7 June: EESC public hearing on the right to vote

Panel at the hearing

On Wednesday 7 June 2017, a public hearing was organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to look into successful projects and practices on the right to vote for persons with disabilities. The hearing will take place from 14.30 to 17.30 at the EESC JDE building (room JDE 51), at Rue Belliard 99 in Brussels.

The right to political participation, including the right to vote, is one of basic rights of every citizen in the European Union (EU). The opportunity to actively participate in political life and vote lies at the heart of every democratic society. Denying this to people with disabilities constitutes discrimination. ** EDF President, Yannis Vardakastani**s, underlined that the EU is obliged to promote the right to vote for persons with disabilities, having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). It is the responsibility of the EU to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy equal recognition before the law (Article 12) and http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/ConventionRightsPersonsWithDisabilities.aspx#29

“The right to vote is at the heart of European democracy. It has to be ensured for all citizens”, Yannis Vardakastanis said.

These rights are also protected by Articles 21 (non-discrimination), 26 (integration of persons with disabilities), 39 (right to vote and to stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament) and 40 (right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The full participation of persons with disabilities in society is also a core element of the European Disability Strategy.

Yet people with disabilities remain excluded from political participation or have their rights limited by legal and physical barriers.**

In this framework, EESC is working on an information report which aims to investigate how European Parliament election procedures are determined in each EU Member State, taking into account the needs of persons with disabilities and how this affects their right to vote. The EESC cooperate with EDF on this report, which is due to be adopted in December 2017.

The agenda of the public hearing is available here

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