Tag Archives: CRPD

10th COSP in review

The 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP) is officially over! This year was an important year as it was the 10th session of COSP and there was more activity than ever before with over 80 side events, numerous parallel events and receptions, as well as the civil society CRPD forum on Monday, 12 June. Moreover, for the first time, civil society and Member States were able to have exhibitions in the UN to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities during the conference.

This year, there was a record number of presenters – approximately 130 –  during the General Debate, and in the Ministerial Segment, there were more than 20 high-level speakers, including the First Lady of Ecuador who opened the General Debate. Additionally, the round table discussions centered on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commitments in the humanitarian area, and the New Urban Agenda

As CBM we were incredibly active with representatives from three Member Associations, International Advocacy and Alliances (IAA), and DPO partners. CBM colleagues included Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia; Sarah Meschenmoser, CBM Germany; Mirjam Gasser, CBM Switzerland; Diane Kingston, IAA; and me. In addition, IAA in New York supported Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia to attend COSP.

Alt="Mirjam Gasser presenting the official CBM statement"

Mirjam Gasser presenting the official CBM statement

Mirjam presented the official statement on behalf of CBM on 15 June highlighting our programmatic work, women with disabilities, and our engagement in the New Urban Agenda. She also moderated an event on political participation of persons with disabilities. Diane moderated and presented in numerous events and was part of an official COSP panel. I presented on the accessibility campaign I have led at the UN to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities at the HLPF. Additionally, we co-sponsored two events and held an exhibition table for three days in which we shared publications on our programs and had engaging conversations.

Quite a few of CBM’s partners attended COSP and the following are the views they shared on the value of attending global UN events for national programs and work.

 

We have been supporting our partner, Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia, to attend COSP since 2014. Risna says that from this global advocacy at the UN level, she now has a strong influence in her government and that the top level – the Presidential Office –  now trusts her and consequently wants to make Indonesia more inclusive of persons with disabilities.

Alt="Risna and me at COSP"

Risna and me at COSP

Risna is actively involved with the CBM Indonesia office, as well as CBM Australia in which she carried out a DID training to Australian Embassy and DFAT staff in Jakarta.

Our partner Victor Baute from RIADIS and Venezuela also attended COSP this year. RIADIS and CBM-LARO have an MoU and plan to strengthen CBM’s linkages at the national level in the region. Similar to Risna, Victor has participated in BRIDGE trainings and subsequently has provided local workshops on the CRPD and the SDGs to Latin American DPOs and partners. Victor views COSP as a platform to learn about good practices and examples to replicate and improve on CRPD and SDG implementation, human rights mechanisms, and build upon international exchange and partnerships (SDG 17).

Alt="Our partner Rama Dhakal and Jane Edge CEO of CBM Australia at COSP"

Our partner Rama Dhakal and Jane Edge CEO of CBM Australia at COSP

Our partner Rama Dhakal from the National Association of the Physical Disabled – Nepal also attended the COSP. She is the immediate past president of Nepal disabled women’s association and has been a partner with CBM since 2010 when she worked with CBM on education for children with disabilities and livelihood for women with disabilities. CBM supported Rama to attend AWID and also recently attended the DID meeting in the Philippines. Rama views COSP as an effective platform to learn about the challenges of the CRPD for the national government and then bring those back to the country level and address them. Additionally, the HLPF provides an opportunity to better understand the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a space in which persons with disabilities can engage and intervene, which is not always possible at the national level.

Sebastian Toledo, Director of CONADI Guatemala attended COSP and is our partner in Guatemala. Specifically, CONADI presented the national Guatemalan disability survey – ENDIS 2016 – at the Guatemalan Mission to the UN to DPO representatives, Missions, and others from Latin America. CBM was involved in this survey with technical leadership and financial contribution. COSP provided a platform and space to share the findings and to discuss ways to build upon this work nationally, regionally, and globally.

Global platforms, such as COSP, are instrumental for our work as they provide a space to learn, discuss, and strengthen the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which in turn is further strengthened by the ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which for the first time recognizes persons with disabilities as agents of change for sustainable development. The 11th session of COSP will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 14 June 2018. Get ready and see you there next year!

