WE Issues: Legal Capacity

  • Jan. 28, 2019 WEI, Human Rights Watch, and Disability Rights International Submission to the CEDAW Committee for its Review of Serbia

    This submission focuses on abuses against women with disabilities in long-term residential care institutions in Serbia, including forced administration of contraception and implantation of intrauterine devices (IUDs), forced reproductive cancer screenings, forced and coerced abortions, and violence. Drawing on field research conducted by Human Rights Watch and Disability Rights International, this submission documents that forced reproductive health interventions are frequently performed on women with disabilities who are deprived of legal capacity withouttheir consent, and sometimes under general anesthesia. Furthermore, even when women with disabilities retain their capacity, they may be coerced to terminate pregnancies by institution staff, and all women with disabilities in institutions face barriers to reporting and escaping violence. This submission provides several recommended questions and suggestions for concluding observations for the CEDAW Committee to utilize during its review of Serbia in February 2019.

    HRW WEI DRI Submission to CEDAW on Serbia FINAL January 28, 2019.pdf

    HRW WEI DRI Submission to CEDAW on Serbia FINAL January 28, 2019.docx

  • Jan. 28, 2019 WEI, La Liga Colombiana de Autismo, Asdown Colombia, Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social, and Profamilia Submission to the CEDAW Committee for its Review of Colombia

    18 de Enero de 2019 Presentación de WEI, La Liga Colombiana de Autismo, Asdown Colombia, Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión Social y Profamilia ante el Comité CEDAW en el marco de su Revisión Periódica sobre Colombia 

    This submission outlines human rights violations in Colombia that uniquely or disproportionately affect women with disabilities, as compared to other women. In particular, the submission documents that Colombian law allows women with disabilities to be stripped of legal capacity, which is a human rights violation in itself and also heightens the risk of other violations, including forced reproductive health interventions and denials of access to justice. Furthermore, the submission documents that women with disabilities experience higher rates of gender-based violence, due to -among other factors- harmful stereotypes and disempowerment, which is aggravated among those who live in poverty and social exclusion. The submission also highlights that women with disabilities face significant barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health information, goods, and services, and that forced sterilizations performed on persons with disabilities are still legal in Colombia, a situation that disproportionately impacts women with disabilities. This submission provides several recommended questions and suggestions for concluding observations for the CEDAW Committee to utilize during its review of Colombia in February 2019.

    La presentación resume las violaciones de derechos humanos que afectan a las mujeres con discapacidad en Colombia de forma única y desproporcionada en comparación con otras mujeres. En particular, explica que la ley colombiana aún permite que las mujeres con discapacidad sean despojadas de su capacidad jurídica, lo que no solo constituye una violación de derechos humanos en sí misma, sino que además aumenta el riesgo de otras violaciones, como intervenciones forzosas en el ámbito de su salud reproductiva y denegaciones de acceso a la justicia. Además, la presentación denuncia que las mujeres con discapacidad experimentan índices más altos de violencia de género debido a -entre otros factores- estereotipos negativos y falta de poder, lo que se ve agravado entre las mujeres en situación de pobreza y exclusión social. La presentación también destaca que las mujeres con discapacidad enfrentan grandes barreras para acceder a información, bienes y servicios sobre salud sexual y reproductiva, y que aun son legales las esterilizaciones forzadas, lo que impacta de forma desproporcionada a las mujeres con discapacidad. Finalmente, la presentación provee algunas preguntas y recomendaciones para las observaciones finales, a fin de que el Comité las utilice durante la revisión de Colombia en Febrero 2019.

    Colombia Informe Sombra para CEDAW - LICA, ASDOWN, PAIIS, Profamilia, WEI enero 2019.pdf

    Colombia Informe Sombra para CEDAW - LICA, ASDOWN, PAIIS, Profamilia, WEI enero 2019.docx

    Colombia CEDAW Shadow Report (English Summary) - LICA, ASDOWN, PAIIS, Profamilia, WEI January 2019.pdf

    Colombia CEDAW Shadow Report (English Summary) - LICA, ASDOWN, PAIIS, Profamilia, WEI January 2019.docx

  • July 31, 2018 ONE.pl and WEI Submission to the CRPD Committee for its Review of Poland

    This submission to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee), drafted by Association for Women with Disabilities ONE.pl and WEI, addresses human rights violations against women and girls with disabilities in Poland. These violations include discrimination, stereotypes, exclusion from public participation, and lack of data collection; higher rates of gender-based violence; sexual and reproductive rights violations including forced sterilization and abortion as well as lack of access to respectful maternal health care, contraception, and abortion services and comprehensive sexuality education; discrimination in education and employment; and denial of legal capacity. This submission also outlines how Poland's reservations to the CRPD impact women and girls with disabilities and violate the object and purpose of the treaty, calling on Poland to withdraw those reservations. Read the publications:

