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Posts Tagged ‘Disability Convention’

IHRC Report on John Paul Centre, Galway

March 30, 2010 1 comment

The Irish Human Rights Commission today released a lengthy report on an enquiry into conditions, services and care provided in the John Paul Centre in Galway. This is a residential centre for adults with severe to profound learning disabilities and the enquiry was conducted following a representation to the IHRC from concerned parents of residents. The report is very detailed and we hope in the following days to bring you some specialist commentary on it here at HRinI. Readers might also be interested in two previous posts on HRinI on standards of care in residential centres for people with disability: this post from Mary Keogh & Charles O’Mahony and this separate post from Charles.

In the course of the enquiry the IHRC found that there had been breaches of the residents’ human rights in respect of the failure to provide adequate services and care to the residents of the centre. In many ways, these failures are bound up with the lack of accountability mechanisms and the fact that such centres are unregulated and uninspected in spite of being state-funded. However, it seems clear from the report’s recommendations of which there are many) that the problems are envisaged by the IHRC as being more multi-disciplinary and multi-layered than ‘simple’ lack of inspection/regulation. From recommending the immediate ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the formation of tailored service agreements taking the needs of residents into account, the recommendations are wide-ranging. They are also important inasmuch as they highlight the various different stakeholders—the Departments of Health, Justice and Education, the HSE, the residents, the Brothers of Charity (who run the centre), the parents—whose input is required to provide a service that is truly fit for purpose and respectful of the rights and liberties of the residents.

The report is certainly welcome and there can be little doubt that its findings are replicated in similar centres throughout the country. The sooner the state moves on ensuring effective, properly resourced, respectful, appropriate, adequate and accountable levels of health and support service provision to people with disabilities in Ireland the better.

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European Community ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

In the final week of November 2009, the EC has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD is the first international treaty of the 21st century and it is a result of five years of negotiations with strong involvement from the disability movement. Since its entry into international law on May 3rd 2008, it continues to be ratified across the globe. To-date, the CRPD has 143 signatories and 74 ratifications.

What will the EU’s ratification mean for its disabled citizens? Its ratification gives the 65 million disabled people living in Europe hope that the EU recognises disability as a human rights issue. At EU level, the CRPD obliges it State Parties to revise existing legislation, policies and programmes to ensure they are in compliance with the Conventions provisions. The thirty or more articles of the CRPD cover all area’s of life ranging from access to education, employment, independent living and development cooperation. Ratifying the CRPD means that the EU across its institutions and programmes will have to work towards progressing inclusion for disabled people in the areas listed above and many more.

On a member state level, 12 countries so far have ratified the Convention (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, and the UK). Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the Brussels-based European Disability Forum, stressed: “The European Union has not only achieved a major step in its history, but it is also sending a positive signal to its Member States that haven’t ratified the Convention yet.”

While the CRPD’s ratification was welcomed by many disability groups in the EU, there was also disappointment with regard to; the delay in ratifying the Optional Protocol (which enables complainants to communicate directly with the Conventions committee regarding violations by a state of provisions of CRPD) and the reservation of the Council to exclude the employment of disabled people in the armed forces.

Ireland signed the Convention in March 2007, however as of yet has given no definite timetable for its ratification. It is time now for our government to consider joining alongside its fellow EU member states and ratify the Convention to ensure continued protection of the rights for its 393,786 disabled citizens.