On 28th September 2022, the EU Commission held a virtual launch event for its new “Together for Rights” campaign – to promote the rights of persons with disabilities across Europe and beyond – which is being run by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL).
EU Commissioner for Equality, Ms Helena Dalli opened the event with some remarks about the campaign and its importance. Ms Dalli stated that the lack of inclusion in society should not exclusively be a concern for persons with disabilities, but rather it should be an issue for all of us. The “together for rights” campaign, Ms Dalli explained, places a role on ‘together’ as all of us have a role to play in building a society where persons with disabilities can participate fully. The campaign follows the topics of the EU Disability Rights Strategy, there will be “champions” who will use social media to spread awareness about these topics. Importantly, mentioned Ms Dalli, the campaign was developed with Organisations of Disabled Persons (OPDs) Finally, Ms Dalli finished by saying that the slogan of the campaign is, aptly, ‘nothing about us without us’.
Following this, Mr Yannis Vardakastanis, the President of the European Disability Forum (EDF) gave a short presentation. Mr Vardakastanis opened by saying this campaign is essential to advance the implementation of Article 8, which focuses on awareness-raising, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Mr Vardakastanis stressed the important role of media to realise the obligations under the UN CRPD.
Finally, Ms Frederique Luca, Media and Communications Expert working on the Together for Rights Campaign with the EU Commission, provided an outline of the goals of the campaign. For instance, to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, and to show persons with disabilities and citizens what the EU is doing to ensure they can exercise their rights. Ms Luca explained that the campaign website and materials will be accessible in 24 languages and easy to read on the campaign website. There is also an online toolkit for the campaign supporters which will be updated regularly with new content available to use. Ms Luca said that the campaign will shine a light on the rights of persons with disabilities on six main themes, which correspond to the key policy areas of the EU Disability Rights Strategy:
1. an introduction to the strategy for persons with disabilities
2. equal opportunities and employment skills, and education
3. independent living
4. de-institutionalisation and access to community services for persons with disabilities
5. the right to vote and participation in the democratic debate
6. accessibility whether in the virtual world or the physical world
7. equal access and nondiscrimination
Leading the campaign will be the “champions” who are citizens from across the EU who live with different disabilities and who have a social media following in their country. During the campaign, the champions will share their views and their comments on social media. To see the full list of champions, visit this link. The campaign will run until summer 2023, so for just under a year but the content will stay available and be on the EU commission website at the end of the campaign.
To learn more about the campaign, visit the campaign website.