Advocacy for the Recognition of Disabled Women's Rights

After over a decade of violent civil conflict, Burundi is now in the post-conflict phase, from a humanitarian emergency to the difficulties of sustainable development. It is necessary to take into account the rights of women living with disabilities. These women are indeed still stigmatized, discriminated against and deprived of their basic rights as human beings. They can all too easily become prey to economic and social problems, slowing not only their own personnel development, but also that of their communities.

On 26 April 2007, Burundi committed to the rights of disabled people by signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Since then, six years have passed without any further action been taken. This important commitment to protecting the rights of not only women, but anyone living with disabilities has not been presented to members of parliament for approval; a necessary step for ratification and thus passing into law. Specifically, the ratification of the CRPD will restore much needed  human rights to those living with disability such as access to education and care, freedom of movement and the participation in social and political life.

The Australian Government through its developmet agency AusAID has provided financial assistance for the entire advocacy program supporting the ratification of the CRPD. Included in this program is a strong focus on the need to protect the rights of women living with disability. This project was prepared in July 2013, and is planned to continue from November 2013 through to April 2014 in both Bujumbura and Muramvya provinces. In efforts to strengthen and build evidence for the need of the CRPD, activities have been planned and are been carried out by 60 of the most vulnerable people - women with disabilities - some from marginalized communities are also supported by men involved in this issues.

In encouraging sustainability and peaceful development of Burundi, Centre for Training and Development of Ex-combatants Affairs (CEDAC), a local and bipartisan NGO supports vulnerable populations who are discriminated against by the Burundian society because of their past or present situation. In conjunction with Action On Armed Violence (AOAV) these NGOs are working in partnership with eight groups of women in relation to their skills, ideas and needs. AOAV an organization specialized in the fight against gun violence and psychosocial rehabilitation of victims from gun violence. The direct beneficiaries of the project have some form of disability which was caused as a directly result of armed violence. There is a 16 days period of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) planned from 25 November to 10 December  2013, coinciding with the international day dedicated to people with disabilities on 3 December. It is important that we remind representatives of government and the Burundian population as a whole, that women and girls with disabilities should be treated as equals. This is unfortunately not the case as women with disabilities are often victims of domestic violence.

The convention recognizes that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple forms of discrimination, and that States should take appropriate measures to fight against it. The convention is explicit as to the rights of women not to be subjected to forms of abuse, violence and exploitation.

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