Ms Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame has been elected as the new Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), making her the first African woman to lead the committee.
Ms Fefoame, who is also Sightsavers’ global advocacy manager for social inclusion, was elected to the position during the CRPD’s 28th session held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The meeting took place on March 7, ahead of International Women’s Day.
A statement from Sightsavers, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Ms Fefoame has been a member of the committee since 2018.
She was first nominated for the role by the government of Ghana, her home country. Ms Fefoame originally joined the CRPD following the Sightsavers Equal UN campaign, which has called for gender equality on UN committees since 2016.
The statement described Ms Fefoame as a lifelong disability rights advocate and champion of inclusive education, particularly for girls with disabilities.
Sightsavers’ deputy CEO, Dom Haslam, said: “This is an incredible recognition of Gertrude’s commitment and dedication to the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls.
“Getty is a true force for the realisation of the Convention, and I have no doubt will lead the work of the committee with the same energy and passion that she shows every day in her work for Sightsavers.”
The statement said in her new role as chair of the CRPD, Ms Fefoame will lead the committee in its mission to promote, protect, and monitor the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities around the world.
This includes overseeing the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by over 180 countries.
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, in a separate statement, said they celebrated Ms. Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame as Ghana joined the rest of the world to commemorate International Women’s Day.
The GFD said she served on the Board of GFD for a period of 8 years until December 2022.
As a passionate advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities especially women and girls with disabilities, her elevation as chairperson testifies the works she has done over the overs on the committee and the working groups she has been on.
She continues to inspire all women including women and girls with disabilities in Ghana and Worldwide
The UNCRPD remains an important human rights treaty body that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A continued Ghanaian presence on the Committee will further strengthen Ghana’s efforts on disability inclusion and rights for all people across the world, the GFD added