    ONEpl and WEI Submission to CRPD Committee Review of Poland July 31, 2018.pdf

    ONEpl and WEI Submission to CRPD Committee Review of Poland July 31, 2018.docx


  • WEI and South Africa Partners Submission to the CRPD Committee for its Review of South Africa July 31, 2018

    WEI partnered with eight local organizations - Cape Mental Health, Centre for Human Rights at The University of Pretoria, Epilepsy South Africa, Khuluma Family Counselling, Lawyers for Human Rights, Port Elizabeth Mental Health, SA Federation for Mental Health, and The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children.  The report included anecdotal evidence collected from four local mental health organizations. This submission describes human rights violations against women and girls with disabilities in South Africa, including failure to take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement, and empowerment of women and girls with disabilities or affirmative measures to address discrimination; inaccessible justice systems and procedures; lack of accessible gender-based violence services and other supports and services for women and girls with disabilities and their families and caregivers; institutionalization, violence in institutions, and deficient support and oversight of institutions and other facilities for persons with disabilities; violations of women with disabilities' right to make their own reproductive choices and their right to legal capacity; lack of comprehensive sexuality education and discriminatory attitudes of healthcare providers; and lack of data collection disaggregated by disability and gender.

    Through this submission, our organizations made the following key recommendations:

      • Take specific measures to address the discrimination experienced by women and girls with disabilities and to empower women and girls with disabilities, especially black women with disabilities. 
      • Improve access to justice for women and girls with disabilities by amending laws and policies and providing training to justice system actors. 
      • Combat abuse and violence against women and girls with disabilities by ensuring gender-based violence services are accessible and available in disadvantaged areas; by developing inclusive awareness raising programs; by conducting research on the availability of programs and monitoring programs; and by investing in preventative gender-based violence programs. 
      • Amend laws that compromise South African women with disabilities' right to make their own reproductive choices and their right to legal capacity. 
      • Ensure that comprehensive sexuality education programs are available and accessible to women and girls with disabilities. 
      • Collect data on the issues that most impact women and girls with disabilities and ensure that women and girls with disabilities are included in all data collected about women and in all data collected about persons with disabilities.

    WEI et al South Africa CRPD Committee Shadow Report Submission - July 31, 2018.pdf

    WEI et al South Africa CRPD Committee Shadow Report Submission - July 31, 2018.docx

     

  • January 31, 2018 Preliminary Shadow Letter on Poland to the CRPD Committee List of Issues

    WEI and Association for Women with Disabilities ONE.pl submitted a preliminary shadow letter on the rights of women and girls with disabilities to the CRPD Committee to assist the Committee in developing a list of important issues it should address with Poland during its upcoming review in September. This letter highlights gaps in Poland's state report to the CRPD Committee, including concerning gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive rights, legal capacity, and employment and discrimination. The letter further addresses three reservations that Poland made when it ratified the CRPD—on legal capacity, abortion, and the right to marry and found a family—which disproportionately affect the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

    ONEpl and WEI Submission to CRPD Committee for Poland LOI FINAL Jan 31 2018.pdf

    ONEpl and WEI Submission to CRPD Committee for Poland LOI FINAL Jan 31 2018.docx

  • January 31, 2018 Preliminary Shadow Letter on South Africa to the CRPD Committee List of Issues

    WEI, Cape Mental Health, Professor Helene Combrinck of North-West University, The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, and Lawyers for Human Rights submitted a preliminary shadow letter on the rights of women and girls with disabilities to the CRPD Committee to assist the Committee in developing a list of important issues it should address with South Africa during its upcoming review in September. This letter highlights gaps in South Africa's state report to the CRPD Committee, including concerning gender-based violence and access to services, sexual and reproductive rights care and violations, legal capacity, access to justice, and lack of data and statistics on women with disabilities

    South Africa CRPD LOI Submission Women with Disabilities Jan 31 2018 FINAL.pdf

    South Africa CRPD LOI Submission Women with Disabilities Jan 31 2018 FINAL.docx



  • Minkowitz, Tina, et al, Legal Opinion Letter Article 12 of the CRPD, Legal Capacity, June 21, 2008 (PDF) (doc)
  • Minkowitz, Tina, et al, Opinión Legal Sobre el Artículo 12 de la CDPD, la Capacidad Jurídica, 21 June 2008 (PDF) (doc)
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