In 2014 the European Union has submitted its first report to the United Nations (UN) on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which is currently under consideration by the competent UN Committee.
Among the obligations that the EU has undertaken through the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, is to undergo a review of its implementation of the convention by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee). All States parties that have ratified the convention are required to submit this kind of report within two years of ratification and thereafter every four years.
This ongoing review examines the work that the EU has done so far to implement the convention. To decide what the EU could do differently in the application of the Convention, the CRPD Committee is also considering reports written by NGOs that work with the rights of persons with disabilities. AGE Platform Europe contributed to the alternative report developed by the European Disability Forum (EDF) giving the view of Europeans with disabilities on what the EU should do to allow them to fully enjoy their human rights. This report focuses only on areas of EU competence, bearing in mind that many aspects related to the rights of this group relate to action to be taken by Member States. The view of older people with disabilities in this process is particularly important; the Commission has repeatedly recognised the correlation of old age and disability, since the majority of older people acquire age-related disabilities and functional limitations, and the fact that the CRPD should equally apply to people with disabilities of all ages.
On 2nd April 2015 in Geneva, EDF met with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and presented its alternative report whilst raising concerns about the EU’s implementation of the convention. The concerns included the need of freedom of movement by persons with disabilities, the fact that there is no EU campaign that raises awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities and, that women and children with disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination in the world today.
Then, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sent a list of issues to the EU, requesting further information on the EU’s implementation of the convention. Some of these issues are particularly relevant to the rights of older people including requests to indicate when the EU will adopt the European Accessibility Act, to provide information on what monitoring mechanisms are being used to help ensure the implementation of different parts of the convention like the sections on public transport, accessibility of goods and services and information and communication.
The European Union will have to reply to the Committee’s list of issues and after an exchange of views during the Committee’s session this August; the Committee will present and adopt its concluding observations, which will address its concerns and recommendations to the European Union.
For more information, you may contact, Nena Georgantzi, email@example.com