition of rights of persons with disabilities at the international level but also and most significantly among landmine and cluster munition affected countries.

The UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), which took place on 23 September, marked a milestone in the promotion of the rights and the needs of persons with disabilities in the context of the MDGs. After the adoption of the CRPD in 2006, this is the first time that rights of persons with disabilities have been discussed at the highest level within framework of the UN agenda.

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke at the opening session of the HLMDD and urged the international community to “forge the way forward and build a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”. He encouraged the international community to go beyond changing “laws or policies or regulations” and to “remove barriers, open new doors and build capacity and inspire change on the ground.”

More than 50 statements from UN Member States, UN Agencies and civil society supported the commitments highlighted in the outcome document, which is highly action oriented. Speaking at the meeting, Austria’s President, H.E. Mr. Heinz Fischer, whose country is a leader in victim assistance, reminded the world “it is our duty to guarantee their (persons with disabilities) full and equal participation in our societies without mental, physical or legal barriers and this must be our common goal.” HRH Prince Raad Bin Zeid of Jordan, where a significant number of landmine survivors live, called on States to “work together to translate the outcome document into action with a clear rights-based mechanism…”

Civil society at global and national levels (including members of the ICBL-CMC) contributed substantially to preparations for the HLMDD. Persons with disabilities were among the leading organizers of this initiative. Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis, a representative of persons with disabilities, called on the international community to make sure that “persons with disabilities are able to fully enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens of the world. Inclusion, non-discrimination and equity must be the driving principles on which the new global development agenda is framed,” Vardakastanis said. These principles are included in the outcome document.

The HLMDD and related developments have strengthened the efforts in the framework of the MBT and the CCM to address the needs of landmine and cluster bomb victims. Similarly, the experiences gained through implementation of these two treaties have also contributed to promoting the rights of all people with disabilities. The outcome document will help efforts for further synergies between disability and victim assistance.

My hope is that all States Parties to the MBT and the CCM use these opportunities to step up their efforts in fulfilling their victim assistance obligations. This focus will be particularly important in the lead up to the crucial Third Review Conference of the MBT, which will take place from 30 June to 4 July 2014 in Mozambique. I also hope that states strongly support the full inclusion of rights of persons with disabilities in their post-2015 development frameworks.

I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to all of my colleagues with disabilities who have been vigorously fighting for recognition of our rights and ensuring a life with full dignity for all persons with disabilities! I am proud of our continued contributions in promoting the rights of landmine and cluster munition survivors and other persons with disabilities. We have achieved a lot so far and we have a lot more to do for full realization of our rights!

Published on ICBL-CMC Blog: