Our Work: Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies

  • June 30, 2020  WEI Submission on Domestic Violence and COVID-19 at the Intersection of Gender and Disability to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

    Several actors have identified that, alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a simultaneous "hidden pandemic" of domestic violence as a result of COVID-19 mitigation measures that is impacting the health and safety of particularly women and girls around the world. In response to a call for information from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women about this hidden pandemic, WEI reported information from its own research and that of organizations of women with disabilities around the world to illustrate how factors related to both gender and disability are creating a greater risk of domestic violence for women, girls, non-binary, trans, and gender non-conforming persons with disabilities during this global crisis.
  • June 22, 2020 WEI and Nairobi Principles Working Group (NPWG) Respond to U.N. Special Procedures Questionnaire on COVID-19 and Human Rights

    WEI, as a member of the Nairobi Principles Working Group, submitted information to several U.N. human rights experts on the situation of rights related to gender, disability, and sexuality during the COVID-19 crisis. This information will be used to inform the global human rights response to this pandemic. Read the submission:
  • May 20, 2020   COVID-19 at the Intersection of Gender and Disability: Findings of a Global Survey

    Persons living at the intersection of gender and disability have a right to health, to an adequate standard of living, and to be free from violence, even during times of crisis. In March 2020, WEI identified a gap in initial global responses to COVID-19, in that many actors were discussing how to include women and persons with disabilities in the response, but few were considering the unique experiences of women with disabilities and others living at the intersection of gender and disability. WEI created a qualitative survey to better understand how persons with disabilities were being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with the hope of guiding pandemic response efforts moving forward. WEI’s Survey was completed by 100 women, non-binary, and trans persons with disabilities across the globe. A report on the findings was published on May 20, 2020.

    Read more about WEI's COVID-19 Survey Findings on our blog

  • October 25, 2019  WEI Comments on USAID Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

    On October 25, 2019, Women Enabled International submitted comments on the USAID Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) draft policy. Our comments seek to center the needs and experiences of women and girls with disabilities within the implementation of the policy. The draft’s recognition of disability as a particularly vulnerable group for SEA should be maintained and expanded upon in the context of aid workers in conflict zones or regions experiencing humanitarian crises. In these regions, the number of individuals with disabilities increase at a higher rate than in areas without conflict, so USAID must be prepared to serve and respond to the specific needs of this ever-growing population.  Women and girls with disabilities comprise almost one-fifth or 20% of the world’s population of women, according to the World Bank 2012 Report on Disability. USAID has further reported that women and girls with disabilities are two to three times more likely to experience gender-based violence than their non-disabled peers. The instability of conflict and inherent power structures of aid work will only increase these numbers. In fact, a 2007 report from the World Bank has found, "girls and women are more likely to become disabled because of violence, armed conflicts, aging and gender-biased cultural practices." Compounding these statistics, humanitarian response efforts as well as peacebuilding efforts rarely include specific allocations for reasonable accommodation, accessibility, and personnel who are experts on working with women with disabilities, leaving these women even more vulnerable, open to exploitation, or without support systems. Thus, USAID’s policy must address this growing need.

    WEI Comments on USAID Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, October 25, 2019.pdf

    WEI Comments on USAID Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, October 25, 2019.docx

  • February 3, 2017 Women Enabled International and Allies Submission to the CEDAW Committee Regarding its Draft General Recommendation on the gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in a changing climate – Implications for Women with Disabilities, January 30, 2017
     
    On January 30, 2017, WEI submitted comments to the UN CEDAW Committee on the CEDAW Committee’s Draft General Recommendation addressing gender-related dimensions in disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the face of a changing climate. WEI’s submission, which was endorsed by 10 other non-governmental organizations from around the world, identifies unique barriers that women with disabilities face in the context of natural disasters. WEI then makes specific suggestions on how the CEDAW Committee could edit draft General Recommendation to better address the specific barriers that women with disabilities encounter in emergency settings. This submission was endorsed by: Advocacy for Women with Disability Initiative (Nigeria); Agate Center for Women with Special Needs (Armenia); Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) (Nigeria); National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU); Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social (PAIIS) (Colombia); Samarthyam - Women with Disabilities Forum for Action (India); Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (India);  Sisters of Frida (UK); Magdalena Szarota, Doctoral Research Student, Centre for Disability Research, Lancaster University and Co-Founder, Association of Disabled Women ONE.pl (Poland); and Women with Disabilities India Network (WWDIN).

