People with disabilities

Some 80 million European Union citizens have a disability. People with disabilities are able to make an enormous contribution to European society, but often face barriers that prevent them from doing so.

While some EU member states have successfully removed the hindrances that stop disabled people from participating fully in the labour market and society at large, this still poses a challenge for other countries. FRA examines where legal and social barriers exist, and identifies the good practices some states have introduced that empower people with disabilities. Initial work has focused on the difficulties people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems face. Future work will investigate the situation of children with disabilities and work to develop disability indicators.

The values of dignity, autonomy, equality and inclusion are key EU principles. With the UN’s most recent human rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the core concepts of self-determination, participation and inclusion have been expressly linked to people with disabilities, namely "those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others".

The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits discrimination on the ground of disability and recognises the right of disabled people to integration.

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Petitions and complaints: helping to make rights a reality

Petitions and complaints give individuals, including people with disabilities, the tools to claim their rights. In doing so, they help make rights a reality, said FRA in its speech to a public hearing organised by the European Parliament's Petitions Committee on 'Protection of the rights of people with disabilities, from the perspective of petitions received' on 15 October 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.

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Children with disabilities: targeted violence and hostility

This project will look at hostility, including violence, towards children with disabilities across the EU. It seeks to identify the legal and policy framework, as well as determine how information about such hostility is being collected. In addition, the project will look for examples of promising practices of how some Member States are addressing the problem.

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Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2014 - Annual report

Annual report
European Union (EU) Member States and institutions introduced a number of legal and policy measures in 2014 to safeguard fundamental rights in the EU. Notwithstanding these efforts, a great deal remains to be done, and it can be seen that the situation in some areas is alarming: the number of migrants rescued or apprehended at sea as they were trying to reach Europe’s borders quadrupled over 2013; more than a quarter of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; and an increasing number of political parties use xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric in their campaigns, potentially increasing some people’s vulnerability to becoming victims of crime or hate crime.

Implementing the UN CRPD: An overview of legal reforms in EU Member States

A new Focus paper by the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) outlines how Member States across the EU have reformed their laws and policies to meet their obligations under the CRPD. By bringing together examples of such reforms, it also highlights how the adoption of international commitments can drive wide-ranging processes of change at the national level.