February 26 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Diana Samarasan, Founding Executive Director
Haitian Women with Disabilities Present to the CEDAW Committee
This week, from February 21-26, Haitian delegates from women-led disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) have participated in civil society briefings of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), to support Committee development of Concluding Observations. Haitian civil society delegates have outlined issues for women and girls, including – for the first time – major rights challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities. Watch the live webcast of the meetings at www.treatybodywebcast.org.
Delegates with disabilities from Haitian DPOs, Association Filles au Soleil and L‘Union des Femmes a Mobilité Réduite d’Haïti, have been supported by the Disability Rights Fund (DRF), including for their written submission, available at link. The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW) provided training and technical assistance.
“We are excited to support Haitian delegates from women-led DPOs in discussions with the CEDAW Committee to ensure that the rights of women with disabilities are not forgotten. We are also excited to see these two organizations, founded less than 5 years ago, participating in human rights monitoring advocacy with other Haitian civil society for the first time,” stated the Disability Rights Fund’s Founding Executive Director, Diana Samarasan. “With technical assistance from IDA, IWRAW and DRF’s Haiti Grants Consultant, Jo-Ann Garnier Lafontant, the delegates have provided critical information to ensure CEDAW Committee members – and Haitian civil society – understand and address the situation of women and girls with disabilities.” Jo-Ann Garnier Lafontant added: “This experience shows that supporting women with disabilities to raise their voices on the global level is essential. Due to the weakness of data collection systems, women with disabilities must themselves describe the rights violations and discrimination they face, and these two organizations have done it very well.”
DRF is supported by a variety of donors, including: the Ansara Family Fund of the Boston Foundation, the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, The Foundation to Promote Open Society, part of the Open Society Foundations and U.K. aid from the U.K. government. The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is a DRAF donor.