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Visibility of disability rights everywhere! 

The end of 2016 finds Europe still struggling to cope with crises in various levels: economic and refugee crisis, Brexit, terrorist threat. These challenging situations can only make our determination to fight for human rights for all people even stronger. This month, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The ratification of the CRPD by the EU and almost all its Member States -except Ireland- provided us with a strong legal framework to advocate for inclusion, accessibility, freedom of movement, independent living, active participation and other fundamental rights and freedoms. 

2017 marks EDF’s 20th anniversary and the promise that the disability movement will continue fighting for our common values. The theme of our 20th anniversary campaign is: ‘Nothing about us without us. Visibility of disability rights everywhere’. With this theme, we want to highlight: 
  • the importance of the active involvement of representative organisations of persons with disabilities in all discussions and decisions concerning their lives, and
  • the necessity of mainstreaming disability rights in all EU policies and actions,
as conditions for the efficient implementation of the CRPD. 

2017 will find the disability movement in Europe strong and our voices united when we talk about our rights. ‘Nothing about us without us’ is not just a motto; it is a way of thinking and living. 

Merry Christmas to all!  Happy, inclusive and accessible 2017!

Yannis Vardakastanis 
EDF President 


Participants of the conference

European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016

This year’s European Day of Persons with Disabilities marked the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). This was the focus of the 2-day conference organised by the European Commission and EDF on 29-30 November 2016. The conference gathered together around 400 participants who discussed and examined the progress which has been made in the European Union (EU) to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in line with the CRPD. 
Boat with refugees

‘Co-operation is needed to improve situation for refugees with disabilities’

EDF President Yannis Vardakastanis, participated in the event “Embracing Diversity” organised by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva on 6 December. Marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), the event strengthened the dialogue between UNHCR and organisations working to promote active participation for persons with disabilities.
Cover of Accessibility Guide showing an older man in wheelchair receiving assistance to enter a bus

New 'Accessibility Guide' on the needs of persons with disabilities using public transport

To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), IRU (World's Road Transport organisation) and EDF jointly published an 'Accessibility Guide' to improve customer service for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility.
The leaders of the main political groups with EDF President

European Parliament Political Groups leaders agree on strong actions to support disability rights

Two days before the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), EDF met with Presidents and top politicians of the main Political Groups in the European Parliament. Josef Weidenholzer (S&D Group Vice-President), Sabine Verheyen (EPP Coordinator in the Committee on Culture and Education), Syed Kamall (President of the ECR Group), Gabriele Zimmer (President of the GUE/NGL Group) and  Ulrike Lunacek (Vice-President of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA) renewed the commitment of their Political Groups to support the rights of persons with disabilities in Europe, three years after the first high level meeting with EDF.


Logo of the Disability Intergroup
19 January 2017: Disability Intergroup meeting on the European Accessibility Act, Strasbourg

23 January 2017: Disability Intergroup New Year's Cocktail, Brussels

More information will be available in the beginning of January on the Disability Intergroup's webpage.
Editor: Lila Sylviti
Director of publication: Catherine Naughton
Contributors: Etienne Cuche | Marie Denninghaus | Loredana Dicsi | An-Sofie Leenknecht | Laura Marchetti | Alejandro Moledo

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Copyright © 2016 European Disability Forum, All rights reserved.

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