The first high-level meeting of the EU’s monitoring Framework for the UN Disability Convention will be held today and will see the Commission renew its commitment to promoting, protecting and monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities. The European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, the European Ombudsman, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European Disability Forum will meet in Brussels.
The EU has been party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UN Convention) since January 2011. As of February 2015, 25 EU Member States have also ratified the UN Convention. Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands have signed, but not yet ratified. This means that the EU as well as those Member States that are parties to the UN Convention are committed to upholding and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the UN Convention, within their respective powers. Restoring social fairness and creating a Union where discrimination has no place is a priority for the European Commission.
One in six people in the European Union – around 80 million – have a disability that ranges from mild to severe. Over one third of people aged over 75 have disabilities that restrict them to some extent. These numbers are set to rise as the EU population grows progressively older. Most of these people are all too often prevented from fully participating in society and the economy because of physical or other barriers, as well as discrimination.