News

Message of UNFPA Rep at completion ceremony of Women with Disabilities Peer Action Group

18 December 2017
Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit with Michelle Balce, Visually-impaired Peer Action Group Facilitator, and UNFPA Representative Klaus Beck at the completion ceremony of the women with disabilities peer action group facilitators and participants of access to reproductive justice human rights education.
Message of Klaus Beck, UNFPA Country Representative on the Completion Ceremony of the Women with Disabilities Peer Action Group Facilitators and Participants of Access to Reproductive Justice Human Rights Education
 
To our partner on promoting access to reproductive justice for women and girls with disabilities, the Commission on Human Rights, represented by Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit and the staff of the Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights Center, visually-impaired peer action group, deaf peer action group, mobility-impaired peer action group, families, guardians and personal assistants, peer action group facilitators, mentors, and sign language interpreters and UNFPA colleagues.
 
Magandang hapon sa ating lahat!
 
Today we celebrate the achievement of the women and girls with disabilities who are now officially part of the Peer Action Groups for women and girls with disabilities. 
 
More importantly, we celebrate your courage, commitment and hard work to empower yourselves, and also to raise the awareness of other women and girls with disabilities on women’s rights, on violence against women, on reproductive health and rights, and on accessing justice should your rights be violated.
 
Working with you all enabled us to better understand the everyday challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities.
 
There are still many who are denied access to services and discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities. 
 
The absence of facilities and services to ensure access for women with disabilities and the absence of sign language interpreters in courts, affects women with disabilities’ access to justice. This is critical since women with disabilities are victims of sexual violence too. 
 
The lack of awareness of duty bearers, their insensitivity to the plight of women and girls with disabilities and the absence of disability disaggregated data adds up to the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by women and girls with disabilities.
 
This year’s partnership with the CHR on “Promoting Access to Reproductive Justice through Human Rights Education” builds on previous efforts supported by the United Nations Population Fund such as the 3-year participatory action research conducted from 2013 to 2016 on “Women with Disability taking Action on Reproductive and Sexual health” (W-DARE) with De la Salle University, and the Reproductive Health Inquiry in 2016 with the CHR. 
 
We are aware that some of you have been part of these previous projects and we are very pleased that our partnership has come this far. 
 
Our partnership does not end in this completion ceremony. We will continue to work to address issues of access at the individual level, the family, the community, and including structural barriers of access to justice. 
 
The Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Population Fund will continue to work with you to ensure that women and girls with disabilities are included in development and humanitarian processes so that no one will be left behind.
 
Just like our partnership does not end with this ceremony neither does our need to learn more about the challenges you are facing. As we do please have patience with us if we misunderstand or misinterpret you or your situation – and please correct us if and when we do.
 
Please also forgive us if we are not relating or interacting with you in the best possible way – please guide and teach us how we can become better at this.
 
In short this is a true partnership where everyone is learning and guiding each other.
 
Let me conclude by thanking the Commission on Human Rights for its leadership on this and by congratulating you, the women and girls with disabilities and their families, on the completion of this access to reproductive justice human rights education!
 
Maraming salamat po.