No dia 14th of November EUD participated in the annual event of the EU project Bridging the Gap. The event took place at the headquarters of the European Commission Representation in Italy and focused on women and girls with disabilities. It gathered institutional representatives, development practitioners and organisations of persons with disabilities.
Bridging the Gap is the project funded by the European Union and aims at increasing the inclusion of persons with disabilities at both international and country level through more inclusive and accessible public policies. The project’s aim is to ensure full compliance to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the event global leaders of the movement for the inclusion and empowerment of women with disabilities presented their views on the topic. Ana Peláez, the first woman with a disability as an elected member of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), emphasised that all forms of discrimination against women with disabilities must end immediately. The President of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), Ana Lucía Arellano, added that it is essential to strengthen the promotion of women leadership at a global and a regional level.
Victoria Lee, Programme Manager at the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), presented the findings of the first component of Bridging the Gap. It was highlighted that women with disabilities are one of the groups that are left behind and are more likely to be subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse. Moreover, there is a political absence of women with disabilities, and therefore as a result laws and policies often dismiss intersectional perspectives. In order to improve the levels of inclusion of women with disabilities, intersectional analysis, accountability mechanisms, better data collection, more awareness raising, training of the relevant authorities and better access to information, communication and knowledge are needed. Women with disabilities must become leaders in women and disability movements to ensure their perspectives are always considered, as their identity is enriching the diversity. They must be a part of shaping laws, policies and inform their discourse.
Mrs Lee also presented that Bridging the Gap aimed at developing tools that would facilitate the implementation of SDGs and the UNCRPD. One of the tools that is currently finalised and endorsed by the UN CRPD Committee is the set of human rights indicators. During the period of drafting the list of indicators OHCHR consulted widely with relevant stakeholders. EUD provided with its input to ensure that the indicators include the deaf perspective.
The closing remarks were made by the Director of AICS Sudan, Vincenzo Racalbuto, and the Knowledge and Learning Management Coordinator of Bridging the Gap II, Alessia Rogai, who stressed that “for the defence of human rights, we cannot waste the huge strength of women with disabilities”.