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NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2023

Influencing Public Policies


2023 ELECTIONS: 15 NATIONAL PROPOSALS ON DISABILITY. In this election year, marked by a deep crisis, we shared our proposals among the candidates, at discussion tables, workshops to promote rights and in the media. More info https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/15-propuestas-en-discapacidad  

In a complex scenario, where social, economic, political and human rights will suffer brutal setbacks, we must keep on struggling. Neither isolated nor divided by diagnoses, issues or identities, but together around mottos that reflect our shared reality with the poor, the unemployed and those who will suffer from policies instrumented by the ruling class. 


PROGRESS ON THE APPEAL TO STOP BUENOS AIRES CITY’S BUILDING CODE. Since we initiated a lawsuit, 4 years ago, against this openly discriminatory and expulsive law, we are close to reaching the final stages.

We count with the ruling of the Disability Observatory of the Buenos Aires City Judiciary Counsel that supports the claim of persons living under conditions of disability as it emphasizes that “this intervention aims to enhance the values underlying the right to access to active participation in decision-making processes, equity under the law, non-discrimination and the progressive guarantee of Human Rights, all of which have unquestionable legal support, but -as with many other community rights - are infringed” (More info). In addition to this, the Buenos Aires Ministry of Public Defense (department N°5)  subscribed to the claim as co-authors. 

Notably, the Buenos Aires City Legislature pretends that this opinion be disregarded. Furthermore, the Legislature lied when claiming that citizens and social organisations who took part in the public hearings only shared opinions but failed to put forth concrete proposals. Along similar lines, COPIDIS (Commission for the Full Participation and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities) disassociated itself from the collective struggle and, in response to a court request for reports, said that it did not participate in the hearings and that it considers that the general guidelines of the code take into account the needs of persons under conditions of disability, but did not provide any basis for its conclusion.

We await Judge Liberatori's sentence, hopefully to redress infringed citizens' rights and to affirm citizens' right to participate based on local norms and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Nothing about us without us. 



CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN THE ANNUAL PLANNING OF THE GENERAL AUDIT OF BUENOS AIRES CITY. In response to this first call to civil society organizations, we presented our proposals regarding agencies and programs to be audited. We proposed they evaluate the budget of the Ministry of Public Space and Urban Hygiene for construction, maintenance and execution of sidewalks; compliance with the minimum space for pedestrian circulation in gastronomic areas according to the Authorization Code; compliance with Law n°6 on Public Hearings and the CRPD in the treatment of the Building Code; and COPIDIS’s role in advising on accessibility in public spaces.  We expect some of these will be chosen for monitoring.


CLAIM FOR ACCESSIBILITY IN LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS. We appear as Friends of the Court in support of an appeal sponsored by the Buenos Aires Ministry of Public Defense to ensure full accessibility in the physical environment for the home of two women with disabilities in the  Villa 15 (Ciudad Oculta) shanty neighborhood, City of Buenos Aires. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/amigos-del-tribunal-en-reclamo-de-accesibilidad-en-barrios-populares 


Community involvement and networking


BUENOS AIRES CITY:

We continue collaborating with neighborhood organizations in defending green and inclusive public spaces.


EL PLAYÓN PARK, COLEGIALES NEIGHBORHOOD. This year the Buenos Aires City Government  (GCBA) inaugurated with great fanfare the first and second stages of the park, but once again did not take into account the accessibility needs of persons under conditions of disability. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/una-vez-mas-la-participacion-ciudadana-es-puro-marketing 

Despite community participation via concrete proposals, the works fail to reflect this. There are large areas with cobblestones, which makes it impossible for people with reduced mobility to move around, and long routes without benches or rest areas. Therefore, together with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association (APEBI) and the Argentine Library of Blind Persons, we requested  the intervention of the Public Defender’s Office.


NO TO AN UNHEALTHY AND EXPULSIVE CITY! As members of Colegiales Participa y Decide, we participated in numerous activities to protest the negative consequences of the application of the Urban Code and we highlighted the regressive implications of the Building Code for persons under conditions of disability. We accompanied the Buenos Aires Association of Neighborhoods (Interbarrial) in the protest at the Buenos Aires City Legislature and we made a presentation in a workshop on the impact of the codes on the quality of life of the neighbors of Colegiales.  


MORENO, BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE:

We continue to be part of different collaborative work teams with people who, working in the municipality, participate in social organizations or take part in educational or neighborhood communities, aiming to promote accessibility. 


