Within the context of the 16th session of the Conference of the State Parties (COSP) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), on June 14th, the European Union of the Deaf (EUD) attended the side event of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) on “Amplifying the protection and participation of Deaf Women and Girls in Humanitarian, Crisis and Emergency situations”.
The event highlighted the higher impact of humanitarian emergency situations on deaf women and girls as they face distinctive challenges in emergency situations, due to the intersectionality of their identities. During the event, a number of speakers stressed the impossibility for deaf women to access information on the best practices to adopt in case of emergency situations. Ms Shirley Keoagile, from the Botswana Association of the Deaf, stressed that often deaf women rely on medication and, when this is lost during time of crisis, it is even harder than in normal circumstances to ensure access to adequate healthcare. This was the case during the HIV crisis during which many deaf women reported the violation of their right to health.
During the course of the event, the speakers highlighted the importance to provide deaf women with accessible information. Mr Samuel Niugana Kabue – member of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stressed that deaf women have the right to access information in their national sign language during all media and news broadcasting. The same point was also echoed by Ms Lia Nur Rochma, from the Indonesian Association of the Deaf, who stressed the importance of organising specific trainings on humanitarian crises including specific support for deaf women. Ms Nur Rochma called governments to provide legal recognition of sign languages and sign language interpretation.
EUD stresses the importance of supporting deaf women by ensuring accessible communication and information on gender healthcare support. Indeed, as highlighted in EUD’s policy recommendations on access to healthcare for deaf persons in the EU deaf women’s access to healthcare is not guaranteed and, within emergency contexts, can be further hindered. EUD calls all governments to implement the required actions to ensure the right to health of deaf women in humanitarian, crisis, and emergency situations.