The recent visit in the EU of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities offered us the opportunity to shed light on multiple discrimination facing older people with disabilities.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gérard Quinn, came on a visit to the European Union end of March. The main purpose of this visit was to assess how disability rights are being addressed in the European Union and what are the measures taken to implement accessibility legislation, both at the EU and national level.
During his visit, the Special Rapporteur met with high-level representatives and experts from the EU institutions, independent human rights bodies, people with disabilities and their representative organisations.
Mr Quinn welcomed the wide-ranging set of laws and policies that the EU has put in place, covering, among other things, accessibility, protection from discrimination in employment, and draft legislation on harnessing new technology and Artificial Intelligence and avoiding discriminatory impacts. He also hailed the recently adopted EU disability strategy as part of its ‘Union for Equality’ action plan.
While the UN Rapporteur praised EU’s extensive funding instruments, he also expressed concern that some of these funding initiatives are used to fund institutions for people with disabilities. “Segregation of people with disabilities in the form of institutionalisation is a form of direct discrimination,” added Mr Quinn.
AGE Platform Europe was invited to a bilateral meeting in which we raised the issues facing older persons with disabilities, in particular with regard to access to care. We also highlighted the need to build bridges between the EU Disability Rights Strategy and the Green Paper on Ageing (read our article) and to ensure an equal application of the disability framework across the life course, including by addressing how ageism intersects with ableism.
The Special Rapporteur will submit in March 2023 a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council, including the main findings and recommendations from his visit.
You will find here all the documents related to the country visits of the Special Rapporteur, including the preliminary findings.