Women Enabled Statement at 5th COSP

September 14, 2012

Women Enabled, Inc.

Advocating for the Rights of All Women!

Statement of Women with Disabilities at the UN Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities September 13, 2012
We, women with disabilities and our allied sisters attending the CRPD COSP, hereby make this preliminary statement of principles:

Following the official sessions of the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP) on September 13, 2012, many of us gathered and support the below statements of principles.


  • We strongly believe that it is essential to consider the multiple and intersecting dimensions of the lives of women with disabilities as these intersecting identities can exacerbate the discrimination and gender-based and sexual violence we experience;
  • References to women with disabilities always include girls and younger women with disabilities;
  • We will gather together at each COSP as a collective to ensure that our rights are included, in our own voices, by our own hands and through our own lived experiences so that others do not speak for us at future COSP sessions;
  • We demand that girls and younger women with disabilities are included as leaders and have opportunities for mentoring to assume roles as leaders in our movement;
  • We demand that the input of all women with disabilities must be included, regardless of our disabilities and that accommodations and supports to enable our effective participation will be available at no cost as we reject any notion of a hierarchy of disabilities within our movement;
  • We will also gather to strategize on approaches for sharing effective actions beyond the COSP sessions themselves, in an effort to ensure the sustainability of our work together;
  • Each session of the COSP must include dedicated sessions on women with disabilities and speakers must be women with disabilities, with special attention to presentations by women with disabilities from the global south and younger women and girls to empower more leaders of our movement;
  • Women with disabilities ourselves should be at the forefront of designing formal sessions at the COSP addressing issues of concern to women with disabilities, including designation of specific issues to be addressed;
  • Effective advocacy should be undertaken to ensure that women with disabilities have sufficient fiscal resources to attend the COSP so that we ourselves can present our concerns, experiences and solutions;
  • The CRPD Committee should ensure that each and every State Party report to the CRPD Committee include a detailed and comprehensive discussion of the implications of all CRPD articles for women, in addition to Article 6 on women itself;
  • To this end, the CRPD Committee should undertake a review of its Conclusions and Recommendations regarding State Party Reports to ensure the inclusion of issues concerning women with disabilities;
  • The CRPD Committee is requested to develop, with the input of women with disabilities on the ground, a General Comment on CRPD Article 6 on Women, as well as discussion of other CRPD Article references to women with disabilities;
  • The CRPD Committee and the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) are requested to collaborate and coordinate their reviews of States Parties Reports on their respective Conventions;

As a collective we also will work to ensure that issues of concern to women with disabilities are on the agenda of several United Nations entities and mandates, including but not limited to the following:

1. UN Women;
2. UN Commission on the Status of Women;
3. CEDAW Committee;
4. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination;
5. Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child
6. Committees monitoring compliance with other human rights conventions;
7. Special rapporteurs, including for example: the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (Rashida Manjoo) who has given special and unique attention to women with disabilities in her work), Education, Health, Food, Water, Housing, Missing Persons, Trafficking, etc. because many such mandates have failed to discuss women with disabilities in their annual reports;
8. UN entities and mandates addressing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and succeeding resolutions on Women, Peace and Security which generally have not included women with disabilities in these resolutions and related policies and implementation.

We request that this statement is included on the UN Enable website as part of the Outcomes of the Fifth Conference of States Parties for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.