March 30 marked 10 years since Ireland signed the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). However, Ireland remains the only Member State of the European Union (EU) that has not yet ratified the CRPD, meaning that it has not yet entered into force in Ireland. All other 27 EU Member States, as well as the EU itself as a regional organisation, have ratified the CRPD and have been working on its implementation.
The CRPD is an international human rights treaty that reaffirms that all persons with disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies that persons with disabilities have the right to participate in civil, political, economic, social and cultural life in the community like anyone else. It also clearly stipulates what public and private authorities must do to ensure and promote the full enjoyment of these rights.
The Convention’s Article 9 states in particular that States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities have access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICT systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public.
In the framework of its World Autism Awareness Day campaign “Break Barriers Together for Autism-Let’s Build an Accessible Society”, Autism-Europe therefore calls on decision makers at the EU and Member State levels to honour their commitment to removing barriers for people with autism and other disabilities in society.