Sisters of Frida calls out UK Government on human rights violations of disabled women.

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Sisters of Frida joins Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) from across the UK in Geneva this week to present evidence of violations on disabled people’s rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD)

In a closed session on Monday 21st August, DDPOs highlighted the UK Government’s failure to respond to many of the questions put to it by the Committee throughout this process. They told the Committee of the systemic failure to support disabled people to live independently and to have access to social, educational, and employment opportunities.

This is the first time the UN Disability Committee is reviewing the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since the UK government ratified the Convention in 2009. DDPOs will tell the Committee that the government has ignored many of the questions put to it earlier this year as part of the review process. The Committee will consider the government’s response to its questions and the DDPOs’ observations before questioning representatives from the UK and devolved governments in Geneva later this week (23 and 24 August).

Eleanor Lisney, Director of Sisters of Frida says,

‘We have been calling out on the failure of the UK Government to fulfil obligations to disabled women since 2013 when we joined the UK CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Workgroup and delegation in 2013 going to Geneva). We did the same when we went to UN in New York city for CSW (UN Commission on the Status of Women) the UKNGOCSW delegation and held a side event. It is vital that disabled women are represented in processes like CRPD reporting as too often our experience as disabled women is invisible.This is an opportunity to change this and show how the cuts and legal changes are affecting us.’

Sarah Rennie, who will be representing Sisters of Frida in Geneva says,

‘The UK Government’s response does not address how gender-specific policies incorporate the social model of disability to break down barriers, meet the needs of Disabled women, or require an intersectional approach. We urge the Government to immediately remove the “best interests” defence in the Serious Crime Act 2015 which restricts Disabled women from seeing their perpetrators of emotional abuse brought to justice, and to improve access to medical care for Disabled women including pre-natal and reproductive health services.’

The DDPOs’ submission was co-produced by Reclaiming our Futures Alliance (including Sisters of Frida ), Inclusion Scotland, People First Scotland, DRUK, Disability Wales, Disability Action Northern Ireland, British Deaf Association, and Black Triangle.

Notes to editors:

1) The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities investigation is assessing what steps the UK has taken to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. The committee is a body of experts, nominated and elected by governments. The majority of committee members are disabled people.

2) The committee postponed its scheduled assessment of the UK (originally due in 2015) to hold a special inquiry into complaints by DPPOs that the government’s welfare reform policies had violated disabled people’s rights. The current assessment looks at a much wider set of issues, including our laws on mental health and mental capacity, employment policies and education.

3) Before examining UK and devolved government representatives on Wednesday and Thursday the committee will meet with representatives of DDPOs to discuss their views on the formal written response already tabled by the UK government. The DDPOs have prepared their own submission as highlighted above.

4) Previous UN shadow reports from Sisters of Frida can be found at http://www.sisofrida.org/resources/

5) ROFA is an alliance of Disabled People and their organisations in England including Inclusion London, Equal Lives, Alliance for Inclusive Education, Sisters of Frida, National People First and Disabled People Against Cuts. For more information see: www.rofa.org.uk

6) more information about Sisters of Frida to be found at http://www.sisofrida.org

7) information on the status of disabled women in the Serious Crime Art 2015 can be found at http://www.sisofrida.org/resources/violence-against-women/

 

Email: hello@sisofrida.org

T: @sisofrida http://www.sisofrida.org

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Day 3 UK Government CEDAW examination

Sisters of Frida

On Day 3 (July 17th), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women  considered the seventh periodic report of the United Kingdom on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

This is the day we were building towards with the oral presentations, lunch presentations – we gave the CEDAW committee our concerns to help them formulate questions to the those representing the UK government – the panel was led by Helene Reardon-Bond, Director of Policy, Government Equalities Office. The delegation of the United Kingdom in the room included representatives of the Government Equalities Office, the Home Office, the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations at Geneva, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

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At the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, Strasbourg

Sisters of Frida

written July 14th 2013

Last week the Disability Intergroup* of the European Parliament met for the launch of a new report on Women and Disability prepared by rapporteur Angelika Werthmann (MEP). In her introductory speech Ms Werthmann explained the initiative had sprung from a (non-disabled) women’s group concerned to further include disabled women in their focus, but that for her  (and many in the womens group), disability was an entirely new subject so preparing the report had been a learning curve. Personally I felt a bit wary of what she might say initially, but  then before she expanded her presentation she made a specific invitation to Intergroup members and attendees to consider sending her further amendments which would be factored in the final publication.

Her report highlights the specific barriers to full participation and inclusion in society faced by disabled women, and was warmly welcomed by all attending…

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@CreativeCrip in the Media: Society Guardian 17 Jul 2013

I’ve been mentioned in today’s Society Guardian Daily regarding @FridasSisters & #CEDAW2013#disabilityUK #disability #DisabledWomen #cedaw13

You can follow the Sisters of Frida Blog here.

Day 2 Oral presentations to the CEDAW committee

Sisters of Frida

We set off in the morning with the IWRAW group by bus to the UN Palais de Nations. We were unable to go in with the others however because apparently we were not registered inspite of having the emails which said we should be. however we were not the only ones, Elizabeth Sclater, of the older women’s delegation was also in the same boat.

When we got our badges we went in and was in time to join the young people, Big Voices group to do the building tour. There were some impressive rooms.

More importantly we joined the others for lunch to discuss final details for the oral presentations.  We had about 10 mins in all for UK, and presentations were to be given by England, Scotland and N Ireland, Wales was not able to come. We were also given information about who was in the CEDAW panel and…

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Day 1 Meeting the CEDAW working group UK delegation in Geneva

Sisters of Frida

“No ability to exhaust domestic law renders CEDAW meaningless”  Cris McCurley from NE Women Network

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Disabled women in Geneva for the 55th session of CEDAW questioning UK government on women’s rights

The Sisters of Frida

Press Release

” It is essential that disabled women are represented in processes like CEDAW reporting as too often our experience as disabled women is invisible, this is an opportunity to change this and show how the cuts and legal changes are affecting us”

–  says Zara Todd, Sisters of Frida steering group member.

For the first time, disabled women (Sisters of Frida) will take part with other women’s groups from the UK in Geneva to address the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) so as to highlight the problems impacting on women’s equality in the UK and what our Government must be examined on, and held to account over, by the UN. This is a unique opportunity for women to raise the key issues they are facing with the UN and the eyes of the world will be on the UK and their progress on women.
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