In 2016, EDF launched a series of European Human Rights Reports which will be published on a yearly basis. Each of the annual issues will be dedicated to a different theme of great importance for people with disabilities in Europe.
Our first issue was published in December 2016 to mark the 10 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The report gives an overview of the state of play on the CRPD in Europe.
A second issue is being prepared focusing on the implementation by the EU of the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Developments Goals, and EU’s international cooperation policy. This 2017 report will be finalised soon.
- The European Human Rights Report in accessible PDF format
- The Easy To Read version of the report
Organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) have also the opportunity to participate in the reporting process. At the same time that state parties’ prepare their report to the UN Committee, DPOs can also prepare an alternative report presenting the situation of persons with disabilities and covering gaps of the state parties’ report.
EDF Alternative Report comes to give the view of 80 million Europeans with disabilities on the enjoyment of their political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. The report is the result of a collective work with EDF’s members, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. Giving a clear view on the situation of persons with disabilities all over Europe would not have been possible without their contribution and expertise. The purpose of EDF’s Alternative Report is to inform the UN Committee about how the UN CRPD has been implemented by the European Union and its institutions, agencies and bodies. The report based its analysis on the gaps in the EU Report on the Implementation of the UN CRPD that the EU submitted to the UN Committee on 5 June 2014 and seeks to complement it where relevant with information received by EDF members and other stakeholders.
EDF AND MEMBERS’ INVOLVEMENT IN THE EU REVIEW
The EU review process in Geneva was a core part of EDFs advocacy work, together with all of our members, throughout 2015. It involved a range of partners, a high level of coordination within EDF, and a range of publications and events.
In addition to the EDF report, the Committee received a range of civil society alternative reports, including from EDF members, who have expertise and mandates to work on specific topics. In order to make the EU review smoother, for the committee to understand main issues and priorities EDF coordinated closely with all our members’ organisations which presented alternative reports.
EDF has also prepared a submission for the List of Issues which was adopted by the EDF Executive Committee. This was sent along with EDF alternative report to the CRPD Committee.
The Committee issued its list of issues to the EU and EDF, then analyzed this, consulted with our members, including during our May General Assembly, developed an EDF response to the List of Issues. This was submitted to the CRPD committee, and also presented in a second briefing for the committee which took place on August 27th in Geneva.
The Constructive dialogue between UN Committee and the EU took place on August 27th and 28th to which EDF also took part together with members. EDF also took this opportunity to meet with the Commission services, led by Mr. Michel Servoz, to directly discuss all of EDFs concerns, which were presented to the Committee during the briefing.
EDF secretariat organized a series of coordination meeting with its European members to discuss the ways we will work together to promote the recommendations of our alternative report during the reporting / review process. All of the Committee briefings were done jointly with our members who also submitted alternative reports, in collaboration with the International Disability Alliance.
Countries that have ratified the CRPD have to submit an initial report on the implementation of the CRPD in their country to the UN Committee two years after the entry into force of the Convention. During a first session of the UN Committee, it will have a first internal discussion on the state report and it will prepare a list of questions to send to the state party for issues that require further clarification.
This list is called “list of issues”. After that, the state party will have to respond to this list of issues. In next session of the UN Committee, it will meet the state party and will thoroughly discuss the report and the answers on the list of issues. This is called “constructive dialogue”. As a result, the UN Committee will give its view on how efficiently the state party has implemented the Convention and will make recommendations for improvement. These are called “concluding observations”.
The EU has prepared and submitted its initial report to the UN Committee in June 2014. In 2015, the UN Committee will review the report and the work the EU has done for its citizens with disabilities.
In April 2015, the UN Committee will have a first internal discussion on the EU report and they will prepare a list of questions to send to the EU for issues that require further clarification. This list is called “list of issues”. After that, the EU will have to respond to this list of issues. In August 2015, the UN Committee will meet the EU and will thoroughly discuss the report and the answers on the list of issues. This is called “constructive dialogue”. As a result, the UN Committee will give its view on how efficiently the EU has implemented the Convention and will make recommendations for improvement. These are called “concluding observations”.
The next report of the EU to the UN CRPD Committee is expected in January 2021. However, the Committee requested the EU to submit within 12 months of the adoption of the CO information in writing on three urgent matters. The EU has to explain what measures it has taken to implement the Committee’s recommendations set out in paragraphs 17, 29 and 77, regarding the declaration of competence, the European Accessibility Act and the monitoring mechanism.
At the international level, the respect of the Convention rights is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is a body of eighteen independent experts who have been nominated by the countries that have ratified the Convention. The Committee members are elected for the period of either two or four years and serve on the Committee in their individual capacity.
The principal task of the UN CRPD Committee is the review of the progress in implementation of the Convention. States Parties are obliged to submit to the Committee an initial report on measures taken to implement the Convention two years after the entry into force of the Convention. Thereafter, periodic reports must be submitted every four years. On the basis of the State reports, complemented with information from other sources, including the organizations of disabled people, the Committee assesses the country’s progress and issues concluding observations to the State Party.
As of November 2017, 23 European countries have been reviewed by the CRPD Committee – Spain, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, Cyprus, Montenegro, Latvia, Luxembourg, UK, Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina (the latter four’s review will finish in 2018). The European Union was reviewed in 2015. In 2018, Malta, Poland and FYROM will be reviewed. Spain and Hungary will have their constructive dialogue for the second time in August 2018. The remaining European countries pending for review by the UN CRPD Committee are, in the order submission of their reports are Estonia, Greece, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland and France.
The reports of States Parties and the alternative reports of the civil society organisations, along with the schedule of their review by the CRPD Committee are available on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.