"Monday Mail" Newsletter -- April 2010

May 7, 2010

MONDAY MAIL

APRIL 2010

Rehabilitation International (RI) Accepts Nominations for President-Elect

 

RI President Anne Hawker (seated, far right) and members of the Executive Committee of Rehabilitation International had their photo taken after a grueling two days of meetings in New Delhi, India recently.

Rehabilitation International announces that it is now accepting nominations for the position of President-Elect. Anne Hawker is the first RI president to have served in a President-Elect capacity two years prior to officially assuming the RI presidency. Anne attests to how this stint has provided her with valuable learning experiences that has helped prepare her for the big job ahead. Being president-elect has given her the opportunity to understand and appreciate the many aspects of RI’s global work, the intricacies of leadership and demands of the job, and had facilitated for Anne a successful process of moving from her president-elect post to being at the helm of Rehabilitation International. In view of the many benefits from this experience, the RI EC has seen it fit to open nominations for the position of RI President-Elect.

It is important to note that the CVs must outline the nominees’ academic background and experience in rehabilitation and disability fields at local, regional and international level. They must also demonstrate their commitment to the vision and mission of both RI and the RI Foundation.

The President-Elect of RI must possess the following characteristics:

  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Be a proven strategic thinker at national, regional and international level
  • Committed to working with the various teams within RI to drive the organization’s strategic plan
  • Good at building and nurturing effective relationships
  • Listens to diverse views and factors the diversity of views in decision making
  • Demonstrates interest and familiarity to RI-relevant inter-governmental and international organizations
  • Demonstrates ease with existing and potential funding sources
  • Understands the cultural complexities of a global setting
  • Sensitive to the cause of disability
  • Proven track record in disability and rehabilitation
  • Good understanding of financial factors and able to interpret financial data
  • Understands the difference between governance and management and leads by example in demonstrating that difference

In addition, the President-Elect must:

  • Be prepared to make a financial commitment to cover two RI-related trips a year
  • Commits at least five weeks of travel for RI per year; 20 hours per week to respond to e-mails and Skype with relevant parties, and to prepare policy and other documents for the organization.

Nominations can be submitted c/o the RI Secretariat until 21 August 2010 and all documentary requirements must reach the Secretariat with copy to the chair of the Nominations Committee, on or before 25 September 2010.

Those who intend to put their names forward for the position should submit their CVs and a short write-up why they believe they should be President-Elect of RI, send this to the Secretariat c/o venusmilagan@yahoo.com , with copy to Johan Viljoen, chair of the nominating committee, at johan.viljoen@ncppdsa.za.

 

All CVs and other documents will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee which may contact the nominees for questions and/or additional information.

 

Meetings set for 6-10 November 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark as follows:

 

6-7 November                         Meeting of the Executive Committee (EC)

8    (0900-1600)                      RI Governing Assembly

      (1600-1900)                       Commission Meetings

9-10                                         RI Europe Regional Conference (a pre-conference run by the

                                                Commissions are scheduled from 0900-1200 noons on 9 Nov.)

 

 

 

CRPD Ratification Update:

 

  • Maldives’ ratification of the CRPD has increased the number of ratifying countries to 85.
  • Ratification by Bosnia and Herzegovina increased the number of States Parties to the Optional Protocol to 52
  • Signature of the OP by Latvia increased the number of signatories to 88
  • Some 145 countries have signed the Convention to date.

 

Elections for the CRPD Committee

 

  • The number of members of the CRPD Committee of Experts will increase from twelve to eighteen because the number of States Parties which ratified the treaty has reached the threshold 80.

 

  • The election of six new members and the renewal of the terms of the other six from the current 12 members of the CRPD Committee will take place during the Third Conference of States Parties, scheduled from 1-3 September 2010.

 

 

Other News:

 

  • Judith Heumann, an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate for disadvantaged people, will receive the Medtronic National Courage Award from the Minnesota-based nonprofit, Courage Center.  Ms. Heumann is currently the director of the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, where she is responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.  The Medtronic National Courage Award, presented annually by Courage Center, recognizes an individual's outstanding contributions to the health, welfare and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. The award will be presented during the annual Celebration of Courage on Saturday, 11 September 2010, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

 

Constitutional Court Undermines Legal Status of Hungarians with Disabilities 

After the landslide victory by Fidesz party in Hungary’s general election, the Constitutional Court has undermined the legal status of one of the most vulnerable groups in Hungarian society - namely persons with disabilities, who will be stripped of their legal capacity as a result of this move by the Court. Appearing to heed the concerns of bureaucrats over the will of Parliament, and failing to consider the opinions of those whose rights are affected by the law reform, the Constitutional Court's decision will result in people under guardianship not being able to make decisions for themselves. They are stripped of the right to decide their own finances, where to live, the right to make their own healthcare decisions, the right to marry and found a family, the right to access justice, and even the right to vote.

