Ms. #Manique Gunaratne was a speaker at the virtual public event in the margins of the 13th Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of People with #Disabilities (CoSP13 CRPD) in December 2020

Organized by: CARE, Community Association for Vulnerable Persons (CAVP, Cameroon), National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU) and Women Enabled International.
Co-sponsored by: Permanent Mission to Mexico to the UN, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN and UNICEF

We have known for years that people with disabilities are often excluded from programs and services designed to prevent and respond to GBV in humanitarian emergencies. More recently with the onset of COVID-19 and the GBV ‘shadow pandemic,’ it has triggered, women and girls with disabilities are being left out and left behind in even greater numbers. They may be isolated in their homes, overlooked during needs assessments and not consulted in the design or evaluation of programs, but global pandemic or no, all human rights of women and girls with disabilities must be ensured and particular protections to those in humanitarian crises must be guaranteed.

This event brings together women who are at the frontlines in Cameroon, Uganda and South Sudan, addressing the intersection between gender, disabilities, GBV prevention and humanitarian response. Through a moderated discussion these women’s firsthand experiences about the key challenges they face were heard and what approaches are working and what needs to change or scale up to ensure we deliver on our collective commitment to make access to GBV services, mental health and psychosocial support, and sexual and reproductive health services and programs available to all on an equal basis. There was also an opportunity for participants to pose their own questions to the panel.

The objectives of the event were To provide an international platform for local disability rights advocates working in a range of countries experiencing humanitarian emergencies to talk directly with States Parties to the CRPD about the challenges that women and girls with disabilities face in these contexts, particularly when it comes to GBV prevention and response and access to the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health, including sexual and reproductive health services. The speakers provided recommendations about how these challenges can be overcome to advance commitments to inclusive humanitarian action and inclusive and gender-responsive sustainable development.  

  1. By promoting a better understanding of the challenges local women-led and women’s rights organisations are experiencing both pre-and post-COVID, provide concrete recommendations to the humanitarian system and States Parties to the CRPD to ensure all stakeholders take action to put women and girls with disabilities at the centre of humanitarian action, both as agents of change and as members of affected communities.
  2. To showcase the tools that have been developed to address the intersection between disability, gender and humanitarian response, including the IASC Disability Guidelines, Minimum Standards for Prevention and Response to GBV in Emergencies; and the WRC/IRC Toolkit for GBV Practitioners.

Participants included UN Permanent Missions, experts on gender and disability rights from Member States that are Parties to the CRPD; UN officials and staff; civil society representatives from national, regional and international NGOs.

Manique Presenting
Manique Presenting
Manique Presenting
Manique Presenting

Manique Gunaratne
Visiting Lecturer – University of Colombo