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Eufémia Amela is Mozambique’s candidate for the UN Disability Committee, which will hold an election for new members at the end of November 2020. She has a physical disability after suffering from polio as a child.

My background

I am the second daughter of eight children. After contracting polio, which resulted in my disability, my parents moved to the country’s capital. There I studied from elementary school to higher education, graduated as a history and geography teacher, graduated in planning, administrative and management education, and worked as a public sector employee and human rights activist (especially for people with disabilities).

During my trip I have [have worked on] Gender issues, including education and HIV / AIDS, as well as experience at national and international events related to issues of disability and gender. I was involved in the creation of disability training manuals for service providers and an article for a book on inclusive education issues in higher education.

My experience with Disability Discrimination

During my life as a disabled person, I have faced various situations of discrimination and hiring barriers. [In 1986] My boss at work refused my internship in Brazil, claiming that I was a person with a disability and couldn’t do it. Another situation was disapproval from my partner’s family who said that I am not an ideal woman because my disability would prevent me from doing housework and taking care of her. I’ve also seen situations where my sexuality has been questioned [and suggestions] that I dare to have children in a situation where I am a person with a disability. It shaped me so much that I decided to do it [children. I now have] Three daughters who are the reason for my life and who give me great pride in fighting for the rights of people with disabilities and especially women with disabilities.

Why it is so important that we have a #EqualUN

It is important to ensure gender balance and equity [on the UN disability committee] to ensure that women have the right to one vote. Women with disabilities face double discrimination (because they are a woman and a person with a disability), and even among people with disabilities, women with disabilities remain discriminated against and have little visibility. The participation of women on the committee can also induce states parties to enact non-discriminatory laws against women with disabilities.

In the committee it is important that there is diversity. While the disabled community has some similarities, it is important that the different types of impairments are represented so that the different sensitivities can be felt, bearing in mind that representation means speaking in the first person. [with our own] Voices – it means nothing to us without us. Another aspect is that disability can be linked to poverty. It is therefore important that people are represented in low-income countries. This can lead States parties to promote measures that aim to provide more resources and investment in the field of disability.

The barriers [I have experienced in trying to] Access to public services made me a steadfast woman with the courage to fight for my rights as one of the pioneers through membership in the associative movement, knowing that one day life must change and that differences will affect us as human beings cannot separate.

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