AGE calls for specific focus on older people with disabilities in EU’s upcoming Disability Rights Strategy


photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

The European Commission is currently preparing its Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030. The strategy aims to ensure that people with disabilities can experience full social and economic inclusion on an equal basis with others and live free from discrimination. It will focus on implementing the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and consolidating the EU legislation in this field. The implementation of the Strategy will include both targeted action and the integration (mainstreaming) of disability rights across all EU policies, programmes and instruments.

AGE has responded to a recent online consultation about the the Roadmap that the Commission has prepared on this initiative. The feedback received by stakeholders will be taken into account to further develop and fine tune the upcoming Disability Rights Strategy. The Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can’t be taken up.

Age and disability: an intersetion that fails to be addressed in practice

In our feedback we welcome the EC roadmap for the post-2020 European Disability Strategy, in particular the reference to the correlation between age and disability. However, we regret that the intersection between old age and disability is not further reflected in the priorities and activities foreseen in the Roadmap. For example, the Roadmap fails to acknowledge that disability is a strong risk factor for abuse among older people, and only refers to the risk of violence faced by women and children with disabilities. This illustrates that, despite the higher prevalence of disability among older persons, the challenges they face are poorly understood and often left unaddressed. Underpinning the exclusion of older persons with disabilities is the problem of insufficient age-disaggregated data on disability.

Against this background, we suggest that the upcoming Disability Strategy should have a stronger focus on older people with disabilities by systematically addressing the intersection of ableism and ageism. As a cross-cutting obligation we believe that more data and evidence on older people with disabilities is urgently needed. Older people’s organisations and older persons with disabilities themselves must have a key role in improving the application of disability rights across the life course.

Mainstreaming rights

As recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, mainstreaming the rights of older people with disabilities into all disability and ageing-related policies and programmes is key to ensure that the concerns and needs of older persons with disabilities are adequately addressed. The renewal of the Disability Strategy for the next decade, 2020-2030, is a unique opportunity to make it concrete.

In our supporting document, we suggest how the EU can address the distinct challenges faced by older people with disabilities in the frame of its 2020-2030 Disability Rights Strategy. Our recommendations aim to ensure the equal treatment, full participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities of all ages focusing on key areas:

  • Equality and non-discrimination
  • Health, care and support
  • Participation
  • Evidence and data collection

For more information, you may contact Nena Georgantzi:

Related news

Skip to content