DAA News Network

Australia: Disabled women, health and human rights

Posted 11/8-10 at 14.16

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) have published a policy paper on the rights of disabled women to health. It sets this fundamental human right in the context of Australia's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). All have been ratified by Australia.

The paper argues that despite Australia's international commitment to achieve better health for its citizens, particularly marginalised groups, the full enjoyment of the right to health still remains a distant goal for disabled women. They not only represent one of the groups with the highest risk of poor health, but experience violence at higher rates than their non-disabled sisters, experience less control over what happens to their bodies, have less access to vital health care services, such as cervical and breast cancer screening and, face discrimination, societal prejudice and stigma when it comes to determining their reproductive rights.

The WWDA says that the government has an obligation to take positive action to reduce structural disadvantages and to give appropriate preferential treatment to disabled women in order to ensure that they enjoy all human rights - including their right to health.



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