from intlawgrrls Blog
In a groundbreaking effort to “Confront Complexity” (theme of this year’s American Society of International Law Annual Meeting), the International Disability Rights Interest Group(IDRIG) sponsored an engaging and informative roundtable on violence against women with disabilities on Thursday, 29 March 2012. Titled “Forgotten Sisters: Violence against Women With Disabilities, Human Rights, and Complex Identity Status,” the gathering was co-organized by IDRIG co-chairs Stephanie Ortoleva (pictured at far right) and yours truly, IntLawGrrl Hope Lewis.Roundtable speakers shared cutting-edge work on legal issues including international human rights treaty implementation and interpretation, access to justice, domestic and local implementation and civil society advocacy, state due diligence obligations in light of violence and discrimination committed by non-state actors, and post-conflict human rights strategies.
Excerpt.... Participatory Approaches

Legal and policy strategies aimed at ending violence against women with disabilities must adopt a “nothing about us, without us” approach as was successfully employed during the drafting and negotiation of the CRPD.
Women with disabilities must themselves be key decision-makers in efforts to identify priority concerns and legal responses.

Popular and Legal Education
There is a need for further popular, police, and judicial training that builds specific cultural awareness and legal knowledge about the rights of women with disabilities.Without such efforts, further elaboration of international, regional, and domestic legal standards may fail women with disabilities at grassroots levels.

Rights-based Approaches
States parties and civil society advocates must move beyond the old “charitable” and “medical”models of disability and embrace a social model of disability. Such a model focuses instead on harmful social perceptions and structures that advocates can help responsible actors to reconceive (e.g., in the practical context of “universal design”).

Lessons from the Inter-American System ... Continues...

Helpful lessons may be drawn from recent encouraging developments in the Inter-American Human Rights System such as Gonzalez (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico (Inter-American Court) and (Jessica Lenahan) Gonzales v. United States (Inter-American Commission) decisions on state responsibility, due diligence, and violence against women. Similar analysis on prevention, access to justice, and compensation may be fruitful when addressing the other forms of violence women with disabilities experience as well.
The roundtable was an excellent opportunity to “center” these important issues and to engage lawyers on a range of substantive and strategic issues that can make a difference in the lives of millions of women.
Shortly after the Annual Meeting, the list of selected resources distributed at the roundtable will be posted on the IDRIG webpage.


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