Historical day for persons with disabilities in Europe as Ireland ratifies CRPD

8 March 2018
People in the streets supporting the UNCRPD ratification protest

EDF celebrates the ratification by Ireland of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as this marks a historical moment for persons with disabilities and their families in Ireland and Europe.

Ireland signed the CRPD in March 2007, and waited more than 10 years to ratify. The Dáil (House of Parliament) approved yesterday evening a resolution that enables Ireland to ratify the CRPD. The approval of the resolution by the Dáil will be followed by the depositing of the instrument of ratification with the United Nations. The CRPD then enters into force 30 days after being deposited.

Ireland is the last one of the 28 European Union Member States to ratify this international human rights treaty. The EU and all its 28 EU Member States are now bound to the CRPD by international law, which means that they are committed to jointly uphold and protect the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the CRPD. Also the reservation on article 27, which allows for discriminating persons with disabilities in the recruitment to any of the State’s policing, defence or emergency services, is unfortunate. Whereas we do understand that certain bodies of the law enforcement, defence or emergency services require for special competences and skills, there are a number of other posts that can be filled by people with disabilities and they should not be excluded from recruitment.

The EU and its Member States should translate this European wide commitment to the CRPD in ensuring that:

  • All EU legislation, policies and practices incorporate the CRPD;
  • a CRPD comprehensive European Disability Strategy 2020-2030, with 2021 as the European Year of Persons with Disabilities is adopted;
  • a strong and ambitious European Accessibility Act that will make a real difference in the lives of all persons with disabilities in Europe is adopted.

Ireland has however entered several reservations and declarations on articles 12, 14 and 27 of the CRPD. In particular, the reservations and declarations to article 12 and 14 CRPD are worrying as they are at the core of the CRPD, and without their realization, persons with disabilities cannot fully enjoy all their human rights enshrined in the CRPD. The EU, UK, Malta, Poland, Estonia, France, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway also made reservations and restrictive declarations upon ratifying the CRPD. EDF calls upon all these European countries to withdraw their reservations and restrictive declarations as they are incompatible with the object and purpose of the CRPD.

For more information, see press release of our Irish member, Disability Federation Ireland and Irish government.

For more information on the state of play of the CRPD in Europe, and the reservations and declarations made, please visit EDF 2016 European Human Rights Report.

Correction to our web article of 8th March 2018, at the request of the Belgian Disability Forum: "Belgium has never made any reservations regarding the implementation of the UN CRPD. Taking into account that Belgium is a federal state, it has at the time of signature, made a strong statement by which it clearly stated to engage all the Governments of Belgium. Further information can be obtained from the UN website: https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-15&chapter=4&clang=_en#EndDec."


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