In an 8 to 1 majority vote, the Hungarian Constitutional Court scuttled reforms which would have introduced human rights-compliant law reform for people with disabilities. By declaring the unconstitutionality of Book 1 and 2, Hungary may now be jeapardizing the rights of 80, 000 people with disabilities under guardianship in this country. Book 2 contained a wealth of reforms relevant to persons with disabilities, including the abolition of guardianship and the introduction of supported decision-making and advance directives. These are cornerstone obligations under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Hungary ratified in July 2007.

It can be recalled that the international community  celebrated Hungary's leadership as being the first European State to ratify the CRPD, and its legal capacity law reforms has been watched closely and recognized by the United Nations and other bodies as a progressive move..The reversal of these commitments by the incoming government is thus seen as a disappointment that  will completely undermine the leadership role that Hungary has played in the international human rights community. ?

Upcoming Meetings and Events:

  • The European Conference on Rehabilitation will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark from   9-10 November 2010. The conference aims at presenting the concept of rehabilitation with a European perspective within the framework of the United Nations´ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This event is organized by Rehabilitation International Europe (RI-Europe) in cooperation with Rehabilitation International - Denmark (RI-DK), Marselisborg Centret, the University of Southern Denmark and also supported by other European and national partners.

 

Five key topics will be addressed in plenary and parallel sessions: (1) The Political Perspective (2) User Participation (3) Rehabilitation as an Investment (4) Case Management and (5) Quality Criteria.  The event organizers encourage those with interest in or knowledge from these areas to contact to participate in this conference. Early bird registration of E390 can be availed of until 15 May 2010; after 15 May, the registration price increases to Euro 450. The registration fee includes participation in the sessions, social events, and catering during the service. Further information on the progress of preparations for the European Conference can be followed at www.marselisborgcentret.dk, www.rehabiliteringsforum.dk, or www.rigrobal.org.

 

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSAC) invites all NGOs accredited to ECOSOC and/or to the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) to a Global preparatory meeting for the 2010 Annual Ministerial Review on “Who feeds the world in 2010 and beyond? Rural women as agents of change and champions of global food security.” This preparatory event is jointly organized by FAO, IFAD and WFP, with support from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, UNIFEM and civil society organizations. To find out more about this event you may visit http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/gpm2010.shtml or http://www.fao.org/lon/en/.

 

  • The WTO Public Forum 2010: “The Forces Shaping World Trade,” will be held from 15-18 September 2010. This forum will be an opportunity for governments, civil society organizations, legislators, trade union representatives, academics, business groups and students to take stock of the latest developments at the global level that are having an impact on the multilateral trading system and identify steps that will contribute towards bolstering international trade flows and strengthening the WTO. It will also discuss the importance of the rules-based multilateral system in mitigating the effects of the economic and financial crisis and reflect upon the post-crisis agenda of the WTO. In addition, the Forum will look at the different actors that seek to influence in the WTO, assess the factors and issues shaping world trade and brainstorm on the way forward. Civil society representatives interested in organizing a session during the 2010 Public Forum should fill out the Call for Proposals Form before 7 May 2010. Find out more at: http://bit.ly/bYLq7q

 

  • From 20-22 September 2010, the UN General Assembly will convene for an MDG summit (High-level Plenary Meeting). A number of related events and reports will feed into government deliberations leading to the September summit, including “Hearings of the General Assembly with Civil Society” in preparation for the summit. This activity will take place from 14-15 June 2010 in New York.

 

  • Taking into account the progress already made, the primary objective in this meeting is to accelerate progress towards achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The summit aims to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, all of which will be “leading to concrete strategies for action.”  The summit will also address the slow progress and challenges that still exist to alleviate problems in the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and some small island developing states (SIDS). As of now, the level of financial investment must be increased but innovative programs and policies aimed at overall development and economic and social transformation must also be rapidly scaled up and replicated. This will require the embrace of pioneering ideas and political will on the part of governments and their development partners.

 

In addition to engaging your own government at the national and local levels, there will be a number of ways to input at the international level. Of particular note are the aforementioned ‘Hearings of the General Assembly with Civil Society’ that governments have called for and scheduled for 14-15 June 2010 in New York. For more information on the hearings, go to http://esango.un.org/irene/index.ht.  This website will improve the linkages between the international review process and civil society organizations around the globe. Through this site, you will gain access not only to valuable information and updates about the process as it develops, but space will be created for you to have input into that process as well.

