Press Release: IDA & DRAF Side Event on Indigenous Women and Girls with Disabilities, 17 April 2013

Published: 
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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DRAF and IDA Joint Press Release

Side Event on Indigenous Women and Girls with Disabilities

Geneva, 17 April 2013 - A side event on indigenous women and girls with disabilities, organised by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), was held today during the half day of general discussion on women and girls with disabilities of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Today the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) has held a half day of general discussion on the theme of women and girls with disabilities. The Committee chose this topic given the scarcity of information on the situation of women and girls with disabilities in the State Reports reviewed so far by the Committee.  In connection with this discussion, IDA and DRAF have co-hosted a side event on the rights of indigenous women and girls with disabilities.

Held during the luncbreak of the half day of general discussion, the side event aimed to further the efforts made to address the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities (IPWD) and to explore the patterns of intersectional and multiple discrimination faced by indigenous women and girls with disabilities. Chaired by Catalina Devandas (DRAF), the speakers included Olga Montufar, Doreen Demas and Gayle Rankine, three indigenous women with disabilities from Mexico, Canada and Australia, respectively.  CRPD Committee member, Silvia Quan also took part in the panel and highlighted the Committee’s interest in the situation of indigenous populations with disabilities.  Recognising the many barriers facing indigenous populations with disabilities, not least the high percentage of indigenous people living in exclusion in remote communities, she confirmed that the Committee would continue to explore this topic.

Indigenous women and girls with disabilities face discrimination in the exercise and enjoyment of their rights on multiple grounds, on the basis of their gender, disability, age and indigenous background. They are considered as one of the most marginalised groups in society whose traditional roles in their communities have been lost due to colonisation, assimilation and segregation.  In addition, indigenous women and girls with disabilities are subjected to the violent and harmful practices which other women and girls with disabilities are common victims, among others, to sexual abuse, domestic violence, forced sterilisation and neglect.

Catalina Devandas announced that “DRAF is currently financing a project, implemented by IDA, to promote the rights of IPWD. Last year the IDA and DRF supported the UNPFII members in drafting a report on the situation of IPWD, the report that will be presented at the 12th session of the Forum (May 2013), includes a section on indigenous women and girls with disabilities. We would like to call on UN missions in Geneva to address the situation of IPWD, in particular girls and women, in their work in the Human Rights Council and in the UPR process”.

The side event was webcast live and will be archived on the treaty body webcast website.

Contact: Victoria Lee at vlee@ida-secretariat.org 
Webcast: www.treatybodywebcast.org
More Information: IDA submission on indigenous women and girls with disabilities and UNPFII Study on the situation of indigenous persons with disabilities

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