Activists say more women needed on UN disability committee

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A deaf sign language user has been elected to a key United Nations committee for the first time, but activists say they are troubled that new elections left the committee with only a single female member.

Activists on Wednesday praised the election of Valery Rukhledev, a deaf sign language user from Russia, to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but they said the new elections leave only one woman among 18 members of the committee, down from six previously.

Advocates also praised the election of Robert Martin, a person with intellectual disabilities from New Zealand.

Priscille Gieser, chairwoman of the International Disability and Development Consortium, said women with disabilities need to be better represented because they face double discrimination.

A U.N. conference on disabilities continues through Thursday.