Women with disabilities faced double and most times triple discrimination. Because they are women, they have a disability and the abuses they faced. Women with disabilities are excluded in decision makings at all levels. Most times they are seen as people with other rights. They are carers of a child with a disability, or Carers of elderly
Many barriers they faced does not allow them to enjoy their rights and freedoms as anyone else. For instance, VDPA in partnership with CBM New Zealand carried out a needs assessment, after the Mass evacuation from Ambae island due to heavy volcanic Ash fall out. the report showed that:
- Evacuees with disabilities were instructed to leave their wheelchairs behind
- Women with disabilities are discriminated in evacuation centers because the centers are inaccessible and there is no privacy in the bathroom facilities
- Deaf women are the ones who are most marginalized especially, communicating and accessing information
The Vanuatu Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (VDPA) compiled a standalone CEDAW report on Women and girls with disabilities to the UN CEDAW committee in 2016, we also participated at the 63rd CEDAW session, to ensure women with disabilities are also represented at the platform. The Vanuatu National Disability Inclusive Development plan 2018-2025 mentioned women with disabilities as one of the 8 priorities in the plan.
- The National Gender equality plan is partly inclusive of women and girls with disabilities.
- Inclusion and mainstreaming of women with disabilities at the national level.women with disabilities attended the National women’s forum last year.
- Women with disabilities committee members are active members of the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing network.
- Women with disabilities is a sub-group under the Vanuatu Civil Society disability network.
- VDPA is also an active member of the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing network.
- Women with disabilities actively participated at the National Disability Influencing forum last year.
But there is more to be done, because women and girls with disabilities in the rural and remote areas needs to be included as well in all development efforts. However, the VDPA partnered with two other organizations to write the Alternative report on the UNCRPD in 2017 and submitted the report last year. DRF gave a special award to fund 7 people with disabilities to attend the UN CRPD session this year in Geneva. Four women with disabilities and three men with disabilities attended the interactive dialogue between the CRPD committee and our government. VDPA acknowledged and thanked DRF for this support. In April, VDPA organized a national Press conference in our capital town, we launched the UN recommendations urged government to do more and more on the implementation of the UN CRDP recommendations. Over 50 people attended this press conference.
However, reports that are produced are our powerful advocacy and monitoring tools.