MUNICIPAL COUNCIL FOR THE INCLUSION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (COMUNIDIS). Architect Cecilia González Campo, from our team, was chosen president for the period 2023-2024. In order to reinforce the municipal government's response to demands for accessibility, we facilitate links between different government agencies, assist in educating government officials, and encourage citizen participation.


LOCAL COUNCIL FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS. We continued to participate in the Mesa Álvarez La Reja and we became its representative in the Coordinating Commission. Bringing together both Councils, we created conditions for the participation of children and teenagers with disabilities in peer-to-peer spaces.


We continue to promote a line of work in INCLUSIVE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE with focus on the Natural Protected Area Dique Ing. Roggero. We joined projects that improve the visitability of the Los Robles Municipal Reserve and we promoted inclusiveness as a guiding principle in the design and building of plazas.


We led the training course “CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION AND MANAGEMENT OF AN INCLUSIVE HABITAT”. The Institute of Urban, Environmental and Regional Development (IDUAR), the Department of Community Development and COMUNIDIS carried out this training initiative designed for technical and social teams from all areas of the Municipality of Moreno. This inaugural space laid the foundations for ongoing collective work, reflecting on practices that allow for imagining horizons of coexistence in diversity.


Work in Human Rights and Disability


With the Subsecretariat of Human Rights of the Province of Buenos Aires and other organizations, we promoted the transformation of Memory Spaces incorporating accessibility. These were locations where people were kidnapped, tortured and disappeared during the dictatorship.


As part of this transformation, the first stage of accessibility works was inaugurated in the Former Pozo de Banfield Memory Space. This space counts with support resources for visitors, laying foundation for a collaborative work that can be sustained, replicated and amplified. More info

In the same sense, a poster presentation on the participatory project of Building Accessibility for People with Disabilities in the Space for Memory and Promotion of Human Rights "Ex Destacamento de Arana" was made at the third edition of the World Forum on Human Rights. See video 


Academic and Community-based Activities


ACCESSIBLE AND SAFE SIDEWALKS PROGRAM (VAS):

DID YOU FALL OR GET INJURED ON THE STREET? When we decided to find information about pedestrian injuries on sidewalks, curb cuts and crosswalks in the City of Buenos Aires, we noticed that there is no official registry. Therefore, we conducted a survey and have so far processed more than 110 responses. (Respond survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEGaFD1QLAaVYtuXc1rIf1aeGQ4InXPB6TEJPvJ0KhusuTrQ/viewform) After analyzing preliminary results and given the worrying testimonies received, we prepared a full report that shows the work we have been doing in legislative, executive, community and university environments. See Report https://fb505b92-6e67-439b-8c01-e3546fe233b1.usrfiles.com/ugd/fb505b_2820d7bbc17e4b2a86acd395cb8d8a32.pdf  

At the same time, we continue to bring attention to the problem, denouncing that sidewalk maintenance is at the service of contractors and not pedestrians, and demanding that the State assume responsibility for accessible and safe pedestrian transit. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/tragedia-anunciada-en-caba-una-gestion-de-veredas-al-servicio-de-las-empresas-y-no-de-los-peatones - most consulted news of the year -.



SURVEY OF ACCESSIBILITY CONDITIONS IN PUBLIC SPACES. With the Disability Commission of the Advisory Council of Commune 12, we conducted a survey in the vicinity of Pirovano Hospital followed up by a report to Communes 12 and 13 (See Report https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/comuna-12-relevamiento-de-las-condiciones-de-accesibilidaden-las-cercan%C3%ADas-del-hospital-pirovano). As part of the Ubanex 13 Program, and with the Disability and Accessibility Program and Professor Lucioni’s geography course of the School of Humanities of the University of Buenos Aires (FILO, UBA), we surveyed the vicinity of the Italian Hospital; the School of Humanities; and two Health and Community Action Centers (CeSAC 22 and 38) in association with the Durand Hospital Gerontology Team. We also participated in the Panel "Geographic contributions to democratize mobility", within the activities celebrating 40 years of Democracy, in FILO UBA and we surveyed the new faculty building on Bonifacio Street, which we will continue to analyze next year. View material https://shorturl.at/fuwUW 

In all cases, participants were able to identify situations present in sidewalks and curb cuts that endanger pedestrians in general and that hinder the circulation of persons under conditions of disability and the elderly.


