The Intersections of the cedaw and crpd: Integrating Women’s Rights and Disability Rights into Concrete Action in Four Asian Countries

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The Intersections of the CEDAW and CRPD: Integrating Women’s Rights and Disability Rights into Concrete Action in Four Asian Countries

Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Director, International Human rights Policy

Wellesley Centers for Women

CSW March 4, 2010

United Nations
It is a historic turning point in the 30 year old CEDAW to link it with the burgeoning and dynamic spirit of the CRPD. I would like to share with you snapshots of a four country project in the Asian region that stretched the intersections of the CEDAW and CRPD in novel ways. The journey began with the development of a conceptual framework on the intersectionalities of the CEDAW, CRC and CRPD in partnership with DESA and UNFPA. This conceptual framework was then put into practice and action in Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia and India. Through the prism of these concrete initiatives, I will bring to the surface the transformative power of the intersections to mobilize different human rights communities and galvanize them on cross cutting issues so as to build common cause around urgent moments of reform.
Discrimination is often compounded for women and children on the grounds of gender, age and minority status. Gender related violence is a cause and consequence of disability. In Asia, gender related practices such as son preference, abandonment of the girl child, discriminatory feeding practices, child marriage, dowry, honor crimes, acid burnings, stove accidents, Chaupadi practice in Nepal where lactating women and menstruating girls are asked to sleep in cowsheds, the practice of Chabab Srey in Cambodia that hold women to idealized standards of conduct are all gender related acts of violence that lead to mental, physical and psycho social disability.
Unfortunately, discrimination and violence against women and girls with disabilities have been under recognized by the women’s rights movements and the disability rights movement. Four exciting pilot projects in Asia show the way in which the coming together of the women’s rights and disability rights movements mutually reinforced and strengthened the individual and collective agendas of each movement and create a new paradigm of human rights that push the frontiers of both the women’s rights and disability rights frameworks and movements.
In order to operationalize this new model, four premier women’s rights programs in Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia and India were chosen as the focal points for this program.

In the past year, three in-country pilot projects were put into motion in Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia. These projects were then scaled up to a regional program in Delhi, India.

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