Papers, Articles, Reports & Submissions 2011 – 2015


Women With Disabilities Australia: ‘Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC): Development of the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents’ (April 2015) [PDF] [Word]

In early 2015, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child announced its decision to develop a General Comment (GC) on the Rights of Adolescents. The experiences, opportunities and challenges facing adolescents clearly varies widely across different regions and between different groups of adolescents. The Committee therefore sought submissions from interested bodies and States, in all regions and from a wide range of perspectives, to inform the drafting process. WWDA’s Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, to inform the development of the General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents, focuses on 8 key areas and themes, including: 1) Freedom from forced or coerced sterilisation; 2) Freedom from forced contraception; 3) Freedom to exercise full control over sexual and reproductive health; 4) Freedom to express sexuality and gender identity and to access relevant and accurate information and resources regarding sexuality and gender identity; 5) Freedom from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse; 6) Acknowledgment of the multiple and intersectional nature of identity and experience; 7) Right to inclusive education; 8) Right to justice and freedom from denial of legal and decision-making capacity. Copyright WWDA April 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: ‘Submission to the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability’ (January 2014) [PDF] [Word]

This national Inquiry was announced by the Australian Government in July 2013. The Inquiry, being undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will examine laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity, and consider what, if any, changes could be made to Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks to address these matters. The ALRC’s final report is due in August 2014. This document is WWDA’s formal Submission to the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability. WWDA’s Submission examines six key priority areas for women with disabilities that are considered crucial in the context of the National Inquiry. These six areas are: 1) Gendering the National Inquiry into Equal Recognition Before the Law and Legal Capacity for People With Disability; 2) Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Freedoms; 3) The Right to Freedom from Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect; 4) The Right to Found and Maintain a Family; 5) The Right to Work; and, 6) The Right to Participate in Political and Public life. Copyright WWDA January 2014.


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: ‘Gender, Disability and Violence: Denial of Sexual & Reproductive Rights’ – By Therese Sands (May 2013) [Powerpoint]

On Wednesday 29th May, WWDA member Therese Sands, gave a presentation on behalf of WWDA, at a panel session on Gender-Based Violence and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, at the 2013 Women Deliver Conference, the largest global event of the decade to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women. The Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 28-30 May 2013. WWDA’s presentation was delivered as part of a panel that examined the ways in which gender-based violence prevents individuals from exercising their sexual and reproductive rights and ways to enable individuals to exercise these rights free from coercion, discrimination and violence. 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.


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): A Deeper Silence: The Unheard Experiences of Women with Disabilities and Their Sexual and Reproductive Health Experiences : Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Tonga'(2013) [PDF Only]

This report contains information gained in situation analyses exploring the SRH needs of women with disabilities in three Pacific Island countries: Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga. This work was carried out over a four-month period. UNFPA undertook these situation analyses to gain greater understanding of the opportunities and needs experienced by women with disabilities in relation to their ability to realize their sexual and reproductive rights.


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.