 

Another way to get involved is through the "United Nations Millennium Campaign" (http://www.endpoverty2015.org). The Millennium Campaign supports people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Get involved at http://www.endpoverty2015.org

 

  • From 28 June to 2 July 2010, ECOSAC will hold a meeting of the High-level Segment to address issues of gender equality, empowerment of women, and international development cooperation. In order to prepare for those meetings, three preparatory meetings were held on 21 and 22 of April.  The sessions were on:

 

  • Financing for Climate Change: Gender Equality
  • Who Feeds the World in 2010 and Beyond: Rural Women as Agents of Change and Champions of Global Food Security
  • Development Cooperation Forum (DCF)

 

For more information, please click on the following links: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/gpm2010.shtml# and http://esango.un.org/irene/index.html

 

  • The EASPD, EASPD Standing Committee on Enlargement, and PORAKA will organize a conference from 7-9 October 2010 in Skopje, Macedonia. This conference will focus on the theme “Towards Community living: current realities, future challenges.”  More info at: http://www.easpd.eu/ActivitiesConferences/tabid/3526/Default.aspx

 

  • The 4th Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Africa conference is scheduled for 26 - 29 October 2010, Abuja, Nigeria, focusing on linking CBR with Disability and Rehabilitation and Launching of the WHO/CBR Guidelines. For more details go to: http://www.afri-can.org/about.php

 

  • The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh will be hosting the Second International Symposium on Quality of Life Technology. It will be held June 28 - 29, 2010, at Red Rock Spa, Las Vegas, NV. This symposium brings together a diverse group of scientists & engineers in research & industry; clinicians in healthcare & research; professional care providers, and students. Visit the symposium website at: http://www.qoltconf2010.pitt.edu/

 

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Council will be hosting the 2010 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) during the high-level segment of the annual session of the Economic and Social Council. It will be held on the last week of June 2010 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. It will focus on "Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women." For further information: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/amr2010.shtml

 

  • The Eighteenth International AIDS Conference will take place from 18 - 23 July in Reed Messe Wien, Vienna (Austria). Conference organizers have announced the topics of AIDS 2010 plenary, will set the stage each day and focus on major policy and scientific issues in the field. Plenary will include a panel discussion on the state of the epidemic at the Opening Session and presentations of other key topics such as combination prevention, advances in antiretroviral therapy, political accountability for universal access and human rights. For more information please go to: http://www.aids2010.org/

 

  • The 7th Inclusive and Supportive Education Conference (ISEC): Promoting Diversity and Inclusive Practice, will be held from 2 - 5 August at the Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland.  More info may be obtained at: http://www.isec2010.org/

                                             

  • In December 2010, the United States International Council on Disabilities will participate in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for the first time.  Six weeks prior to the December review the United States government will submit its report to the HRC for its consideration in the process.  The UPR is a relatively new process through which the human rights records of the United Nations' 192 Member States are reviewed every four years. More info at: http://usicd.org/detail/news.cfm?news_id=49&id=92 

 

  • The 4th session of the CRPD Committee to be convened at Geneva from 4 to 8 October 2010

 

  • USICD hosted two events with the support of members and non-members alike. On 16 April, USCID organized a national teleconference titled “An Introduction to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).”  This event was for people new to the CRPD. Participants learned more about what a treaty is, what the CRPD is about, and how it protects the human rights of people with disabilities. For those actively advocating for US ratification, please watch for another "Advocates Teleconference" later in May.

 

  • On 26 April, USICD had its Annual Meeting, a half-day event in Washington, DC. A teleconference access for those who were outside of Washington was provided.  The afternoon included special guest speakers, resource sharing, and networking. RI Secretary General Venus M. Ilagan conveyed RI’s greetings to the members of USICD which is RI’s national member organization in the U.S., provided a briefing on the current initiatives of RI related to the CRPD, and reiterated RI’s view of USICD as a valued member of the RI global network.  The gathering provided a great opportunity for members and partners to meet old friends and colleagues from USICD including other advocates for the global disability rights movement.

 

  • On 3 March 2010 the Standing Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held a side event on persons with disabilities. The UNHCR Secretariat began negotiations on 29 March, after completing a draft conclusion which focused on persons with disabilities.

 

  • On 13 April an Informal General Assembly Plenary meeting was held in preparation for the 2010 MDG Summit. The meeting which included senior representatives from civil society was part of a series of GA interactive sessions on the MDGs. It provided an opportunity to engage with different stakeholders in a conversation on concrete examples of successes, best practices, lessons learned, obstacles, gaps, challenges and opportunities in achieving the MDGs by 2015. Please read more here: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/informal_sessions.shtml?TID=109&Type=Op-Ed
  • On 21 April, the Economic and Social Council held “Financing for Climate Change: Gender Equality,” an NGO Global Preparatory Meeting for the High Level Segment. The theme of the event was based on the agenda for ECOSOC this year which includes gender equality and the empowerment of women. It was co-organized by the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY.