Alt="All of the CBM representatives at COSP10"

All of the CBM representatives together at COSP10: Jane Edge, Diane Kingston, Elizabeth Lockwood, Mirjam Gasser, and Sarah Meschenmoser

Alt="Mirjam Gasser, Sarah Meschenmoser, and me in front of the CBM exhibition"

Mirjam Gasser, Sarah Meschenmoser, and me in front of the CBM exhibition

Disability, Development and Data – The Triple D in the Arab Region

Hosted by the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA), I had the pleasure to represent CBM at the”Expert Group Meeting on the ESCWA Publication entitled Disability in the Arab Region 2017“. This meeting took place on 11th and 12th of April in Beirut and had the objective of making inputs into a publication on the     situation of persons with disabilities in the Arab Region, a publication UN ESCWA is planning to release on December 3rd this year. More specifically, the publication will be looking at the latest developments regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, its linkages to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as at models of social protection in the region.

 

My role was to give a global perspective on the linkages between the 2030 Agenda and the CRPD and to present the work that CBM has been doing in that area over the last years. In addition to sharing a number of concrete text changes to the draft publication, I was very pleased to see that     CBM’s work was already quite well known by many participants: The two pieces of work, the infographic on the linkages between the CRPD and the SDGs as well as our publication on sustainable development were often quoted by speakers, in addition to being   brought to the table by me.

 

One session was devoted to the subject of data and statistics on disability. That session highlighted, once again, that there is still a great deal of confusion about what to measure, what methodology to use etc. At the same time, it also clearly brought forward the willingness to work across different countries of the region, in a view to find a harmonised approach and in order to learn from each other.

 

All in all, it struck me that there was a very high turn-out at the meeting of Governmental representatives. This underscores a good degree of political will to further the rights of persons with disabilities in the Arab Region and CBM was often mentioned as a key actor to help make that happen!

 

March 25th: Raising awareness and preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day,” as a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls. Today, March 25, 2017, UNiTE is highlighting the issue of violence against women and girls with disabilities. Click here to read more on this campaign. Because of this, I’ve dedicated today’s blog on women and girls with disabilities. Furthermore, CBM’s mandate includes gender equality, which specifically addresses multiple and intersectional discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities. Please continue reading for more information.

Background

Persons with disabilities comprise 15 percent of the world’s population or 1 billion people of whom 80 percent lives in low- and middle-income countries. Women and girls with disabilities make up at least 50 percent of this population. Persons with disabilities are more likely to live in impoverished conditions and to be the most marginalized.

Women and girls with disabilities encounter additional barriers, including exclusion from participation in a sustainable and inclusive economy; an increased risk of violence and abuse; lack of access to justice; minimal participation in political and public life; and prejudice and discriminatory attitudes in sexual health, reproductive rights and in the right to family life.[1] Additionally, there are barriers for women and girls with disabilities to accessing justice, including with regard to exploitation, violence and abuse, due to harmful stereotypes, discrimination and lack of procedural and reasonable accommodations, which can lead to credibility being doubted and accusations being dismissed.[2] Moreover, women and girls with disabilities are largely invisible in mainstream gender-equality programs.

In terms of violence, women and girls with disabilities are at least two to three times more likely than women and girls without disabilities to experience violence and abuse,[3] and they are likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time, resulting in more severe injuries.[4] Women and girls with disabilities worldwide face a wide range of unique human rights abuses in sexual and reproductive healthcare settings, due to both their gender and disability.[5]

Linked to this, persons with disabilities encounter specific barriers in terms of accessing healthcare services, including higher costs for persons with disabilities, lack of accessible transportation, and inadequately trained medical staff. Moreover, women and girls with disabilities face additional barriers, such as enhanced constraints on traveling independently or preconceptions about whether they need certain services, such as sexual and reproductive health services.[6] An additional challenge for women with disabilities is the design and functionality of assistive devices, which are seldom designed to facilitate the different sizes and preferences of women and the type of work or daily life activities. Instead assistive devices are often designed to answer to the requirements and lifestyle of men.[7]

Studies also suggest that women with disabilities more often seek health care than women without disabilities, but have worse health outcomes and rate their well-being as lower than both men with disabilities and women without disabilities.[8] Seeking health care more often can be costly and even more so if living in poverty,[9] and additionally, women with disabilities spend more of their income on medical care and health-related expenses than men with disabilities.[10] At the same time, women with disabilities often have less disposable income and control over resources, which impact their right to an equal health status and can create a vicious circle of exclusion and ill health. Women with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 44 have almost 2.5 times the yearly healthcare expenditures compared to women without disabilities. And, women with disabilities between the ages of 45 and 64 have more than three times the average yearly expenditures of their counterparts without disabilities.[11]

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and particularly Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls have a key role in creating opportunities for women and girls with disabilities to fulfill their full potential. Moreover, both Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and General Comment No. 3 recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subjected to multiple discrimination. When addressing the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities it is imperative to use the SDGs within the frameworks of the legally binding CRPD and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which create an effective platform from which to advocate for positive change.

