Ending the segregation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and enabling them to live full, independent lives within the community requires political will and substantial investment in social and community-based services. Above all, huge support is needed for their families who – forgotten by public policies - carry too great a burden on their own
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hails the new EU Disability Rights Strategy as a step forward in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Strategy has taken on board many of the suggestions proposed by the EESC, the European disability movement and civil society. The proposals include full harmonisation of the new agenda and strengthened EU-level supervision of its application. The EESC is, however, concerned about the watering down of the binding measures and hard law implementing the Strategy.
Rooted in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was the first international treaty to take a human rights approach to disability, the EU Disability Strategy for the next decade is a promising document with many commendable proposals and only a few flaws. But for the strategy to be able to live up to its promise of ending discrimination against 87 million European with disabilities, its implementation will require a strong political will and resources.
Faced with many barriers and less able to maintain social and physical distance, persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and falling severely ill as a result of the disease. However, in the EU they have not been explicitly included in priority groups for vaccination
Top proposals include full harmonisation of the new agenda with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and strengthened EU-level supervision of its application so as to ensure freedom from discrimination for people with disabilities and their acceptance as part of human diversity and humanity throughout the EU.
Now we have a golden opportunity to align the EU's next disability strategy with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
On 21 October, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a public hearing to gather input from grassroots organisations for its opinion on the EU's next ten-year strategy for disability rights and to draw the lessons from the agenda due to expire in 2020.
An EESC hearing points to the need to embrace a human rights-based approach to disability in news and entertainment programmes, to build a more inclusive society that sees the person, and not the disability
An EESC hearing has revealed that almost a million EU citizens may be deprived of their right to vote in the upcoming European elections as a result of their disability, and many more may face obstacles when casting their ballots.
The EESC hearing on the new MFF and cohesion policy seen from the disability perspective shows the EC proposal could still be improved
The European Commission's proposals for new rules governing the funds that underpin EU cohesion policy fail to list equality and accessibility for persons with disabilities among mandatory eligibility criteria for funding. This poses a risk that public money may be used to finance infrastructure or services that will only increase their discrimination, an EESC hearing revealed.
The Diversity Europe Group recently organised a structured brainstorming session aiming at encouraging its Members to think out of the box and to come up with ideas to feed into proposals for the Sibiu Summit on the Future of Europe. This session kick-started our Group's contribution to the EESC Roadmap 'From Cracow to Sibiu and beyond'.