Keynote statements were made by the UN Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang and His Excellency Mr. Hamidon Ali, President of ECOSOC. Brief opening remarks to the United Nations were made by Her Excellency, Ms. Dessima M. Williams, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and His Excellency, Mr. Jarmo Viinanen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations. The second part of the event included presentations from a panel of experts on the topic of “gender equality and the empowerment of women related to financing for climate change.”  For more information you may read:  http://esango.un.org/irene/?page=viewContent&nr=8002&type=8&section=8

  • On 5 March 2010, the Human Rights Council held its annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities, focusing on the structure and role of national mechanisms for the implementation and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For detailed infor­mation on this panel, please click here and to have access to the full statement made by Ms. Regina Atalla (on behalf of IDA), please click here.

 

  • The Commission for Social Development held its 48th Session from 2-12 February 2010. During this Session, the Commission adopted a Resolution on “Mainstreaming disability in the development agenda.” Please click here to access this resolution and click here for detailed information on the rights of persons with disabilities in the 48th session of the Commission.

 

 

  • On 21 April 2010, ECOSAC held the “International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures,” a special event that shared a conceptual framework on intercultural issues, showcased successful experiences in this field and shared updated information on forthcoming United Nations activities that pertain to the intercultural, interreligious and intercivilizational arenas. Held in the United Nations Headquarters, the event shared its main objectives through Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-Genera of the United Nations, and H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, President of the 64th session of the General Assembly.

 

 

IDA Meeting Updates on the CRPD

 

  • The 3rd session of the CRPD Committee took place in Geneva from 22-26 February 2010. During this session, the Committee adopted its Rules of Procedure and Working Methods, which will be published shortly. During this session, three working groups were established to (1) produce a General Comment on Article 12 of the CRPD on legal capacity, (2) prepare the Day of General Discussion for the session, and (3) focus on persons with disabilities in situations of natural disaster, starting with Haiti.

 

  • The 45th Session of the CEDAW Committee considered from January 18 – February 5, 2010, reports from Botswana, Egypt, Malawi, Netherlands, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. To have access to the disability analysis of the Concluding Observations adopted by the Committee during this session, please click here

 

  • The 76th Session of the CERD Committee considered from February 15 – March 12, 2010, reports from Argentina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, Panama, Slovak Republic and Kazakhstan. There are no references to the rights of persons with disabilities in the Concluding Observations adopted by the Committee.

 

  • IDA addressed the Human Rights Committee on the first day of its 98th session, which is currently taking place in New York. Please click here for the IDA statement.

 

  • The UPR Working Group has held its 7th session from February 8 – 19, 2010. In this session, the following countries were reviewed: Qatar; Nicaragua; Italy; El Salvador; Gambia; Bolivia; Fiji; San Marino; Kazakhstan; Angola; Iran; Madagascar; Iraq; Slovenia; Egypt, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. For an analysis of the references to persons with disabilities in the UPR Working Group reports, please click here.

 

  • In the afternoon of 5 March 2010, the Permanent Missions of Mexico and New Zealand, together with IDA, co-sponsored a parallel event on Article 32 of the CRPD, focusing on international cooperation. To find the final text of this resolution and other resolutions adopted by this session of the Human Rights Council, you may also visit http://bit.ly/cWlp4d.

 

  • IDA has monitored the references to persons with disabilities at meetings of the Human Rights Council. Please click here for these references. For more information about IDA, the CRPD Forum and its member organizations, please visit: www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org.

 

Resource Update:

  • The Korean Society for Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD) and RI Asia Pacific encourage young people from Asia and Pacific countries to apply to participate in their capacity building project ‘Global Challenges of Youth with Disabilities.’  The event will tentatively take place from 18-29 August in Seoul, South Korea.  Invitees must be between 18 to 30 years old and a person with a disability. Applications are due 30 April 2010. Contact the RI Korea Secretariat at riksrpd@empal.com for questions and additional information. 

 

  • The International Disability Alliance, a network of global and regional organizations of persons with disabilities, promoting the full and effective implementation of the CRPD, seeks two human rights officers for its new Geneva office. Ideal candidates should have at least two years of experience working with the UN human rights system, preferably in an NGO. IDA especially welcomes applications from persons with disabilities. The deadline for applications is 12 May 2010. CVs will not be accepted. Only completed and signed forms will be taken into consideration. Interviews will be conducted during the last week of May 2010 and successful applicants will be commissioned to start in either June or July of 2010. For further information on IDA and access to both application packs visit: www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org.

