“Promoting Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Ambitions, Impact and Challenges Ahead”
Dublin, Ireland, 5-6 November 2015
Recommendation Rec(2006)5 to member States on the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006-2015, contains a comprehensive set of measures to drive forward societal developments and demographic changes and promote a human rights based perception of disability. The Council of Europe Action Plan built on previous work and achievements at national, regional and international level, took into account barriers faced by persons with disabilities and suggested concrete actions for their removal. The Action Plan was prepared in close cooperation, coordination and partnership with relevant stakeholders.
Soon after the launch of the Council of Europe Action Plan, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was adopted. Both, the UN Convention and the Council of Europe Action Plan had a common underlying idea: achieve the full participation of persons with disabilities through the human rights-based approach. The paradigm shift from a medical and rehabilitation model to a human rights based approach is best summarised by the core principles of the Action Plan: independence, freedom of choice, full participation and equal access to political and public life.
In 2014 and 2015 the Council of Europe carried out the evaluation of the implementation of the Action Plan. It highlights significant progress and tangible results achieved over the ten years of its implementation. Council of Europe member States have witnessed important positive changes in legislation, service provision, physical environment and attitudes. The evaluation also pointed towards remaining challenges, persistent discrimination and barriers to participation as well as divergence between the standards and practice at national level in all the 47 member States, with the implementation gap remaining a great challenge.
The evaluation concluded that much remains to be done to meet the legitimate expectations and the needs of persons who encounter obstacles in exercising their rights as set out by the core human rights standards of the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Such challenges call for coordinated action, strategic approach, synergies and cooperation of all relevant stakeholders at local, national and international level.
The continued commitment of all relevant stakeholders (including public authorities and civil society organisations) is required. To this end, exchange of promising policies and good practices, effective awareness raising, action against stereotypes, violence and abuse, regular monitoring of the implementation of existing standards and targeted cooperation activities are key. These efforts will enable Europe to foster its diversity and respect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities and are in line with the commitments countries have undertaken under the UNCRPD.
2. Aims of the Conference
The Conference will:
· Take stock of the implementation of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan including impact on policy and legislative developments;
· Present good practices identified in the framework of the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan;
· Present challenges faced during its implementation;
· Set out the priorities and main lines of action for the future Council of Europe Disability Strategy (post-2015 four-year disability framework), focusing at enhancing/assisting in the implementation of the UNCRPD;
· Facilitate partnerships and networks among stakeholders including government officials, specialised agencies and institutions, persons with disabilities, civil society, regional and international organisations (notably, the UN).
3. Targeted participants
· DECS-RPD members;
· Senior national representatives in charge of disability policy in member States;
· National, regional and local NGOs and related networks working with and for persons with disabilities;
· Service providers, specialised companies including from the private sector;
· Committee of Ministers representatives;
· PACE representatives;
· Representatives of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities;
· The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights;
· Representatives of the INGOs conference;
· Representatives of regional and international organisations (UN, EU).
4. Expected outputs
· Enhance political support and commitment to combat discrimination and ensure protection and promotion of human rights for persons with disabilities;
· Agree on a set of priorities and main lines of action for the Council of Europe Disability Strategy 2016-2020;
· Raise awareness and disseminate good practices about implementation of fundamental human rights for persons with disabilities as set out in the Council of Europe and UN standards: independence, freedom of choice, full participation and equal access to political and public life;
· Increased networking and partnerships among relevant stakeholders.