Time for a new disability rights agenda for Europe

14 September 2016
Participants of the hearing 2

The EU was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the work it has done to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, in August 2015. Then the UN Committee issued very important recommendations that the EU has to follow before its next review in 2021 and three urgent recommendations which the EU had to report progress within a year.

How has the EU progressed on putting the UN’s recommendations into practice so far?

EDF and the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised today a Public Hearing to gather the views from organisations of persons with disabilities, civil society, equality bodies, and EU institutions. Representatives from UN agencies, as well as t he European Parliament, the European Ombudsman and the Fundamental Rights Agency, as members of the EU Monitoring Framework, also took part.

The discussion focused on the UN recommendations to the EU and especially on the 3 urgent recommendations to which the EU had to respond within a year. These recommendations concern:

The completion and update of the EU Declaration of Competences and the list of instruments that are related to the rights of persons with disabilities;
The adoption of the European Accessibility Act in line with the CRPD. The European Commission has issued the Proposal of the Act, which is now discussed at the European Parliament and the EU Council;
Ensuring the necessary resources of the EU Monitoring Framework so that it can deliver the tasks of promoting, protecting and monitoring the CRPD. The UN Committee had also requested for the removal of the European Commission from the Framework as to ensure its independence. Following this recommendation, the European Commission withdrew itself from the Framework.

Organisations of persons with disabilities and other civil society organisations and equality bodies expressed their views on how the UN recommendations need to be implemented by the EU so that the needs of all persons with disabilities are taken on board.

Find more about the discussions of the hearing on @MyEDF twitter using the hashtag: #eescedfhearing

EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, stated that now is the time for a new strategy for the implementation of the CRPD in Europe: "10 years have passed since the CRPD was ratified by the EU and a year since the EU was reviewed for the first time by the UN and received very important human rights recommendations. We need to examine the positive and negative ways in which the EU has dealt with the CRPD over the past years and look at the implementation of the CRPD in a holistic manner. Civil society organisations and organisations of persons with disabilities have to come up with a proposal for a new strategy when it comes to the implementation of the CRPD in Europe. We lack coordination among EU institutions. Let’s have an inter-institutional agreement for the implementation of the CRPD and its inclusion in all EU policies and programmes. This should happen in a coordinated way and by having a structured dialogue and systematic involvement of representative organisations of persons with disabilities.”

Emmanuelle Grange and Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero of the Disability and Inclusion Unit of the European Commission mentioned that the EU is preparing its progress report which will be submitted to the UN Committee by the end of this year offering information on the progress on the 3 urgent recommendations. Remember UN’s recommendations to the EU here

EDF will also give an update to the CRPD Committee on the 3 urgent matters and include the issues that were brought up by the civil society organisations during the hearing. In the coming months, we will work together with our members in order to develop a new disability agenda for Europe.

Photos of the hearing are available on EDF's facebook page

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