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Sense International expresses concern over lack of female representation on the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

20 June 2016

Sense International today expressed its concern over the drop in numbers of female members of the Committee which will fall from the current six female members, to just one female member out of eighteen in 2017. The Committee is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and provides an opportunity for countries to be held to account for their compliance with the Convention.

Elections were held earlier this week for nine of the eighteen seats of the CRPD Committee. Whilst Sense International greatly welcomes the committee having for the first time ever within its membership: a person with intellectual disabilities, a self-advocate Robert Martin from New Zealand; and a deaf sign language user, Valery Nikitich Rukhledev from the Russian Federation, it’s dramatic decrease in female representation was troubling.

Carolyn Merry, Director of Sense International said:

“We are concerned at the lack of female representation on the new composition of the Committee. I agree with IDA that this reflects a disconnect between the Convention’s principles of non-discrimination and gender equality within the election process. Around one billion people, or 15 % of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. The challenges women with disabilities face include significantly less access to education, health care and employment than disabled men or women without disabilities. Women and girls with deafblindness are particularly under-represented in political and decision-making processes, and so the decreased numbers of women on the CRPD Committee raises the question, how will they be legitimately represented.

We join the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability Development Consortium in calling for women and girls with disabilities to be included across all agendas.”

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 11 October 2017