  • August 16, 2014   The CEDAW Committee issued a strong statement on the displacement & devastation to women in Gaza, and highlights the serious risks to women and girls with disabilities in the conflict. The rights of women in situations of armed conflict are spelled out in the CEDAW and in the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 30 (2013) on Women in Conflict Prevention, Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations.

    “The CEDAW Committee is particularly concerned at the displacement of a significant number of women and girls, including older women and those with disabilities in Gaza, as a result of large scale destruction and damage to homes and civilian infrastructure.” 

    Women Enabled International also notes the requirements of the CRPD, especially its Art. 11 on Situations of Conflict and Natural Disasters.


    For the CEDAW Committee statement on Gaza, see this PDF CEDAW Committee Statement on Women and Situation in Gaza July 18, 2014

  • May 20, 2014 Women's Refugee Commission publishes Report. Drawing on consultations with over 700 persons in eight countries, the report Disability Inclusion: Translating Policy into Practice in Humanitarian Action documents positive practices and ongoing challenges to promoting disability inclusion in urban settings and refugee camps. Its tailored lessons and recommendations will help the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations and governments engage persons with disabilities at all levels of humanitarian work. The report and its executive summary are available in English, French, Arabic and Word formats. See http://womensrefugeecommission.org/hidden-docs/reports/disabilities/984-disabilityinclusion-translating-policy-into-practice-in-humanitarian-action/file
  • March 17, 2014 On the occasion of the third anniversary of the Syrian Civil War, the International Rescue Committee shares a brief highlighting how the crisis is impacting women and girls. Read the IRC's blog: The Syrian Crisis: 3 Years in. Also watch a short video on IRC's programming for women and girls in Jordan. In June 2014, the IRC will release a full report that explores in depth, the needs of women and girls in the region, with recommendations for policymakers and the humanitarian community.
  • The U.S. National action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, adopted in 2011, included several references to women with disabilities.  Most such plans from other Governments do not reference women with disabilities at all so this is quite significant.  However, nowit is urgent that we monitor implementation of the Plan to ensure that, in fact, these Objectives and Outcomes are implemented.
    PDF: Objectives and Outcomes referencing women and girls with disabilities in the U.S. National Action Plan.
  • This law review article reviews a sample of National Action Plans on women, peace and security issued to date and explores the extent of coverage of issues of concern to women and girls with disabilities within these documents. Pittfalls in coverage are enumerated and analyzed in light of the requisite  international human rights legal perspectives and the extent to which the input of organizations of women with disabilities were sought and/or included. Finally, recommendations are set forth to address the gaps.

    Women across the world are standing their ground against political exclusion in conflict and post-conflict situations, but more must be done to ensure that a gender-sensitive and disability-inclusive approach is used. This inclusive approach would guarantee that all women have the opportunity to participate in building the rule of law and strengthening democracy and that all women have a voice in decision-making processes post-conflict. Sustainable peace requires the inclusion of all groups affected by conflict in all stages of the peace-building process. Some progress has been made through a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on women, peace and security, beginning with UNSCR 1325 in 2000,[1] to give women a place at the table in post-conflict peace building and reconciliation. However, women with disabilities are missing and ignored and have not had a role in these processes. Women with disabilities are excluded both in practice and formally through the various UNSCRs and policy documents, including the UNSCR 1325 Indicators[2] and the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans each country is to prepare to implement UNSCR 1325 and to measure progress. This paper reviews the history of the development of the UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security framework, including the requirement for the development of UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans. The paper then reviews a sample of National Action Plans issued to date and explores the extent of coverage of issues of concern to women and girls with disabilities within these documents.  Pittfalls in coverage are enumerated and analyzed in light of the requisite  international human rights legal perspectives and the extent to which the input of organizations of women with disabilities were sought and/or included.  Finally, recommendations are set forth to address the gaps.

