The European Commission launched its Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-30 which looks to ensure their full participation in society building upon the 2010-20 Disability Strategy, the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The strategy underlines that equality and non-discrimination are established cornerstones of EU policies and persons with disabilities have the right to take part in all aspects of life just as everyone else can. The strategy also acknowledges that despite the advances made in access to healthcare, education, employment, recreation and political life there remain obstacles and it is time for efforts to be scaled up further.
Building upon the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Action Plan adopted by the Commission which looks to strategically support the EU-wide implementation of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, (UNCRPD) the Strategy accompanies the Union’s LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-25, EU Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-25 and Gender Equality Strategy 2020-25.
The previous European Disability Strategy 2010-20 set the framework to support EU Member States’ actions to implement UNCRPD and led to directives such as the European Accessibility Act: requiring high accessibility standards for electronic and communication devices, EU Passenger Rights: ensuring access to road, sea and rail links and global cooperation on the promotion of disability rights and inclusion.
Key themes of the 2021-2030 strategy
- Creation of an EU Disability Card to facilitate mutual recognition of disability status between member states helping disabled people to enjoy their right of free movement.
- Collaboration between the Commission and member states to ensure participation in the electoral process.
Independent living and autonomy
- Persons with disabilities have the right to live independently and choose where/whom they want to live.
- Commission will develop guidance to improve social services for persons with disabilities.
Non-discrimination and equal opportunities
- Strategy aims to protect persons with disability from discrimination and violence.
- Looks to ensure equal access to justice, education, culture, sport and tourism alongside all health services and employment.
The Commission has set out that the strategy will require strong commitment and cooperation from all member states to fulfil the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The establishment of the Disability Platform will bring together national authorities and disability organisations to cooperate and exchange ideas on the implementation of the Convention. The Commission will work to integrate disability matters into all EU policies and major initiatives while promoting disability rights at a global level while using the available technical assistance and financial programmes to work in a multilateral approach to support partner countries.
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