EDF welcomes the appointment by the UN of leading Disability Rights expert

7 October 2020

Today the Human Rights Council of the United Nations appointed Professor Gerard Quinn as the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

EDF has followed the selection process of the new UN Special Rapporteur on disability and warmly welcomes the nomination of Professor G. Quinn for this important role. Gerard Quinn is Professor Emeritus in law at the National University of Ireland (Galway). He holds degrees in political science (B.A.) and law (LL.B.) from the National University, is a qualified barrister-at-law (B.L., Kings’ Inns) and a graduate of Harvard Law School (LL.M., S.J.D.).

Professor Quinn has already made huge contributions to the disability rights agenda in Europe and globally. The European Institutions and its agencies, such as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights agencies rely on him for his in-depth knowledge of the CRPD and how it relates to international relations. He not only addresses the rights of persons with disabilities but also issues of intersectionality, on important issues such as aging. EDF particularly applauds his close cooperation with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations throughout its work.

“We must warmly congratulate the Human Rights Council on this excellent appointment” says EDF President, Yanis Vardakastanis. "1 billion persons with disabilities are still denied their rights, and fundamental freedoms. We are excluded, segregated, and kept in poverty based on societies barriers and outdated laws. Through the Un Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, we have the legal framework to transform our societies to be inclusive and equal- but to make this a reality we need constant work- progressive policies, and targeted measures. Through the appointment of Professor Quinn, we welcome an excellent successor to the outgoing Rapporteur, Catalina Devandes who already laid a great foundation of work.” - he adds. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is mandated to strengthen efforts to recognise, promote, implement and monitor the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide. Activities includes conducting country visits, publishing reports and concrete recommendations on how to better protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Find more information on the mandate here.

The first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas, was appointed in 2014. She produced recommendations on social protection, civic participation, support services, inclusive policies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sexual and reproductive rights, legal capacity and other areas that are essential for a public policy framework that is inclusive of persons with disabilities. She conducted a number of country visits including in France, Norway and Moldova. EDF thanks former Special Rapporteur, Catalina Devandas, for her important contribution to the disability movement.

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