I will close with some reflections and suggestions on the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities. First, it is important to be aware of the different layers of intersectionality and multiple discrimination of women and girls with disabilities, especially those such as Indigenous, youth, or other groups of women with disabilities. Second, there needs to be increased participation, engagement, and trainings between the gender movement and the disability movement to learn, exchange, and build on intersections between the movements. And, third, there must be increased and strengthened cross-movement collaboration and multi-stakeholder partnerships to truly “leave no one behind,” including women and girls with disabilities.

Thank you to Mary Keogh, Diane Kingston and Stephanie Ortoleva who contributed to this article in different ways.

Additional Information

Five Perspectives on Gender Equality

References

[1] CBM (2015). “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-inclusive Perspective,” CBM.

[2] CRPD Committee, Gen. Comment No. 3, supra note 2, ¶ 52.

[3] United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Untied States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally 7 (Aug. 10, 2012), http://www.state.gov/documents/

organization/196468.pdf. It is worth noting that no global data exists on the incidence of such violence, and studies draw on different sources of data.

[4] SRVAW, Report on women with disabilities, supra note 26, ¶ 31.

[5] Women Enabled International Submission to OHCHR: Protection of the Rights of the Child and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, October 17, 2016

[6] CBM (2015). “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-inclusive Perspective,” CBM.

[7] Comité Español de Representantes de Personas con Discapacidad (CERMI). (2012). “Guide to gender mainstreaming in public disability policies,” CERMI Collection no 54, Spain: pp. 289-290.

[8] WHO (2004). World Health Survey, 2002-2004. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/en/.

[9] WHO and World Bank. (2011). ”World Report on Disability,” WHO Press, Geneva, p. 60.

[10] Women With Disabilities Australia. (2016). http://wwda.org.au/.

[11] Blanchard, J. & Hosek, S. (2003). “Financing Health Care for Women with Disabilities.” A RAND White Paper prepared for the FISA Foundation. www.wwda.org.au/health2001.htm.

Unity, Development, Peace and Hope in Latin America and the Caribbean

RIADIS, the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families, held its 6th international conference from 13-17 March in Havana, Cuba. The theme was “Inclusive Latin America, in Unity, Development, Peace and Hope.” RIADIS, founded in 2002 in Venezuela, is comprised of 55 organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, many of which were present at the conference with approximately 250 participants in attendance. The conference included an International Congress, a General Assembly, and parallel events on youth with disabilities and Indigenous peoples with disabilities. In addition, commissions on Indigenous, youth, and women with disabilities were established at the conference.

The overall objective of the conference was to continue to promote the progress and achievement of the inclusion of persons with disabilities from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were both strongly highlighted throughout the conference as key frameworks for persons with disabilities and their representative organizations for the region with the respective aligned themes of “nothing about us without us” and “leave no one behind.”

Alt="Panel presentation at conference"

Panel presentation at conference

I am incredibly honored for the opportunity to attend this conference on behalf of CBM. The experience was a valuable one in which I was able to participate in various ways. I presented twice during the International Congress, was an official observer during the General Assembly, and assisted as a sign language interpreter when needed.

On the opening day, I presented with Victor Baute from Venezuela on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation highlighted the regional trainings by the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium (in Panama) and CBM (in Peru), but also called for further capacity building and training for regional DPOs linking the CRPD, the 2030 Agenda and BRIDGE.

Alt="Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference"

Sign Language Interpreters from the RIADIS conference

Additionally, I presented the work of the CBM regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, CBM has 50 projects in 11 countries throughout the region. In Central America we work in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; in the Caribbean, we work in Cuba and Haiti; and in South America, we have projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay with Bolivia, Guatemala and Haiti as priority countries of focus.

The following are two examples of CBM projects in the region. First, in response to Hurricane Matthew, CBM provided water supplies to hurricane-affected communities in East Cuba. Second, CBM supported a data collection project on the prevalence of persons with disabilities in Guatemala. CBM, CONADI (National Disability Council of Guatemala), and UNICEF Guatemala were project funders with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine providing technical assistance. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics extended set of questions for adults and UNICEF/Washington Group extended set of questions for children were used with more than 13,000 participants. Click here to read more about the survey.

In closing, I was very touched by the warm welcome from the Cuban people and the participants. I am so grateful to be working in this region again and to connect our global work to the local, national and regional levels.