Papers, Articles, Reports & Submissions 2011 – 2015


Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law – Anti-Torture Initiative: ‘Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report’ (2014) [PDF Only - Large File]

Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report brings together contributions by more than thirty international experts in response to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez’s provocative thematic report on torture and other abusive practices in healthcare settings. Each piece in this unique volume provides novel insights into essential topics and pressing issues at the forefront of the intersecting medical, legal, and policy fields. The questions raised by the Special Rapporteur’s report and the array of innovative perspectives offered in response by each contributing author illustrate a profound commitment to tackling the challenges that continue to arise in promoting and protecting the human rights of persons in diverse healthcare settings globally.


Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and Women Enabled: ‘The Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities’ – By Carolyn Frohmader and Stephanie Ortoleva (July 2013) [PDF] [Word]

This Paper was written by WWDA’s Executive Director (Carolyn Frohmader) and the President of Women Enabled (Stephanie Ortoleva) for the ICPD Beyond 2014 International Conference on Human Rights held at the Hague, Netherlands from 7 – 10 July 2013. The Conference was part of the United Nations (UN) mandated review of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. The Conference was hosted by the Government of The Netherlands, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It focused on the nexus between human rights, equality, accountability and population and development, with a focus on gender, discrimination, empowerment and sexual and reproduction health and rights. Carolyn Frohmader participated on the International Reference Committee for the Conference, providing technical advice, assisting with the development of the Conference Program, and advocating strongly for women with disabilities to be included on the invitation only participant list, and to be included in all Conference deliberations and outcome documents. This Paper ‘The Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities’, was commissioned by the Conference organisers to inform this work. Copyright July 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘The Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia: Violating the Human Right to Health’ – By Carolyn Frohmader (May 2013) [PDF] [Word] [Powerpoint]

This paper was written by WWDA Executive Director, Carolyn Frohmader and presented by WWDA President, Karin Swift on behalf of Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) at the 7th Australian Women’s Health Network Conference, Sydney, 8 May, 2013. The paper and the accompanying Powerpoint presentation is based on WWDA’s Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia. WWDA’s Submission to the Senate Inquiry is entitled ‘Dehumanised: The Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia’ (ISBN: 978-0-9876035-0-0) is available for download in PDF and Word versions, from the WWDA website at: http://www.wwda.org.au/senateinquiry2012.htm. Copyright WWDA May 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Behind Closed Doors: Who would believe me?’ – By Margie Charlesworth (May 2013) [PDF]  [Word]

This paper was written by WWDA’s Vice President, Margie Charlesworth, and presented by Margie on behalf of Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) at the 7th Australian Women’s Health Network Conference, Sydney, 8 May, 2013. The paper explores the issue of the credibility afforded to women with communication impairments who report that they are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Copyright WWDA May 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Dehumanised: The Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia’ – WWDA Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Involuntary or Coerced Sterilisation of People with Disabilities in Australia (March 2013)

[Full Submission PDF] [Full Submission Appendices PDF] [Full Submission Word] [Summary & Recommendations PDF] [Summary & Recommendations Word]

The Senate Inquiry into Involuntary or Coerced Sterilisation of People with Disabilities in Australia commenced in late 2012 and Submissions to the Inquiry closed in early March 2013. The Senate will report on the Inquiry by June 2013. WWDA’s Submission to the Inquiry establishes beyond doubt, that forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities is an internationally recognised form of torture – an inhuman practice which violates multiple human rights, and clearly breaches every international human rights treaty to which Australia is a party. WWDA’s Submission addresses the issue of forced and coerced sterilisation in detail. It examines the background to, and the status of the issue in Australia today, and examines the rationale used to justify the forced sterilisation of disabled women and girls, including themes such as eugenics/genetics; for the good of the State, community or family; incapacity for parenthood; incapacity to develop and evolve; prevention of sexual abuse; and discourses around “best interest”. WWDA’s Submission analyses Australian Court and Tribunal applications and authorisations for sterilisation of disabled women and girls, and demonstrates that the Australian Government’s current justification of the “best interest approach” in the sterilisation of disabled women and girls, has in effect, been used to perpetuate discriminatory attitudes against women and girls with disabilities, and has only served to facilitate the practice of forced sterilisation. The impact of forced sterilisation on women and girls with disabilities is also highlighted in WWDA’s Submission, and reaffirms, through the voices of those affected, that forced and coerced sterilisation has long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects. WWDA’s Submission looks in detail at forced and coerced sterilisation as a violation of human rights and provides an analysis of how the practice contravenes every international human rights treaty to which Australia is a party. Several recent and current legal cases are used to highlight that the issue of forced and coerced sterilisation of women and girls is increasingly being recognised in Courts around the world, as a violation of women’s fundamental human rights. Importantly, WWDA’s Submission also examines redress and transitional justice for women and girls with disabilities who have been sterilised in the absence of their fully informed and free consent. WWDA’s Submission includes 18 Key Recommendations, covering areas such as legislative reforms; transitional justice and redress, (including financial reparation, rehabilitation and recovery); research; informed consent; parenting; violence prevention; supportive decision-making; mechanisms to enable participation of women and girls with disabilities in decision-making; and more. ISBN: 978-0-9876035-0-0. Copyright WWDA March 2013.


Women With Disabilities Australia: Policy Paper: ‘Assessing the situation of women with disabilities in Australia: A human rights approach’(July 2011) [PDF] [Word]

This Paper uses a human rights framework to document the range of data, research and information needed in order to give a comprehensive assessment of the situation of women with disabilities in Australia. The paper provides the context for this work by giving an overview of the intersection of gender and disability, as well as a brief background to the human rights imperative. Using key articles from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the paper then prescribes the key quantitative and qualitative data and research required under each article, and links this to Australia’s international human rights obligations and domestic policy context. Copyright WWDA July 2011.


Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and Women With Disabilities Victoria: ‘Joint Submission to Productivity Commission’s Draft Report National Disability Care and Support Inquiry’(May 2011) [PDF] [Word]

The emphasis for this joint Submission from WWDA and Women With Disabilities Victoria is how to ensure lived experiences which arise from gender, with attention to the perspective of women and girls in particular, are considered in the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and addressed in its implementation. The Submission addresses a number of issues of specific interest to women with disabilities, including for example: Sexuality, Parenting and Reproductive Rights; Health and wellbeing; Employment; and, Safety and violence. The Submission includes a number of case studies to highlight and give a context to the issues raised, and contains a number of specific recommendations. Copyright WWDA May 2011.