Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York Dr. Rohan Perera in his capacity as the Vice-President of the 11th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), co-chaired a roundtable on the topic of “Women and girls with disabilities” on 13 June 2018 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, together with Ms. Anjlee Agarwal, board member of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) and Founder of Samarthyam, Women with Disabilities Forum for Action, India.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Perera highlighted that persistent cultural, social, legal, physical and institutional barriers restrict the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in all areas of private and public life. He stated that the round table, while providing an excellent platform to discuss some of the key issues and challenges faced by disabled women and girls in the society, also provided an opportunity to share good practices and experiences in addressing these issues, the advancement of their human rights, as well as promotion for full inclusion and participation of women and girls with disabilities in development activities.
Panelists at the round table included Ms. Ramla Said Omar Mohamed, member of Mombasa Country Assembly, Kenya; Ms. Mercedes Juan, General Director of the National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Mexico; Ms. Ana Pelaez, Executive Councillor for International Relations and External Development, ONCE, Spain; Ms. Theresia Degener, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the CRPD; Ms. Ekeate Judith Umoh, President of JONAPWD, Nigeria; and Ms. Victoria Lee, Programme Manager, OHCHR.
The panel discussed the key issues faced by disabled women and girls and shared best practices as well as provided strategies to address these challenges and efforts in order to implement the CRPD, in particular for women and girls with disabilities. Such strategies included the creation of special units to support women and girls with disabilities and increased participation of women with disabilities in decision making positions.
Ambassador Perera closed the round table by recognizing the added value the discussion made on the human rights agenda and further emphasized the need for measures to address the many challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities.
The 11th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was held from 12 -14 June 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Sri Lanka represented the Asia-Pacific Group as a Vice-President of the Conference.
The overarching theme for the Conference was ‘Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD’ and the cross-cutting theme was ‘Promoting high-quality disability statistics and disaggregation of data by disability status for the full realization of the rights of persons with disabilities’. The 11th Session included 03 round tables under the following sub-themes: Round table 1: National fiscal space, public-private partnerships and international cooperation for strengthening the implementation of the CRPD; Round table 2: Women and girls with disabilities; and Round table 3: Political participation and equal recognition before the law.
Sri Lanka co-chaired round table 2.