This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. On April 24, 2023, the UN in Liberia officially launched the Human Rights 75 campaign (HR75) with the national authorities, CSOs and all stakeholders. Since the launch, a series of activities and awareness raising on the campaign has been ongoing during a series of activities in the country and through ECOWAS, including a radio talk show.
For each month in 2023, OHCHR, globally, shines a spotlight on one critical theme spanning a range of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights – highlighting different aspects of the Universal Declaration and calling for concrete action by States and others. This month’s spotlight is on Women’s political participation, focusing on women and girls with disabilities. OHCHR will collaborate with the National Commission on Disability and the National Union of Organisations on the Disabled to host a dialogue with women and girls with disabilities on July 04, 2023.
“While women’s political participation rates are low overall, women with disabilities are even more underrepresented due to discriminatory norms and attitudes based on gender and disability. This makes people consider them incapable of voting or holding office due to stereotypical characteristics ascribed to women and physical or intellectual disabilities. This contributes to a lack of access to polling stations, inaccessible voting material, and few women political candidates with disabilities. Electoral processes should be inclusive and participatory, and any action to improve women’s participation in political and public life must include women and girls with disabilities”, said UN Resident Coordinator Christine Umutoni.
In his speech at the launch of the HR75, Honourable Frank Musah Dean Jr, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia and HR75 Champion for Liberia, mentioned that the increased budget allocated to the National Commission on Disabilities in 2023 indicates the government’s political will to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities at the level of policies and programs.
“To encourage women and girls participation in the body politic of Liberia, it should firstly begin with political parties themselves taking action against stereotyping and stigmatizing them”, said Rev. Fallah S. Boima, vice chairperson of the National Commission of Disabilities, speaking during the HR75 Live Talkshow hosted on ECOWAS Radio.
“The human rights framework recommends strengthening the national legal framework to ensure gender equality in the public and the private spheres and protect women from violence on and offline, and mostly supporting women and girls with disabilities”, said OHCHR Country Representative Christian Mukosa.