Another Europe is possible

EU must lead with strong implementation of rights for people with disabilities



Pledging the full support of the GUE/NGL group at the 3rd European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said the complete implementation of the UN disability rights convention still requires concrete measures with an emphasis on human rights, integration, and the active involvement of people with disabilities in shaping decisions.

Today's event aims to foster dialogue between national organisations of persons with disabilities and EU decision makers on the implementation of rights of persons with disabilities in the context of the crisis. Debate is focusing on strategies for a way out of the crisis, freedom of movement, and citizenship rights in view of the preparation of a European Accessibility Act.

"I look forward to strong legislation that incorporates provisions for the accessible design of public spaces and a rethink of education policy to highlight integration into mainstream schools. Those living in poverty are often doubly discriminated against so account must be taken of those suffering the worst affects of austerity to ensure they are not denied access to public services and have self-determination over their lives. In relation to this, we must also ensure that we think beyond EU borders to people with disabilities in developing countries and the gender aspect, particularly when it comes to labour market discrimination and violence against women and girls with disabilities."

Portuguese MEP Ines Zuber: "The organizations defending the rights of people with disabilities from various countries were unanimous in the conclusion that austerity policies mean significant delays in consolidating the rights of the disabled through the continued cuts in social benefits and the pensions of those who suffered work-related injuries, reduced investment in special education among others. For us, it is clear that people with disabilities are being doubly penalized as calls for fiscal consolidation and wage cuts have an even more significant impact on access to the labour market for people with disabilities. These measures, supported and promoted by the European Union, set back the rights established in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the EU."

The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities was adopted in 2006 by the UN. It covers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and is the first international human rights treaty to which the EU is party. In 2013 the EU will present its first report on implementation that will be examined by the UN Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities which will issue public recommendations.

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