Tag Archives: EU

A Strong Basis for future EU External Action

CBM supported the process of the EU review on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). CBM, as member of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), organised two side events and we submitted inputs and replies to the EU initial report on the implementation of the UN CRPD. Through this, CBM achieved that Committee Members of the UN CRPD included recommendations on Article 11 (Situations of risk and Humanitarian emergencies) and Article 32 (International Cooperation) in the Concluding Observations.

Michel Servoz Director General of DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the EC

Michel Servoz Director General of
DG for Employment,
Social Affairs and Inclusion of the EC

  • Article 11

The Committee is concerned about the lack of inclusion of persons with disabilities in all European Union policies and guidelines on humanitarian aid as well as the lack of mechanisms to share knowledge and good practices in line with the Convention between different European Union institutions and between European Union Member States.

The Committee recommends that the European Union: (a) Adopt an implementation plan, in line with the Council Conclusions of February 2015 and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030; (b) Establish a mechanism to build capacity and share good practice between different European Union institutions and between the European Union and its Member States on disability-inclusive and accessible humanitarian aid; (c) Establish a monitoring and accountability framework for the implementation of European Union policies and programmes including the collection of disaggregated data on sex, disability and age.

The Committee notes with deep concern the precarious situation of persons with disabilities in the current migrant crisis in the European Union. It is furthermore concerned that refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers with disabilities continue to be detained within the European Union in conditions which do not provide appropriate support and reasonable accommodations. The migration decision-making procedure is not accessible for all persons with disabilities and information and communication is not provided in accessible formats.

The Committee recommends that the European Union mainstream disability in its migration and refugee policies. In addition, the Committee recommends that the European Union issue guidelines to its agencies and Member States that restrictive detention of persons with disabilities for migration and asylum seeking purposes is not aligned to the Convention.

  • Article 32

The Committee notes with concern the lack of a systematic and institutionalized approach to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities across all European Union international cooperation policies and programmes. The Committee also notes the lack of coordination and coherence amongst the European Union institutions, as well as the lack of disability focal points. It is also concerned that European Union international development funding is utilized to create or renovate institutional settings for the placement of persons with disabilities, segregated special education schools and sheltered workshops, contrary to the principles and provisions of the Convention.

The Committee recommends that the European Union adopt a harmonised policy on disability-inclusive development and establish a systematic approach to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in all European Union international cooperation policies and programmes, to appoint disability focal points in related institutions, and take the lead in the implementation of disability-inclusive ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. The Committee further recommends that the European Union identify and put in place mechanisms to disaggregate data on disability to monitor the rights of persons with disabilities in European Union development programmes. The Committee recommends that the European Union interrupt any international development funding that is being used to perpetuate the segregation of persons with disabilities, and reallocate such funding towards projects and initiatives that aim at compliance with the Convention.

IDDC delegation during EU review on the implementation of the UN CRPD

IDDC delegation during a side event on 26 August in Geneva

The way forward

On 10 September, CBM attended the conference on “The implementation of the UN CRPD by the EU: The way forward – Assessing the impact of the UN CRPD Concluding Observations”.

In this conference, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, as well as other Civil Society Organisations, welcomed the strong language of the Concluding Observations. This will represent a support for both the EU and CSOs in order to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.

From CBM, we want to express our gratitude to the UN CRPD Committee Members to encourage the EU to lead on a disability-inclusive approach for the implementation of the Sendai framework on Disaster Risk Reduction as well as the coming Sustainable Development Goals. CBM will follow up on these recommendations, ensuring a comprehensive and coherent implementation in which persons with disabilities will be included in the society as decision-makers.

The EU Constructive Dialogue on the implementation of the CRPD

The 14th session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) started on 17 August and will end on 4 September. This week, and following the schedule detailed by Diane Kingston previously, the Constructive Dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the Committee Members of the UN CRPD took place.

A delegation of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), of which I had the pleasure to be part, was there in order to follow up the activities that IDDC started once the EU launched its initial report on the implementation of the UN CRPD. On Wednesday 26, IDDC organised a side event on “Persons with disabilities in EU External Action: from policy to practice”. The aim of this event was to provide further information on the EU implementation of Article 11 (Humanitarian Aid) and Article 32 (International Cooperation) of the UN CRPD.

Priscille Geiser, chair of IDDC, presented the main results of the IDDC response to the EU List of Issues. She highlighted the lack of participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the EU decision making, as well as the lack of mainstreaming disabilities in EU development policies and programmes.

Hellen Grace Asamo, Member of the Parliament of Uganda, shared with Committee Members her experience with EU Delegations. Lack of accessibility and participation for persons with disabilities were some of the obstacles raised by Mrs. Asamo. She also mentioned the lack of knowledge of EU Staff on CRPD principles and how to make those principles a reality for persons with disabilities in developing countries. I want to take advantage of this post to thank Mrs. Asamo for her availability and her strong commitment to IDDC, her powerful speech was appreciated by Committee Members, but also by IDDC delegation.

Catherine Naughton, director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), supported the IDDC side event. She offered her expertise on EU International Cooperation by providing information on EU competencies. The EU is the first regional body on signing and ratifying the UN CRPD. The competencies between the EU and its Member States are complex regarding the implementation of several articles of the UN CRPD. However, and as Catherine raised during the IDDC side event, the EU has its own competences on Article 11 and 32.

