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Photo taken during the conference

Istanbul, 11 October 2013 /// The international conference on “Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Balkans and Turkey” concluded in Istanbul after a 3-day interactive dialogue and exchange of best practice on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Organised by the European Disability Forum,
People 2 People Programme and UNICEF as a partner, the conference gathered representatives of the European and international disability movement, the European Commission and the UN CRPD Committee.

The conference focused on the practical implementation and ways of monitoring by organisations of persons with disabilities of the UN CRPD in the region. It also reflected on the results and expectations that the changes promoted by the UN CRPD ratification are generating in the population with disabilities. For this, the conference took on a cross disability perspective, but also paid attention to the rights of the most vulnerable such as women with disabilities, children, youth and persons in need of high level of support.

“This is a new beginning for the European disability movement in the region; the UN CRPD is to change societies and this change have to be led by persons with disabilities themselves”, stressed EDF President and IDA Chair, Yannis Vardakastanis.

The conference also shown that discrimination still remains a reality. Apart from accessibility challenges in transport and accommodation, a number of blind participants to the conference were denied to access banking services in Western Union and Finansbank in Istanbul.

EDF regrets for these violations of rights and reminds that in April 2013, the CRPD Committee considered the individual complaint of two blind citizens of Hungary in SN and PT VS Hun and pointed out that the denial of banking services to blind persons constitutes a direct violation of Article 5 of the UN CRPD and should be sanctioned as disability discrimination.


Javier Güemes | EDF Deputy director |

Alba Gonzalez | EDF Development Project trainee |