On 8th June 2023, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency published its Report for 2023 with a focus on the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, rising child poverty, and protecting rights in the face of technological change amongst other human rights issues. Section 10 of the report specifically focuses on and addresses developments in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It provides a comprehensive overview of all key policy and legislative developments in the EU with regards to persons with disabilities.
This section also looks at EU developments in terms of the initial results of the implementation of the EU Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030. For instance, it highlights the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Mr Gerard Quinn, to the EU to assess its implementation of the CRPD in the various Member States. In his report on this visit, Mr Quinn called on the EU to legally recognise its 31 national sign languages at the EU level, in order to comply with the CRPD and its Article 21(e), following EUD’s statement at the European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022. In 2022 continuing into 2023, the EU has been under the review of the CRPD committee, and, in April, the CPRD Committee submitted a list of issues prior to the submission of the second and third periodic reports of the EU, based on input from civil society and the CRPD monitoring framework. EUD provided direct input to this review process of the EU, specifically highlighting the EU’s lack of, and requirement to, recognise and promote all its 31 national sign languages at the EU level. For further information on this, you can read EUD’s alternative report to the CRPD Committee prior to the adoption of the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) for the EU.
On 9th September 2022, the CRPD Committee issued its General Comment no.8 on the interpretation of the right to work and employment (Article 27 CRPD). However, it is highlighted, in this section, that at national level, significant gaps persist between the level of participation of people with disabilities in the labour market and that of others in the labour market and in the education system. In this regard, the European Commission’s social scoreboard now includes a new indicator on the disability employment gap. This monitors the difference in levels of employment between people with and without disabilities. This scoreboard is a tool to help monitor the implementation of the EU’s social rights commitments.
In terms of the EU Disability Strategy and its progress, in October 2022, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution on the AccessibleEU Centre, one of its flagship initiatives. The Disability Movement has called for it to be an agency rather than an online hub, but unfortunately this is not looking likely, at least for its initial launch which will take place on 4th July 2023.
EUD will continue to follow and engage in all relevant policy and legislative developments with regards to disability, ensuring the deaf perspective is mainstreamed throughout all of these.