"New Disability Rights Organisation Launches"
Disabled Women Ireland, the first Irish organisation by disabled women to advocate for disabled women, trans women and non-binary people, officially launched on May 11. The event took place in The Blue Room on the UCD Campus. The launch came as part of a mini conference “Disability Rights and Reproductive Rights”. Speakers from all areas of disabled advocacy discussed the unique challenges surrounding people with disabilities in their fight for reproductive rights.
This event was the first of its kind, and featured speakers from People with Disabilities Together for Yes, Disabled People Together for Yes, and Deaf Community Together For Yes, UCD SU - alongside longstanding disability rights advocates Suzy Byrne and Rosaleen McDonagh.
The group was founded after groups of disability activists got together to support a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment.
“We found ourselves working together over the last year or so, very much united against the hateful disability rhetoric of the No campaign. Abortion is a disability rights issue. Disabled women account for 68% of maternal deaths in this country, and it is far more difficult for disabled women to access abortion care in the UK. This referendum is issue we all care deeply about.” – Amy Hassett
With the formation of new alliances within the disabled feminist network, DWI endeavours to promote and strive for an intersectional approach to feminism in Ireland. They hope to achieve this through the removal of all barriers for women with disabilities; whether they are legislative, social or policy based.
Founder of DWI, Maria Ní Fhlatharta, has spoken of the importance of the organisation. She said;
“We need to become a powerful voice for equality in Ireland. We experience disability-based oppression and gender-based oppression. These intersect and magnify one another. The rate of poverty and sexual violence experienced by disabled women is case in point”
From 1:30-5pm, photos of the event were made available. DWI are members of the Together For Yes campaign platform.
"People with Disabilities Together for Yes are Targets for Harassment"
Harassment of women with disabilities campaigning is unacceptable says group
All harassment of campaigners is unacceptable, but the level and vitriol of the harassment currently targeted at women with disabilities campaigning for a yes vote has become intolerable. – People with Disabilites Together For Yes
Reports have been flooding in from campaigners across the country with statements that our members have been followed everywhere from supermarkets to dark streets.
Alannah Murray from PWD Together For Yes said;
"People stopped me today to tell me they liked my students for choice jumper, but I froze because any time someone approaches me now I tense up and am ready for verbal abuse"
Amy Hassett, also PWD Together For Yes had similar experiences
"It makes me nervous and uncomfortable in my own country. As a woman with a disability, going out in public while wearing Repeal-branded clothing, is stressful as I am likely to be verbally abused for supporting reproductive rights for women. "
Laura Fucci, another woman with a disability said that when she goes out and is seen with her Together For Yes badges and her cane a torrent of verbal abuse is likely to follow – it often goes on after passers-by intervene.
“Abortion is a disability rights issue. Not in the way they think it is”; said Maria Ni Fhlatharta, PWD Together For Yes.
“We are 68 percent of maternal deaths in this country and we are much less likely to have the resources or support we need to access terminations abroad – even though pregnancy puts our lives at greater risk”.
“People with Disabilities for Repeal condemn government for failure and deceit in Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities Ratification"
After an 11-year delay, on Wednesday Ireland became the last country in the EU to ratify the Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities.
The delay experienced was unacceptable, but the schedule put forward allowed for ratification of both the Treaty and the optional Protocol at the same time. This would allow for enforcement from the get go. As Ireland stated that it would not ratify until it was in compliance, this seemed fair.
The Disability Rights Community, had been relying on this promise – so when during the Dail debate, Minister McGrath skirted questions on the optional protocol, backs were raised.
It has since been confirmed that along with three major reservations (exceptions to basic rights), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being passed without the OP. This is contrary to repeated assurances given to the disability rights community that they would be ratified together. The wider disability community were not consulted or informed when the government went back on their pledge to ratify the CRPD and the OP together. It is unclear if any disabled peoples’ organisation was consulted or informed.
This is an incredibly disappointing decision that undermines Ireland’s claimed commitment to the effective realisation of disability rights.
The Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities OP allows for communications from individuals/groups to the Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities committee. It is the most effective measure we would have to hold the government to account, to seek action on the violations of rights faced by Irish people with disabilities.
We’ve been given our rights but no means to enforce them. The Op was the main way that people with disabilities could hold the government to account internationally.
That write the reports, and disabled peoples organisations only contribute through shadow reporting. This is not sufficient
Reporting happens on the governments terms. Reports are written by government agencies. Civil society can only contribute through shadow reporting.
Also reports have to look at every single rights violation, in all areas of life. This means we can only see the tip of the iceberg of rights violations.
Without the OPTIONAL PROTOCOL huge rights violations (like the current housing situation and those who suffer under it) will only be examined as part of the larger picture. There will not be enough time or resources to address them.
Several TD’s asked about the ratification of the optional protocol. The question was skirted by Minister McGrath, who instead used his response time to justify why there was no Irish Sign Language interpreter or closed captioning on a disability debate.
Minister McGrath and his governments actions on this is a betrayal of the people with disabilities residing in this country. Not only are we gaining what is effectively a toothless treaty, we have been victims of a fraud in the concealment of the omission of the optional protocol.
People with Disabilities for Repeal, are a group of people with disabilities, and disability rights activists who are campaigning for self-determination in Irish law. Reproductive rights are disability rights and we want to make them a reality for all Irish people.
Our spokes people are Maria Ni Fhlatharta 0857057691 and Alannah Murray 0852291106 and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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PWD For Repeal/DWI