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Disability rights: EU hypocritical in ratifying the UN Convention whilst imposing austerity

02/12/2016

On the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, GUE/NGL MEPs have highlighted the hypocrisy of the EU in ratifying the UN Convention whilst also imposing austerity measures that deny essential services to people with disabilities.

Disability rights: EU hypocritical in ratifying the UN Convention whilst imposing austerity

The European Union had previously approved the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010 and most of the member states have also ratified it.

Co-Chair of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Disability, Kostadinka Kuneva, comments: "Isn’t it hypocritical that the EU - having ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - is pushing member states under fiscal consolidation programmes to curtail these rights?"

"It is impossible to implement social policies when social expenditure is being systematically reduced. Fundamental rights of people with disabilities are severely affected by the austerity policies imposed by the EU," explains the Greek MEP.

Meanwhile, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer participated in this week's joint meeting between the Presidents of the European institutions and European Parliamentary groups, and the European Disability Forum, which reaffirmed the European Parliament's commitment to implement the UN Convention in a declaration.

Zimmer also comments: "Even before the crisis, people with disabilities were often disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion - a situation that worsened dramatically with austerity measures and cuts to social services and disability benefits in many member states."

"Basic human rights are being systematically violated every single day. We need to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including concrete actions within refugee and migration policies, paying specific attention to the situation of women and girls," she explains.   

Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Disability, Martina Anderson, sums up: "Tomorrow marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. As ever, these occasions should act as a reminder of what we have achieved in the progress of the rights of people with disabilities and also, crucially, what more we have to do. Our brothers and sisters with disabilities still face serious challenges that need to be addressed immediately if we are to create the future we want."

 

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

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