WWDA at the United Nations COSP12

In June 2019, representatives from Women With Disabilities Australia attended the 12th Conference of state parties (COSP) on the Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (CRPD) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York city. 

The WWDA representatives to attend included WWDA’s staff member and Youth representative, Heidi La Paglia, and WWDA member and performance artist, Sarah Houboult. 

Heidi and Sarah attended alongside the Government and Civil Society Australian delegation, which included representatives from disability peoples organisations across the country as well as several foreign affairs representatives, and even the Wombat mascot, ‘Wagga the Wambassador’ 

Image of Heidi La Paglia standing in United Nations Un General Assembly.
Image above Right: Heidi La Paglia standing in United Nations General Assembly conference room.

The conference ran from Monday to Thursday, with the first day being dedicated to Civil society organisations and representatives. On the first official day of COSP, the United Nations announced a new Disability Inclusion Strategy, which you can read about on the United Nations website.

This much needed strategy was supported by representatives from across UN departments, including UN Women, who recognised the importance of responding to issues that affect women with disabilities such as forced sterilisation and violence. 

Another big highlight for the Australian delegation was hearing from our partner DPO’s, the First People’s Disability Network (FPDN) and People With Disabilities Australia (PWDA) at a their moving side event on the inclusion of Indigenous people with disabilities. 

The panel members which included Sereako from FPDN and Therese Sands from PWDA, told stories from their culture and families and talked about the relationship between the Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (CRPD) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s (DRIP)

Later in the week, Women With Disabilities Across the world, who later in the week held an impromptu meeting on the basis that our issues are often left off the agenda of both the disability movement and women’s sector. After lead up to it throughout the week, this meeting was full of energy, and sparked a plan to set up a global movement of Women With Disabilities that will be organised in time for the sixty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2020, and will stay connected for decades into the future. 

You can read more about COSP 12 in Heidi’s report from the conference:

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