Despite legislation, disability rights not realised in practice(07 June 2012)
Both FRA reports provide a basis for EU and Member States' discussions on how to protect and fulfil the rights of people with disabilities, and can be used to support them in fulfilling their obligations under the CRPD.
The reports were being presented at an international conference on "Autonomy and inclusion" in Copenhagen on 7-8 June 2012.
View the conference presentations (click on title to go to individual sections):
- Welcome address
- Working groups:
- Right to political participation
- Involuntary placement and involuntary treatment
- Legal capacity and supported decision-making
- Having a family
- Bullying and harassment
See also the:
- 'Choice and control: the right to independent living' report;
- 'Involuntary placement and involuntary treatment of persons with mental health problems' report and factsheet;
- Press release;
- Video about the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities
- Morten Kjaerum, Director, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (PDF 70 KB)
- Jonas Christoffersen, Director of Danish Institute for Human Rights (PowerPoint - 581 kb)
- Mario Oetheimer, Programme Manager, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (PowerPoint - 1241 kb)
- Andrea Baršová, Director of Human Rights and Minority Protection Department, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic (PowerPoint - 157 kb)
- Gábor Gombos, Member of the UN CRPD Committee (PowerPoint - 269 kb)
- Kasia Jurczak, Programme Manager, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights(PowerPoint - 908 kb)
- Corinne Clermont, Vice-president, Nous Aussi, France (PDF - 93 kb)
- Mike Smith, Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission, United Kingdom
The right to political participation is among the most fundamental of civil and political human rights. It is also one of the fundamental principles of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), which sets out the right to vote in Article 29. Participants noted that many persons with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems in the European Union (EU) are deprived of their right to political participation: some are automatically excluded from the electoral process when they lose their legal capacity; while others may be deemed unable to vote on the basis of an individual assessment.
- Jan Fiala, Legal Director, Disability Rights Center, Hungary (PowerPoint - 108 kb)
- David O’Brien, Chair, National Advisory Council on Down Syndrome, Ireland (PowerPoint - 1748 kb)
- Ieva Leimane-Veldmeijere, Director, Resource Center for People with Mental Disability ZELDA, Latvia (PowerPoint – 16896 kb)
- Rapporteur's Report (PDF 41k)
Participants noted that the law in many EU Member States currently applies a ‘medical care’ approach to involuntary placement and involuntary treatment, noting that there is a need to bring EU Member State legislation in line with the non-discrimination principles of the CRPD.
This workshop created a space for dialogue between persons with mental health problems, medical professionals, legal practitioners, government representatives and other stakeholders.
- Mette Ellingsdalen, Chair, We shall overcome, Norway (PDF - 321 kb)
- Zdenka Č. Travnik, Human Rights Ombudsman, Slovenia (Word - 30 kb)
- Rapporteur's Report (PDF 35k)
Deinstitutionalisation has been on the political agenda at the global, European and national levels for many years. It aims to increase the personal autonomy, self-determination and inclusion in society of persons with disabilities by enabling them to choose where to live, regardless of their impairment. Despite the widespread adoption of deinstitutionalisation policies across the EU, participants said that over one million people live in institutions in the EU and neighbouring countries. This serves to reinforce the segregation of persons with disabilities and to reduce the choice and control they can exert over their daily lives. Discussants in this working group set the scene by identifying the challenges as well the progress achieved and provided examples of promising practices.
- Jan Jarab, Regional Representative for Europe, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Maria Nyman, Director, Mental Health Europe (PowerPoint - 198 kb)
- Richard Kostenius, Board Member, Equality, Assistance and Inclusion (JAG) Association, Sweden (PowerPoint - 3149 kb)
- Rapporteur's Report (PDF 51k)
The right to legal capacity is a fundamental right and its enjoyment a prerequisite for enjoying other rights on an equal basis. Only if a person has full legal capacity may he or she make legally binding decisions about, for example, his or her private life, work, education, housing or political participation. Participants noted that according to Article 12 of the CRPD, States Parties must, in order to preserve the self-determination of persons with disabilities, promote self-determination and use supported decision-making rather than substituted decision-making.
- Maria Ventegodt Liisberg, Team leader of Disability Team, DIHR, Denmark (PowerPoint - 585 kb)
- Has an Bermek, Advisor to the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe (PowerPoint - 741 kb)
Article 23 of the CRPD requires that States Parties take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others. In practice, the realisation of this right means different things to different people. Persons with disabilities may face difficulties in living together as a family: they may not be sufficiently supported to act as a parent; or they may have their child forcibly removed.
- Mikaela Starke, Senior Lecturer, University of Gothenburg, Sweden(PowerPoint - 146 kb)
- Rapporteur's Report (PDF 65k)
Bullying, harassment and violence against persons with disabilities often remain hidden. More awareness-raising is needed to address what is both a violation of their fundamental rights and a major obstacle to promoting independent living for persons with disabilities. Harassment and violence affect children and adults with intellectual or with physical disabilities or with mental health problems. Participants noted that physical, psychological or sexual violence can happen within a family context, in institutions, during the provision of services or when taking part in daily activities, such as using a bus or walking in a park.
- Hilary Brown, Senior Consultant, Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom (PDF - 806 kb)
- Camille Latimer, Inclusion Europe (PowerPoint - 1042 kb)
- Rapporteur's Report (PDF 65k)
- Lisa Waddington, European Disability Forum Chair in European Disability Law, Maastricht University (PowerPoint - 873 kb)
DISCLAIMER: Please note that all presentations above have been received from third parties and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FRA. (Please check against delivery)