Sightsavers Initiates Diversity in the CRPD

Diversity in Disability Rights was recently achieved with the election of six women with disabilities within the UN’s CRPD. There was only one woman representing the voice of disabled women prior. Thanks to Sightsavers’ initial campaign of #EqualUN history has been made.


By utilizing social media to get the word out, people became aware that the representation of women, in many different aspects of decision making roles in the UN, was unbalanced. The cry was heard, and the UN voted on June 12, 2018, to increase the number of disabled women at the helm. These women now make up a third of the members.


The six members are Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame of Ghana, Rosemary Kayess of Australia, Miyoon Kim of the Republic of Korea, Risnawati Utami of Indonesia, Mara Gabrilli of Brazil, Amalia Gamio of Mexico. These six women will embody the premise of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Officially adopted in December 2006, the CRPD continued the work of the UN, to ensure that all persons with disabilities enjoyed the full rights and fundamental freedoms as anyone else. The convention is in place to clarify their rights, according to law, and identify areas that require reasonable adaptations. A person with disabilities must not have their rights violated and their rights must be protected.


Unfortunately, many persons with disabilities live in conflict. They are denied education, healthcare, and other necessities. Many are subjected to violence or are locked into institutions away from society. Thanks to Sightsavers sounding the call to action for every voice to be represented at the UN level, less tragic stories are on the horizon.


A more diverse voice, that represents the populations under the governance of nations that may not hear them, is not only imperative, it’s right. How we treat the most vulnerable defines a nation. Not just in the current sense, but for generations to come.