Expert Group Meeting on the intersections between women’s rights and the rights of person with disabilities


Held:
19 March 2019, New York
Convened by:
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Purpose:
Expert Group Meeting on the intersections between women’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities


Background

Advancing the rights of women and girls with disabilities is an indispensable condition to achieve gender equality and to fulfill the promise of leaving no one behind of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Although gender equality and disability rights are mutually reinforcing, for too long there has neither been a substantive inclusion of a gender perspective in disability policies, nor of a disability-rights perspective in policies promoting gender equality.

On 19 March 2019, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar convened an Expert Group Meeting on the intersections between women’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities in New York. The purpose of the meeting was to promote dialogue between the disability and women’s rights communities and to discuss the intersections and areas where potential tensions between the rights of women and the rights of persons with disabilities could emerge.

The experts discussed the particular human rights violations experienced by women with disabilities. For instance, the right to legal capacity, including the right to make autonomous decisions, to maintain control over their sexual and reproductive health, to found a family, to choose where and with whom to live, to integrity, to property and to control their own financial affairs. They also discussed harmful practices to which women with disabilities are often exposed, including forced sterilization, forced abortion and forced contraception, as well as other violations (e.g., institutionalization, denial of personal mobility and accessibility, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

Experts also discussed challenges and good practices to promote the inclusion of women’s rights considerations in the disability rights agenda, as well as to promote the inclusion of a disability-rights perspective in the women’s rights agenda. In the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, hey also analyzed how to promote the highest recognition of the human rights of women and of persons with disabilities in discussions related to care and support, prenatal screening, and abortion.

Experts agreed that the disability and the women’s rights movements would benefit from joint collective advocacy on issues of common concern, such as those identified in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights.