The U.S. Embassy supported the 4th Congress of Persons with Disabilities which took place on October 25th in Warsaw. A grassroots and nonpartisan initiative, the Congress gathered several hundred activists who advocate for the rights of people with disabilities all over Poland. The Embassy’s Cultural Attaché Dan Hastings gave remarks at the Congress along with Prof. Jonas Ruškus, UN Representative for Disability Rights, Polish Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, and the two disability activists Anna Rutz and Adam Zawisny. Participants discussed different approaches to advocacy, inclusion of underrepresented persons with disabilities (e.g. women with disabilities), the right to independent living, accessibility, and many other important issues.
Support for the Congress came through a grant that the U.S. Embassy Warsaw awarded to the Fundacja Instytut Rozwoju Regionalnego for their Advocating for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities project. The project includes the organization of the National Congress in Warsaw, a series of regional meetings of disability activists and local officials across Poland, as well as an educational manual for Polish NGOs and local leaders on disability rights and strategies for addressing discrimination against people with disabilities. The grant is part of the U.S. government’s worldwide commitment to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and advocating for their full inclusion in society on an equal basis with other citizens.