Disability rights activist Javed Abidi dies at 53

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New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Disability rights activist Javed Abidi passed away on Sunday after succumbing to chest infection. He was 53.

He passed away around 1.30 p.m, a friend of Abidi said, adding that he had been ailing for the past few weeks.

“Javed was having a breathing problem for past a few weeks due to smog and bad weather. He got a chest infection four-five days back,” she said.

He is survived by his mother, a younger brother and younger sister.

Javed Abidi was the pioneer of the cross-disability movement in India having founded the Disabled Rights Group in 1993 to work specifically on cross-disability issues.

He has also been instrumental in promoting cross-disability civil society participation from the Global South at multi-lateral platforms such as the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD, among others.

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He was instrumental in the setting up of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in 1996 and had been its Director since 1997 and the Convenor of the National Disability Network, India.

He was also the Global Chair, Disabled People International (DPI), a world body with special consultative status to the United Nations.

Under his leadership, DPI hosted the first Global Forum on Disability, the first and only such initiative for voices so far unheard in the global disability movement.

As an impassioned advocate of ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’, he gave voice to an “invisible minority” — one that has been denied to them for decades, by catalysing path-breaking changes in the policy and legislative space.

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