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Read Stephanie Ortoleva's blog post on the World Justice Project website: Women with Disabilities and the Justice System: Rights without Remedies.

 Following the horrific gang rape and murder of a woman as she road a bus, as well as numerous violent rapes of women in India, the Indian Government appointed the Justice Verma committee to make recommendations for legal reforms. Following the Report of this Committee, the Government adopted several legislative reforms, but the new law fell short of the needed changes. The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled condemns the process in which the Indian Government enacted its new sexual offences law incorporating some of the amendments recommended by the Justice Verma Committee, but the law fails to incorporate several significant concerns regarding women with disabilities. Click here to read the press statement of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled.

Read Women Enabled’s submission to the CEDAW Committee for its 18 February 2013 General discussion on Access to Justice for women. Women Enabled calls on the CEDAW Committee to address access to justice for women and girls with disabilities as it elaborates a General recommendation on access to justice for women. Read Women Enabled’s submission, click here.

  The Center for Reproductive Rights, with support from UNFPA, has recently released a new publication: Reproductive Rights: A Tool for Monitoring State Obligations. This important report addresses the reproductive rights of persons with disabilities.  Read the report here: http://reproductiverights.org/en/document/monitoring-tool-human-rights-state-obligations

 Women Enabled strongly urges the Indian Government Commission on legal reform of laws on rape & violence against women to include women with disabilities.   Click here to read our letter.

 Special rapporteur Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo, releases new ground-breaking report on violence against women with disabilities. Notes: despite normative legal frameworks on  both the human rights of women & of persons with disabilities, impact of combined effects of both gender & disability not gained sufficient attention,& violence remains largely unaddressed& at shockingly high rates, Intersecting & multiple forms of discrimination exacerbates this violence, and  a social model of disability must be utilized.  Click here to read.

 Read: Stephanie Ortoleva & Hope Lewis, open letter toUN Women & the CSW 57 Chairs regarding the importance of inclusion ofissues of concern to women & girls with disabilities in agenda of  UNCommission on the Status of Women 57th Session on violence againstwomen, March 2013.

 Women Enabled organized a meeting of women with disabilities and allied women at the Conference of States Parties of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the UN in NYC and the group issued a “Statement of Principles” on September 14, demanding that our rights are always included at COSP meetings, in our own voices, by our own hands and through our own lived experiences so that others do not speak for us. We also stated that it is essential that girls and younger women and women from the global south have prominent speaking and leadership roles.  We also pledge to gather as a collective at future COSP sessions.  The Statement was read into the official record of the proceedings on September 14.  Read the fullstatement here.          

 Stephanie Ortoleva and Hope Lewis release a new study “ForgottenSisters - A Report on Violence against Women with Disabilities:  AnOverview of Its Nature, Scope, Causes and Consequences” August 2012. Despite the evolution of normative frameworks concerning both the human rights of women and of persons with disabilities, the impact of the combined effects of both gender and disability have not gained sufficient attention with respect to preventing and ending violence against women and girls with disabilities and the violence remains at shockingly high rates.  The Report calls on international organizations, especially those focused on women’s rights such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women (which will consider as its priority thematic issue violence against women at its 57th session in March 2013) and UN Women, and the international community, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to join us in the effort to highlight these critical issues and end the violence.

 Read Women Enabled’s letter to the United States Foreign Relations Committee urging prompt ratification of the United nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  I vigorously urge prompt U.S. Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  This treaty will advance the rights of all the One Billion persons with disabilities around the world and includes specific provisions to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities in its Article 6 and throughout the CRPD’s provisions.    Such prompt ratification would further advance the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that so well characterized the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act itself.  Women and girls with disabilities experience the double bind of discrimination because they are women and because they are persons with disabilities and for many women and girls with disabilities other intersecting identities result in compounded forms of discrimination.  two of the most devastating factors that confront women and girls with disabilities are alarming high rates of gender-based and sexual violence as well as inadequate access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health care.  Urge the U.S. Senate to ratify this treaty promptly and support the work of women and girls with disabilities around the world to advance our rights and improve our lives. Click here to read.

 This June nations and advocates around the world attended the Rio+20 Earth Summit, which sought to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.  Unlike at previous sessions, some Issues of concern to persons with disabilities were included in the Rio+20 Outcome Document, entitled "The future we want" although much more is needed and these provisions are voluntary.  Provisions with respect to several women’s rights issues were, as one activist described it “a recession in human rights” including the absence of provisions on access to sexual and reproductive health.  Others reported that civil society did not have an opportunity for meaningful participation.  Thus, now, we must take measures to help translate these commitments into specific actions by Governments and all stakeholders in the international community to ensure that persons with disabilities, our voices, rights, needs and concerns are included in sustainable development policies and programme implementation! 
 
 Watch Eve Ensler, the amazing author and performer of the ground-breaking Vagina Monologues, perform her piece Suddenly, my body at http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/eve_ensler.html and for more Eve go to http://www.eveensler.org.
 
 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.  The Plan can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/email-files/US_National_Action_Plan_on_Women_Peace_and_Security.pdf

 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.  Click here for the full report.

 Listen to Stephanie Ortoleva on Women's Voice Radio on Sunday, October 30 11 am Eastern Time in the U.S.  Click for details!

 Stephanie Ortoleva’s Submission to the CEDAW Committee for their General Discussion on Women and Conflict and post-Conflict Situations – Inclusion of Women with Disabilities is now available on the CEDAW website.

 On this “Love Your Body Day” read Erin Matson, Vice President Action, National Organization for Women, “Love Your Body Day: A Woman's Body Politic,” Huffington Post, 18 October 2011

 I am pleased to announce that, in cooperation with the National Organization for Women’s Global Feminist Committee, the National NOW Officers  and other international women’s human rights colleagues, we are pleased to present a video by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo Esq., discussing the report she made to the U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 10, 2011 about the situation of violence against women in the United States. 

 Stephanie Ortoleva thanks former U.S. Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder for her work on women's health with a personal tribute as a survivor of breast cancer - National Organization for Women National Conference, Florida, June 25, 2011

 Disability rights and reproductive rights advocates joined to file a Brief in Gauer and Others v France at the European Court of Human Rights challenging France’s forced sterilization of women with intellectual disabilities, drawing on provisions of the CRPD and other human rights treaties prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender and disability and denial of the right of access to justice.

 National Organization for Women Passes Resolution  demanding inclusion of women with disabilities in U.S. State Department programs, June 26, 2011

 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Speaks Out Against Non-Consentual Forced Sterilization of Women with Disabilities – June 2011

 World Health Organization & World Bank, World Report on Disability, 9 June 2011, now estimating that there are One Billion persons with disabilities worldwide.


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