Update on the convention on the right of persons with disabilities (CRPD)
European Union ratifies the CRPD
On 23 December 2010, the European Union ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The EU in a presss release statement said, “Following formal ratification, it is the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty.” It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as a whole. It has also been signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of these. The EU becomes the 97th party to this treaty. The Convention sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities. The EU stated “It reflects the EU's broader commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU by 2020, as set out in the European Commission's disability strategy.”
The European Disability Movement (EDF) welcomed “this landmark victory in human rights”
The EDF in a press release on 5th January 2011 stated, ”This represents a major policy shift toward enforcing human rights obligations and putting disability on top of the human rights agenda. It is the first time in the history of the EU that all Europeans are going to benefit from the protection of an international Human Rights treaty.”
Focus on Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR)
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2010 focused on the tools for action to make the Millennium Development Goals a reality for persons with disabilities, such as CBR and the new Guidance Note on disability for UN Country Teams.
New European Disability Strategy for 2010-2020
The European Commission adopted the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 from 15 November 2010 to break down barriers with a view to tackling inequalities and social exclusion. The overall aim of this Strategy entitled “A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe” is to empower persons with disabilities. This strategy is aimed for people living to disabilities to enjoy their full rights and benefit fully from participating in society, as well as in the European economy, notably through the Single Market. Achieving this and ensuring effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities across the EU calls for consistency. This Strategy identifies actions at the EU level to supplement national initiatives, and it determines the mechanisms needed to implement the CRPD at the EU level, including at EU institutions.