PRESS RELEASE: Brussels, 28 May 2014
With Kenya experiencing many terrorist attacks in the last couple of weeks, Inclusion International (II) and the Kenyan Association for the Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH) regret to announce that they have been forced to cancel the 16th World Congress of Inclusion International, which was supposed to take place on 10-13 June 2014 in Nairobi.
The possibility of exchanging knowledge and experiences at global level during the planned World Congress will be greatly missed by Inclusion Europe and its members. Previous congresses have always provided important fora and impulses for the further development of disability policy and practice at national, European and global levels. Inclusion Europe is committed to supporting our international network in these difficult times.
Our sympathies are now with all the Kenyan persons with intellectual disabilities and their families and all the people who have been working for more than two years to organise the congress. We live in a world where terrorism in some parts of the globe is a daily fact and where people have to be afraid in their everyday life. We wish KAIH all the best and hope that their work for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families can continue and grow, not only in Kenya but also in the other countries in Africa.
This decision has not been taken lightly, especially as both organisers had been working for more than two years to ensure the World Congress would be a successful event that promoted the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Africa and beyond. However, in Kenya, the last weeks have seen a double bomb attack on a Nairobi market, a deadly ambush on an army convoy and a grenade attack on a police vehicle. While the foreign travel advisories for individuals have remained fairly consistent in the past several months, the most recent attacks have increased concerns by many participants about the targeting of large groups and conferences. Several other conferences and meetings at hotels near the conference centre have also been canceled in the past days. After several rounds of consultation and facing a large number of cancellations from delegates, it became clear that the event was no longer viable.
At times like these, our thoughts and support must go to the local organisers, who are facing daily peril but who stay committed to their cause. We are certain that their work in developing the event has not been in vain, and that the relationships and partnerships formed will play an important role in advancing inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Africa.
Further information about this situation is available in the Announcement of Inclusion International as well as by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.