Today, on the initiative of Katrin Langensiepen, Greens/EFA MEP, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution that calls on the Commission to put forward a comprehensive, ambitious and long-term post-2020 European Disability Strategy.
Katrin Langensiepen, Vice-Chair of Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Chair of Disability Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:
"With this resolution the European Parliament is calling for strong EU action on an inclusive Europe. The pandemic has made it painfully clear how the human rights of people with disabilities are frequently violated. Limited or no access to healthcare, assistance and information, as well as institutional isolation have had devastating consequences for many people.
"To this day, EU Member States have failed to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Discrimination and segregation of persons with disabilities remain a reality which makes living rather a matter of survival than of participation. In order to put pressure on the EU government, we urge the Commission to present a strong package of measures with binding targets, deadlines and the monitoring of implementation in Member States.
"Be it independent living, housing, employment or the freedom of movement: Our rights need to be mainstreamed in all EU laws, policies and programmes. The European Union cannot stand by and watch the human rights of persons with disabilities being violated on a daily basis.”
Main demands of the resolution:
The European Parliaments asks for a post-2020 Disability Strategy that:
- sets clearly defined and binding targets within a set time frame
- has sufficient financial resources
- established a strong monitoring mechanism with appropriate indicators to better understand the situation in the Member States
- involves persons with disabilities and their representative family members and organisations in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the post-2020 Strategy also through adequate funding and capacity-building
- mainstreams the rights of persons with disabilities in all the relevant EU laws, decisions, policies and programmes
- promotes independent living, assistance and accessible housing and pushes for de-institutionalisation
Human rights violation during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Limited/no access to health care/triage: Half of coronavirus deaths happened in care homes. Often residents did not get any medical help. In an institution in Romania 242 people with disabilities were infected, but were not taken to the hospital. The same seems to have happened in Spain.
- Limited/no access to care and support services (homecare, food provision, therapy): In the Netherlands 60% of persons with disabilities indicated that the care they need has stopped or diminished. On EU-level 74% of care services claim not having enough protective equipment, 83% state working longer hours.
- Limited access to information: Telephone hotlines, public announcements were often not accessible (lack of sign language, subtitles, easy to read language).