12th Session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations
From the 11th to 13th of June EUD participated at the 12th Session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Prior to COSP EUD also attended Civil Society Forum organised by the International Disability Alliance.
The Civil Society Forum was an opportunity to highlight current issues relevant to the disability movement and realisation of the UN CRPD, that were not specifically be addressed during the 12th COSP session. The additional space for civil society was provided to make its own contributions. During an interactive dialogue on the protection of the rights of children with disabilities to live with their family, through deinstitutionalization inclusive education, and access to health and adequate medical services, EUD delivered a statement. EUD highlighted that deaf children have a right to live with their family which ensures an early access to and acquisition of sign language, creates sign language environment, understands and teaches about deaf culture and deaf identity. Moreover, EUD highlighted that the implementation of the Article 24 UN CRPD and SDG 4 and the creation of an inclusive general education system for all must not leave deaf learners excluded from quality education, social inclusion and language acquisition and must allow them to fully participate and thrive academically, linguistically and socially.
An overarching theme of the 12th Session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was Ensuring inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the UN CRPD. Three sub-themes for the three round table discussions were (i) Technology, digitalization and ICTs for the empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities; (ii) Social inclusion and the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and (iii) Inclusion of persons with disabilities in society through participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sports. During the roundtable discussion on technology, digitalisation and ICTs, EUD made an intervention that was based on the EUD Position Paper adopted in 2018 on the Accessibility of Information and Communication for the Deaf. EUD highlighted that State Parties to the UN CRPD must ensure that developers when developing ICTs that include features of importance for deaf users, such as customised vibrating and visual alerts, sign language, real time captioning, translation options and others, manufacturers and developers should directly collaborate with deaf experts and/or experts in accessibility for deaf persons that are recommended by an organisation representing deaf persons from the very early stages and throughout the entire process of developing accessible ICTs. EUD also highlighted the importance of applying universal design, making emergency communications, audio-visual media services and new technologies fully accessible for the deaf users.
During COSP EUD met with the Disability Data Advocacy Working Group of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and discussed the future collaboration. EUD also had a chance to meet newly elected UN CRPD Committee members and discuss how to establish a relationship and a long-term partnership. At the event organised by UN Women EUD also witnessed the signature of the declaration Beijing + 25.
EUD attended many side events organised by various organisations that focused on inclusive education, empowerment through employment, data collection, political participation and other. COSP to UN CRPD was an incredible experience where EUD made sure that European deaf perspective is visible and considered during the general debates on the implementation of the UN CRPD by State Parties to the Convention.