After these presentations, Committee Members raised their questions, mostly focused on knowing IDDC priorities, concrete information of participation of DPOs in the EU Delegations and the IDDC knowledge on quality monitoring system of EU development policies and programmes.

IDDC also participated in the side event of EDF, which took place on 27 August. The aim of this side event was to offer information to Committee Members before the Constructive Dialogue, in such a way that Committee Member would have all the needed information to asking EU Delegation about the main obstacles on the implementation of the CRPD.

The Constructive Dialogue started on 27 and finished today. Committee Members raised several questions to the EU Delegation on Article 11 and 32. Most of them were related to the EU leadership on the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the coming framework on Sustainable Development Goals. There was also a concern about the participation of persons with disabilities and their representatives organisations in EU Delegations.

I would like to thank to Committee Members of the UN CRPD for the work they have done on the EU review on the implementation of the CRPD, and especially for supporting the advocacy work of IDDC regarding Humanitarian Aid and International Cooperation. The EU is the largest donor on Official Development Assistance, and the proper implementation of the CRPD by the EU will benefit persons with disabilities around the world. We are looking forward to having the Concluding Observations, and to working for equal opportunities for all people wherever they live.

Getting ready for the last step on the EU review of the implementation of the CRPD

The European Union (EU) signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2011. As a State Party, the EU published its initial report on the implementation of the CRPD in June 2014. After this initial report, Committee Members published a List of Issues by which further information on specific articles was asked, and the EU replied to this List of Issues in June 2015. The last step of this review will end in September, with the adoption of the Concluding Observations that will encourage the further implementation of the CRPD by the European Union.

Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations are encouraged to participate in the review process by submitting supportive documentation and by participating in the CRPD sessions through side events. CBM, as member of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), was involved in the process of the EU review. CBM has also supported the work of the European Disability Forum (EDF) as the umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities in the European Union.

Why it is important to follow this review?

The EU is the first regional body on signing and ratifying the UN CRPD. In addition, it is the largest donor on International Cooperation and one of the most influential stakeholders at International fora. By supporting a disability-inclusive Development Cooperation, the EU can promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society all around the world.

What did we do so far?

What are the next steps?

The 14th session of the UN CRPD will take place from 17th August to 4th September. On 26th August, CBM as member of IDDC, will organise a side event in which Priscille Geiser (Chair of IDDC) and Hellen Grace Asamo (Member of the Parliament of Uganda) will participate. This event will also count on the participation and support of EDF. In addition, CBM will also participate in the side event organised by EDF on 27th August.

CBM will advocate for the inclusion of Article 11 and Article 32 in the Concluding Observations. This will strengthen the EU advocacy work in the future years, and will promote a disability-inclusive approach to EU External Actions.

First step on the EU review of the implementation of the UN CRPD

On 25th March, the 13th Session of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) started in Geneva, taking place until 17th April. During this Session, the Committee has started the review of the EU report on the implementation of the UN CRPD, published in June 2014. As first step, the Committee will adopt a List of Issues by which the EU will provide further information of the report, highlighting at the same time the main areas in which the Committee is more concerned.

CBM, as active member of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), was there from 31st March to 2nd April with the purpose of advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies as well as in International Cooperation.

This review has an added value considering that the EU is the first regional body on signing and ratifying a human rights treaty body, in addition to its influential role in International fora as the largest donor in International Cooperation. Due to this reasons, IDDC organised a side event, with the collaboration and support of the European Disability Forum (EDF), focused on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the EU external actions. I had the pleasure to represent the IDDC EU Task Group (TG) as one of the co-chairs; Ulriche NLast from Handicap International and member of the IDDC EU TG, gave an overview of the implementation of the EU on Article 11; and finally Yannis Yallouros, member of the Executive Committee of EDF and Catherine Naughton as EDF Director, demonstrated their support and expertise on this field as the umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities in the EU.

Ulriche NLand during IDDC side event in Geneva

CBM

 

The main messages of this event were:

  • The need of a legal framework for disability-inclusive policies and frameworks towards EU external actions
  • The lack of mechanisms which monitor both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of EU policies in the life of persons with disabilities
  • The establishment of the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations from the design until the implementation and monitoring of EU policies

IDDC would like to thank the Members of the Committee for the great participation of this side event, as well as for the intense and fruitful discussion after the several presentations, in which monitoring systems or the support of the EU for an inclusive Post-2015 framework were some of the main topics.

This discussion was the basis for IDDC to provide more concrete information to the Members of the Committee during the side event organised by EDF on 2nd of April, in which IDDC participated as well as several members of EDF, i.e., Inclusion Europe (IE), International Fedeation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF) or the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL). This side event meant the opportunity to present the EDF shadow report and to raise the voice of persons with disabilities in different fields that need to be strengthening by the EU.

The EU has a leadership role and a responsibility for a further implementation of the UN CRPD. Civil Society and organisations of persons with disabilities were together in Geneva with the aim to ask for the adoption of financial instruments and policies frameworks that respect the principles and values of the CRPD. We also ask for the establishment of quality monitoring system and the provision of accessible information for all persons with different disabilities.

CBM is looking forward to working on the List of Issues, which will be published in the coming weeks. We will also support the work of the UN CRPD Committee as well as the EU for a stronger inclusion of persons with disabilities in developing countries.