 

  •   The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs launched its new website, delivering important innovations with improved content and technological enhancements. Through the new site, both existing users and new visitors can gain a greater understanding of the Department's activities and achievements in promoting development for all. The redesign of the DESA site introduces a variety of new features to improve overall accessibility to information, while enhancing the browsing experience of visitors from a broad cross-section of society. You are invited to browse the new site at http://www.un.org/desa/ and we encourage you to regularly check our site to keep up-to-date with latest DESA information.

 

  • The “Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of the 92nd Street Y” provides a tremendous opportunity to international community leaders. This annual fellowship is funded by the Ford Motor Company and organized by the 92nd Street Y to provide education and support to community leaders engaged in the nonprofit sector.  To date, 211 individuals from 63 countries have received the Ford Fellowship, which is now in its eleventh year. 

Applications are now accepted from community leaders who are citizens and residents of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela.  A successful applicant must demonstrate that he or she is a community leader in the nonprofit sector, is successfully addressing issues that affect the community’s well-being and would benefit from an intensive three-week nonprofit management training course in New York.

If you are interested, you can download the application and brochure www.92Y.org/ford by clicking “2011 Application and Brochure,” and following the links on the next page.  Applications for the 2011 Fellowship must be postmarked, faxed, or emailed no later than 30 June 2010. Contact Alison Gardy, Director of International Relations at 212.415.5473 or agardy@92Y.org or Amanda Raz at 212.415.5561 or araz@92Y.org for questions or if you wish to receive brochures and applications by email or post mail. 

  • You are invited and encouraged to participate in the “Development Strategies that Work Policy Forum,” an online discussion where stakeholders can exchange information, best practices and lessons learned based on their experiences implementing national development strategies. This online discussion is part of the Development Strategies that Work database, a growing collection of policies, outcomes and analysis based on information provided by governments in the national reports or national voluntary presentations prepared for the Annual Ministerial Reviews of the Economic and Social Council.

As 2010 marks a crossroad for the promotion of gender equality, the first two Policy Forum discussions are focused on gender and how to reach national targets on equality and women’s empowerment. The Development Strategies that Work Policy Forum will be regularly updated with new e-discussions that focus on various aspects of national development strategies, from climate change management to economic growth, and from agricultural development to good governance. 

  • Bangalore University is offering new courses in the field of Disability and rehabilitation for the Academic Year 2010-11 through the Department of Psychology, and Directorate of Correspondence Courses & Distance Education in collaboration with CBR Network (South Asia). Eligibility, application forms and other details can be obtained at CBR Network(South Asia) 134, 1st Block, 6th Main, 3rd Phase, Banashankari 3rd stage, Bangalore -560 0085. Ph.080-26724273 / 267242221 or by sending an E-mail at cbrnet@airtelmail.in

 

Other Opportunities:

  • Dr. Megan A Conway, editor of The Review of Disability Studies Journal at the Center of Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii, will be publishing a special issue in the fall of 2010 focused on “The Impact of Gender on the Disability Experience.” The joint guest editors of this special issue will be Dr. Allen Lewis and Dr. Amy J Armstrong of Virginia Commonwealth University. This special issue of RDS will include up to five (5) empirical and two (2) conceptual manuscripts from the national and international research community that pose content related to discrimination, best practices of service delivery, recommendations and strategies to reduce discrimination and/or enhance the quality of life of individuals based upon the gender and disability experience. For questions and other inquiries,
  • contact the editors: Allen Lewis, Ph.D (anlewis@vcu.edu) and Amy J. Armstrong (ajarmstr@vcu.edu).

 

  • The World Health Organization is hosting MENTOR-VIP, which is an injury and violence prevention monitoring program. MENTOR-VIP is designed to assist junior injury practitioners develop specific skills through structured collaboration with a more experienced person who has volunteered to act as a mentor. The program provides a mechanism to match demand for technical guidance from some people with offers received from others to provide technical support. Mentoring arrangements may take place in the language the mentor and the mentee are comfortable communicating in. The majority of interaction between mentor and mentee takes place through low cost electronic communication such as email, internet-based telephony, or telephonic exchange. Potential candidates must apply by May 14 through the capacity building section of the WHO website for injury and violence prevention. All applications should be filled online. More detailed information is available at

http://www.who. int/violence_ injury_prevention/capacitybuildi ng/mentor_ vip/.

 

Anne Hawker, RI President                                    Venus Ilagan, Secretary General