    Despite progress made through a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), beginning with the groundbreaking UNSCR 1325 in 2000,1 to give women a place at the table in post-conflict peace building and reconciliation, women with disabilities are missing and ignored and have not had a role in these processes. Women with disabilities are excluded both in practice and formally, through the various United Nations (U.N.) resolutions and policy documents, including the UNSCR 1325 Indicators and the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans, each country is to prepare.  In Stephanie Ortoleva’s most recent law review article, “Who’s Missing? Women with Disabilities In U.N. Security Council resolution 1325 National Action Plans,” 18 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L.  395 (Spring 2012), Stephanie reviews some of these 1325 National Action Plans to ascertain if women with disabilities are included, which seems to happen infrequently, and also sets forth some factors that may explain this exclusion, and describes guidelines for the inclusion of women with disabilities in such plans. 

    PDF: Stephanie Ortoleva, “Who’s Missing? Women with Disabilities In U.N. Security Council resolution 1325 National Action Plans,” 18 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 395 (Spring 2012)
  • December 2011 On 19 December 2011, Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton released the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at an event at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  A PDF of the Plan can be found here.

    Stephanie Ortoleva was one of the members of civil society who vigorously advocated to the U.S. Department of State and USAID to ensure that women and girls with disabilities were discussed in the Plan. 

    The good thing here is that women with disabilities are specifically included in the benchmarks and outcomes, both of which require specific reporting. Monitoring by civil society is essential to ensure that these elements are, in fact, implemented effectively with civil society input. For a list of the provisions of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women,
    Peace and Security that include women and girls with disabilities, click here
  • October 2011 Stephanie Ortoleva at event sponsored by the US Mission to the United Nations, USAID, Human Rights Watch & WomenEnabled on “Integrating a Disability Perspective into UN Security Council Resolution 1325 National Action Plans” on Thursday, October 20, 2011, at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City, see attached flyer for details.
  • July 2011 CEDAW Committee to Hold General Discussion on Women and Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations The CEDAW Committee General Discussion was held on 18 July 2011 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The purpose of the general discussion is to commence the Committee's process of elaborating a "General Recommendation on Women in Conflict and Post-conflict Situations." The purpose of the general recommendation is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with their obligations to protect, respect and fulfil women's human rights during times of armed conflict and in all peace-building processes, which includes the immediate aftermath of conflict and long-term post-conflict reconstruction. For further information on this event, see http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/discussion2011.htm
  • Background

    UN Secretary General

    The UN Secretary General has submitted to the Security Council, for consideration, a set of indicators for use at the global level to track implementation of its resolution 1325 (2000), which could serve as a common basis for reporting by relevant United Nations entities, other international and regional organizations, and Member States, on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in 2010 and beyond. Unfortunately, these indicators fail to consider the needs and concerns of women with disabilities.

    The following UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security move the inclusion of women in reconciliation and peace building forward, but fail to mention women with disabilities:

        PDF: § UNSCR 1325 (2000) Ensures the participation of women in peace processes and calls for improved protection of women in conflict zones.

        PDF: § UNSCR 1820 (2008) Reaffirms commitment to1325 and links the prevention of sexual violence with the maintenance of peace and security.

        PDF: § UNSCR 1888 (2009) Mandates peacekeeping missions to protect women, girls from sexual violence in armed conflict.

        PDF: § UNSCR 1889 (2009) Strengthens the participation of women at all stages of peace processes, focusing on the period after peace agreements have been reached.

        PDF: § UNSCR 1960 (2010) Ensuring the protection of women from systematic and widespread sexual violence in armed conflict. Reaffirming the importance for States, with the support of the international community, to increase access to health care, psychosocial support, legal assistance, and socio-economic reintegration services for victims of sexual violence, in particular in rural areas, and taking into account the specific needs of persons with disabilities.

    Referencing women with disabilities:

    Reaffirming the importance for States, with the support of the international community, to increase access to health care, psychosocial support, legal assistance, and socio-economic reintegration services for victims of sexual violence, in particular in rural areas, and taking into account the specific needs of persons with disabilities.

    The United Nations Security Council has expressed its continuing deep concern about the persistent obstacles to women’s full involvement in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and their participation in post-conflict public life. It acknowledged that the marginalization of women can delay or undermine the achievement of sustainable peace, security and reconciliation.

     

    April 2010 PDF: The Secretary-General, Report of the Secretary-General on Women and Peace and Security, ¶ 20, delivered to the Security Council and the General Assembly, U.N. Doc.S/2010/173 [Women and Peace and Security].

       

     

     

 

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