The European Disability Forum endorsed the Charter for Change during the Global Disability Summit, a “first of its kind” event organised by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), along with the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance. We call on all governments to ensure that their strong stance and work on disability in international cooperation is reflected in their own national policies.
The Global Disability Summit, which took place on the 24th July in London, gathered over 700 representatives from Disabled Persons’ Organisations, Civil Society, Governments, and the Private Sector. It aimed to mobilise new global and national commitments on disability, especially in regard to international cooperation and development. It was preceded by the Civil Society Forum, which provided an opportunity to highlight current issues relevant to the global disability movement and work on the realization of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)  .
The Charter for Change, which is the official legacy document of the Summit, enunciates 10 commitments to achieve full inclusion of persons with disabilities. It includes the commitment to make all humanitarian action fully inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities and promote the gathering and used of better data to “address the scale, and nature, of challenges faced by persons with disabilities.”
Nadia Hadad, Board Member of the European Disability Forum stated:
The Charter of Change is an important document. However, it is necessary to recognize that governments have to follow first and foremost the obligations that ratification of the CRPD entails. The Charter of Change cannot be a substitute to the CRPD, but another advocacy platform to catalyse political will and leadership towards its full implementation. No aid money should be spent in investments contrary to the CRPD, such as inaccessible buildings or institutions that segregate persons with disabilities.”
Nadia Hadad added
We call for donors, such as the UK government, to ensure their strong stance and work on disability in international cooperation is reflected into their own national policies. We hope the outcomes of the Global Disability Summit will also provide a strong push at the national level towards full implementation of the CRPD. This push is needed everywhere: not only in low and middle-income countries, but also in OECD countries.”
The UK Government has been criticised by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  in August 2017 for failing to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, including through a string of austerity policies which disproportionately affected persons with disabilities.
Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK declared
The event comes as progress for disabled people in the UK has not just stalled. It has reversed. Last summer’s damning report from the UNCRPD into the status of disabled people in the UK was an indication of the reversal of disabled people’s rights in this country.
Kamran Mallick added:
Our history shows that positive change for disabled people comes when a strong and vibrant disabled people’s movement campaigns effectively for justice. We know from experience that such change does not come from spontaneous innovation by ministers. We need development that does not leave any disabled people – or anyone else – behind. We hope the summit will strengthen the ability of civic society in all the participating countries to hold their governments to account against the pledges they make.
Notes to editors
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international treaty intended to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms . States parties to the convention are requited to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. It has been ratified by 177 State Parties, so far.
- The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by the States Parties. The Committee reviewed the United Kingdom in 2017, which resulted in Concluding Observations which were widely reported.
The European Disability Forum is an independent NGO that defends the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities. EDF is a unique platform which brings together representative organisations of persons with disabilities from across Europe. It is run by persons with disabilities and their families. EDF is a strong, united voice of persons with disabilities in Europe.
Disability Rights UK is a national charity formed in 2012 through the merger of Radar, Disability Alliance and the National Centre for Independent Living. 85% of our trustees have lived experience of disability, as do the majority of our staff and volunteers. Our charitable objectives include breaking the link between disability and poverty and enabling disabled people to achieve independence and control over our own lives.
DR UK offers a range of information, advice and support to disabled people and member organisations. All our resources are designed by and for disabled people. We are known for our benefits work and each year we distribute 15,000 copies of our Disability Rights Handbook to advisers and disability organisations. Our website reaches 1.5 million people each year and we have over 10,000 deeper contacts with individuals through events and advice services. We also have nearly 40,000 twitter followers and extensive engagement through Facebook.
Global Disability Summit website
Charter for Change
CRPD Concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland