On July 1st and 6th 2020, Autism-Europe (AE) participated in two stakeholder online consultation meetings to help shape the post-2020 European Disability Strategy (EDS) into a full realisation of autistic people’s rights. The EU Commission is determined to ensure “the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities”.
AE Director Aurélie Baranger drew the Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli’s attention to the fact that “the EDS needs to take into account the diversity of disability, including those with invisible disabilities and complex support needs, and promote all forms of accessibility, also in relation to communication.”.
Baranger stressed that “the EDS should aim at supporting the full implementation of the convention at an EU-level and in all member states. It needs to be adequately resourced, and supported by strong coordination and monitoring mechanisms, including data collection disaggregated by types of disability.”
AE calls on the Commission to adopt a holistic approach as well as targeted actions to tackle the many challenges autistic people face in their everyday life, including:
- The promotion of a comprehensive antidiscrimination legislative framework and ensuring the full implementation of existing anti-discrimination legislation
- The promotion of the coordination between Member States of relevant policies in the field of disability, including encouraging the adoption of adequately resourced cross sectoral national action plans for autism
- The promotion of the transition from institutions to community-based services across all EU countries
- The promotion of training of professionals in autism across all relevant sectors
- The promotion of mutual recognition of autism diagnosis and more generally disability assessment to foster mobility
- The support of mutual learning and research to improve the quality of life and inclusion of autistic people
- Awareness raising of all stakeholders
- Ensuring support to autism organisations through funding and involving them in continuous structured dialogue
At these hearings, European organisations representing people with disabilities, Member States and national NGOs had the opportunity to share their concerns and key priorities for the future strategy. The Commission is due to adopt the strategy in early 2021.
Campaigning for an ambitious EU Disability Rights Agenda
AE has also reiterated its support for the demands of the European Disability Forum (EDF) for a European Disability Rights Agenda. On this topic, EDF’s campaign includes five key objectives:
- End segregation (including residential institutions) and ensure adequate standard of living;
- Persons with disabilities should be free to live, work, travel, study and participate in public life in any EU country without losing any rights or entitlement to financial support;
- Promote equality for persons with disabilities and protection against all forms of discrimination, violence and abuse;
- EU should promote the rights of persons with disabilities in all its international relations;
- Set an example as a public administration: EU Institutions, bodies and agencies must ensure they also guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities in their internal functioning (for employees, staff, beneficiaries).