Protecting the rights of people with disabilities
Giving a voice to people with disabilities through petitions.
KL – 04/2021
In March 2021, the EC adopted the new EU
strategy for the Rights of People with Disabilities 2021- 2030 (see 3-2021
report). The petitions procedure at the Petitions committee of the European Parliament
also proved to be an effective tool for protecting the rights of people with
disabilities: there, on March 17, 2021, Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT)
presented a draft resolution about protecting the rights of people with
disabilities through petitions.
Petitions submitted by people with
disabilities or on disability-related topics provide valuable information about
existing gaps that appear when implementing the Convention on the Rights of
People with Disabilities, both at national and EU levels. The Petitions
committee sees it as one of its essential tasks for playing a "protective
role" in ensuring that the EU complies with the Convention on the Rights
of People with Disabilities in its political and legislative actions at EU
The submitted petitions, which concern the
equal treatment of people with disabilities, cover issues such as accessibility
and social protection, mutual recognition of a disability within the member
states, inclusive education and workers' rights. They form the basis of the
report now presented.
The draft resolution also contains a number
of specific demands for implementing the rights of people with disabilities.
Raising awareness of the rights of people with disabilities
One of the aims is to raise awareness of
the problems faced by people with disabilities. It also calls for greater
cooperation and exchange of best practices between member states. It also
provides for continual consultations with organisations for people with
disabilities and their involvement in all actions.
Measures to be taken in member states
Member states are encouraged to protect and
enforce the rights of people with disabilities. As necessary measures, the
report also lists designating contact points for matters related to
implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities,
improving their mobility, implementing accessibility and other steps towards
Request to the Commission
It also calls on the EC to strengthen its
monitoring of the implementing of EU law and to improve it, wherever it is
found to be inadequate for protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
In addition to the initiatives in progress, communication and accessibility
strategies should be developed, with the ECJ as well, to facilitate people with
disabilities accessing justice.