Civil Society Chat Series Break The Chains: Shackling of People with Psychosocial Disabilities Worldwide

This virtual event is organized with Human Rights Watch in observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Date: 20 November 2020

Time: 9:30 a.m. EDT




Welcoming Remarks

Hawa Diallo
Chief, Civil Society Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Global Communications


Padmini Murthy
Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA)

Opening Remarks

Siena Castellon
Neurodiversity Advocate, Author, and Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth)


Emina Ćerimović
Senior Researcher, Disability Rights, Human Rights Watch

Michael Njenga
Chairperson, Pan African Network for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities and Executive Director, USP-Kenya

Siena Castellon
Neurodiversity Advocate, Author, and Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals

Natalie Drew Bold
Technical Officer, Policy, Law and Human Rights Team, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization


Hawa Diallo

Ms. Hawa Diallo, Chief of the Civil Society Unit at the Civil Society and Advocacy Section, UN Department of Global Communications has extensive United Nations experience in public information outreach and fostering civil society partnerships, with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s organizations. Ms. Diallo began her United Nations career in 1987 in the Department of Public Information and has served in two United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia and Somalia, respectively. She has also worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) in Nairobi, as an Associate Human Settlements Officer and as a Partners and Youth Officer. 

Padmini Murthy

Dr. Padmini (Mini) Murthy is Professor and Global Health Director at New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice. Dr. Murthy is a physician (a trained obstetrician and gynecologist) and an activist who did her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has practiced medicine and public health for the past 30 years in various countries. She has been working in various arenas of the health care industry. And worked as consultant for UNFPA. She holds a MPH and a MS in Management from New York University. Dr. Murthy serves as the Medical Women’s International Association NGO representative to the United Nations. She also serves as the Global Health Lead of American Medical Women’s Association.

Siena Castellon

Siena Castellon is an internationally recognized neurodiversity advocate who is autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, and has ADHD. She is the founder of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, an international campaign that encourages schools to recognize the strengths and talents of students with special educational needs. Currently, over with over 860 schools and 583,000 students are taking part. Siena is also the bestselling author of “The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How To Grow Up Awesome and Autistic.” The United Nations recently selected her to be a Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals. Siena has won many awards for her advocacy, including the Campaigner of the Year at the 2019 European Diversity Awards, and most recently was a finalist for the International Children’s Peace Prize. 

Emina Ćerimović

Emina Ćerimović is a senior researcher on disability rights at Human Rights Watch. She leads the organization’s work on the protection of people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies worldwide. She has also documented shackling and abuses against people with mental health conditions in Nigeria, the institutionalization of children and adults with disabilities in Croatia and Serbia, and discrimination in access to education for children with disabilities. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Ćerimović worked with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the State Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ćerimović holds a law degree from the University of Sarajevo and an LLM in Human Rights with a Specialization in EU Law from the Central European University in Budapest. She speaks Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, English, and Swedish.

Natalie Drew Bold

Natalie Drew Bold is the Technical Officer for the Policy, Law and Human Rights team of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. As part of her work she supports countries to reform national policies, plans and laws and services in line with international human rights standards. In addition she works closely with government and civil society actors in countries in the implementation of WHO QualityRights initiative.




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