Zagreb, 18 May 2014 | The European conference on ‘Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in practice’ brought together more than 200 individuals from the disability movement all around Europe, the Croatian authorities, as well as representatives of European organisations and the Commission. Organised by EDF in cooperation with its Croatian members, SOIH, in the frame of EDF’s Annual General Assembly, the European conference opened a dialogue between national and European organisations of persons with disabilities concerning their view on the upcoming EU report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The different sessions of the conference
focused on the right to work with
examples of legislative and social protection
reforms to ensure equal access to the labour market
for persons with disabilities, as well as on the involvement of women and men with disabilities including children and their representative
organisations in the implementation of the Convention. In these terms, the
disability movement adopted a resolution
on the future of financial sustainability of civil participation on the
movement of persons with disabilities in Europe.
The president of the Croatian union of persons with disabilities (SOIH), Zorislav Bobus, described the conference as the first large European conference since the accession of Croatia to the EU, while he also called on the high level government representatives for the support and promotion of the key priorities of EDF manifesto on the EU elections 2014 and on the resolution on the participation of persons with disabilities in decisions concerning their lives, through securing public funding support.
The Vice President of the Zagreb City Assembly, Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic, talked about the efforts made to protect the rights of persons with disabilities despite the crisis: “Persons with disabilities need support to fulfil their full potentials and play an active role in society”.
EDF Vice President, Donata Vivanti, welcomed the Croatian organisation as an EDF member underlining the importance of working together with the aim to improve the lives of persons with disabilities: “Cooperation between disabled people’s organisations and decision makers is very important for a real change in the lives of persons with disabilities. All persons with disabilities should unite to speak with one voice to shape the policies. Concrete actions are needed to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)”.
Vesna Skulic , Commissioner to the President of the Republic for Persons with Disabilities, underlined the important role of women with disabilities in society: “Women with disabilities have an important role to play and should emphasize their place in society and politics. Equality on paper is not enough; it has to be equality in real life”.
In her opening speech, the Vice President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and Minister of Social Policy and Youth, Milanka Opacic, said: "As an initiative of the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, in collaboration with the Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities and civil society organisations, the new law on the registration of voters passed in 2012 and enabled persons deprived of their legal capacity to exercise their right to vote .This is one step forward to achieve our final goal: full inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities in society”.The minister of Labour and Pension System, Mirando Misic, presented the situation on employment of persons with disabilities in Croatia as well as the new legislation on access to employment for persons with disabilities stressing that: “Unemployment leads not only to poverty, but also to social exclusion and this problem is very serious for persons with disabilities. There is a lack of awareness among employers, but also a lack of confidence from the side of employees with disabilities”.