MEETINGS, SEMINARS, CONFERENCES AND CLASSES

- “Citizen participation experiences. The right of people under conditions of disability to inhabit the city”. Presentation by María Rodriguez Romero and Cecilia García Rizzo at the third edition of the World Forum of Human Rights (School of Architecture, Design & Urbanism, University of Buenos Aires), March 22. Read presentation https://www.rumbos.org.ar/news/experiencias-de-participaci%C3%B3n-ciudadana.-el-derecho-de-las-personas-en-situaci%C3%B3n-de-discapacidad-a-habitar-la-ciudad-(2023)-  


- Meetings with medical students at Hospital “Italiano” University Institute enrolled in the “Community oriented Primary Attention” course. We focused on how to improve accessibility for people with mobility disabilities at the Hospital’s Belgrano neighborhood site and surroundings (May-November).


- “‘Disca’ Activism from a Latinamerican Perspective”. Presentation by Eduardo Joly in the Conversatory with Activists organized by “Núcleo Disca Chile” and sponsored by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), June 15. See video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijZyf2E89LU&ab_channel=N%C3%BAcleoDISCA 


- “Neuroarchitecture crushes subjectivity”. Presentation by Architect Silvia Coriat organized by the Buenos Aires Association of Psychologists, June 15 & 22. See videos and material https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/clases-1-y-2-la-neuroarquitectura-aplasta-la-subjetividad 


- “Accessibility on the spot”. Conversation with Silvia Coriat presented in the course “Nada Sobre Nosotros Sin Nosotros” (Nothing About us Without Us) organized by Architectonic Inclusion, School of Planning and Design, National University of Rosario, October 2. 


- “Disability. Historic and post-electoral challenges”. Presentation by Eduardo Joly in the course Disability, Dictatorship and Rights. After 40 years from the return to Democracy in Argentina, final session: “Alternatives towards disability public policies in Argentina” (1981-2023). Organized by CLACSO, December 1. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/discapacidad-desafios-historicos-y-postelectorales 


ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS 

- The struggle that gave birth to a social movement. “Scissor” elevators doors in Buenos Aires City. Article by Silvia Coriat & Eduardo Joly published in Dossier: Disability and mobility, Transport and Territory Journal 28, Geography Institute, School of Philosophy and Literature, UBA, January-June. Read http://revistascientificas.filo.uba.ar/index.php/rtt/article/view/13045


- Give today, take tomorrow? Disability policies and erratic decisions.  Article by Eduardo Joly in “El Cohete a la Luna”, February 05. Read https://www.elcohetealaluna.com/hoy-te-doy-manana-te-quito/ 


- Disability: An inherent category to capitalism. Article by Eduardo Joly in “En Defensa del Marxismo” (Theory and politics journal edited by Partido Obrero), March. Read https://revistaedm.com/edm-23-3-19/la-discapacidad-una-categoria-inherente-al-capitalismo/


- Inaccessible public transportation in the City of Buenos Aires: The “Mobility revolution” of Rodriguez Larreta. Article by Ezequiel Desmery, April 20. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/transporte-publico-inaccesible-en-caba-la-revolucion-de-la-movilidad-de-rodriguez-larreta   


- Extractivism and repression. Repudiation of the violent repression of teachers and native people by governor Gerardo Morales, June 27. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/extractivismo-y-represion  


- Spatial appropriation. How do we perceive the spaces we inhabit? Article by Silvia Coriat in the Argentine Association of Public Health Journal “Una Salud”, Health territories section, Year 1 - N°3, September. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/la-discapacidad-interpela-lo-publico  


- Disability questions the public domain. Article by Silvia Coriat in the book “El Espacio de lo Público”. Post-pandemic reflexions. Claudia Neira (coordinator), Publisher Jusbaires, 2023, City of Buenos Aires. Read   https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/andis-manotazo-de-ahogado 


- A last-ditch effort. The National Agency of Disability improvises distinctions to NGOs to cover up a failed administration. Article declining an award. By Eduardo Joly, November 21. Read   https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/andis-manotazo-de-ahogado 


- Post-elections and historical challenges on Disability. Interview with Eduardo Joly, “Urbanos” Program on MQRD Radio, December 8. Read https://www.rumbos.org.ar/post/entrevista-a-eduardo-joly-desafios-historicos-y-post-electorales-sobre-discapacidad  


- Broken promises. Article by Eduardo Joly in “El Cohete a la Luna”, based on the CLACSO presentation of December 1, December 11. Read https://www.elcohetealaluna.com/promesas-incumplidas/  


NOW MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO CONTINUE DEFENDING WHAT WE HAVE WORKED SO HARD TO ACHIEVE.  NOT A WHEEL, CANE OR STEP BACK!


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