On 16th of September 2016, EUD participated in a civil society hearing co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Disability Forum on the implementation of the UN CRPD.
EUD director Mark Wheatley intervened during a round of contributions by various civil society organisations, pointing out the progress still to be made in order to implement the concluding observations the EU received last year after submitting its first report to the UN CRPD committee. He especially highlighted that the EU needs to contribute to national efforts towards the recognition of their national and regional sign languages.
Furthermore he pointed out the comment by the UN CRPD committee stating that the EU institutions need to take more action towards providing accessible information, e.g. sign language, including on their own websites and services. This is why EUD tabled a petition to the European Parliament requesting it to allow deaf European citizens to submit petitions in all European national and, if applicable, regional sign languages.
He also added that the European Accessibility Act must contain clear accessibility rules for audio-visual medias services in line with a revised audio-visual media services directive. Finally he highlighted the importance of adopting legislation on the portability of social security benefits, so that persons with disabilities can enjoy their freedom of movement in the EU.
We hope that this discussion will strongly feed into the on-going European policy debate on disability rights and will inform the EU institutions and other stakeholders about progress that needs to be made.