Access Living leader elected president of International Disability Group

On March 6, Access Living’s Marca Bristo was elected President of the United States International Council on Disability (USICD). Committed to international disability rights, USICD is a federation comprised of the leading disability organizations with international agendas and national memberships, government agencies with a deep interest in international disability affairs, and individuals committed to international disability rights. Founded in 1988, USICD utilizes the resources of the United States disability community and the United States government to optimize their impact on improving the lives of and circumstances of people with disabilities worldwide. USICD is the only United States member of both Rehabilitation International and Disabled People’s International, the only global cross-disability organizations granted official Consultative Status by the United Nations (UN). With access to the resources offered by RI and DPI, USICD serves as a gateway for information exchange and technical assistance opportunities internationally.

As president of USICD, Marca will take the lead in achieving the organization’s goals for the coming year, one of which is United States’ ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. USICD participated in the recent treaty negotiation process that resulted in the 2007 adoption of the Convention, which is the first human rights treaty of the 21st Century. The United States still has yet to sign. In the months to come, USICD will focus its efforts around winning national support for the treaty.

United Nations treaties require a certain number of ratifications before they “enter into force.” In early April, Ecuador became the 20th country to ratify the Convention, the requisite number to trigger it into effect. Since 2007, USICD has convened two National Convention Ratification Strategy Sessions, each with more than 100 participants. The sessions initiated discussion among disability advocacy groups about the nation’s ratification and implementation.

In addition to her position as President of USICD, Marca also serves as Vice President of North America for Rehabilitation International.