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.
- 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.
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.