citizens' initiative: the European Parliament urges the Commission to answer 1 364 984 signatures on the rights of persons with disabilities
In 2007, the disability movement gathered the impressive 1 364 984 signatures calling for comprehensive protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the European law. The interest generated by the campaign demonstrated the strong support of the wider European population for limination of the barriers faced by people with disabilities in their daily lives.
Publicly presented to the European Commission on 4 October 2007, the signatures did not receive the resonance they deserved from the European decision-makers. Yesterday, long-standing disability activist and former Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott exercised the fundamental rights granted to all European citizens under article 227 of the Treaty on the Functionning of the European Union by submitting a petition to the European Parliament Petitions Committee to adress the neglect of this unprecedented citizens' campaign. She pointed out at the specificities of disability discrimination and called for adequate attention to be paid to the petition that should be followed up with concrete actions. She was supported by the European Disability Forum, the organization behind the 2007 campaign.
Alain Faure, the executive member of the European Disability Forum stressed: “The follow up by the European Commission was dramatically limited: no communication was addressed to the 1 364 984 petitioners and the civil society wasn’t associated in the preparation of the proposal for the equal treatment directive that is currently being discussed.”
The petition was met yesterday with encouragement by the members of the Petitions Committee who largely recognized the need for specific proposals to follow up the petitions and called for concrete actions, such as the speedy ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and exerting political pressure on the Member States to proceed with the adoption of the equal treatment directive. Support for the Disability Pact within the future Europe 2020 Strategy was unequivocally expressed too. After three years waiting for a signal from the EU, the integration of the Disability Pact in the strategy Europe 2020 would be a first step to answer 1 364 984 European citizens.
Contact: Aurélien Daydé | firstname.lastname@example.org | T + 32 282 46 04