Posts Tagged ‘Disability’

Standards of care: vital to safeguarding the rights of disabled people

February 2, 2010 7 comments

(* This article is co-authored with Charles O’Mahony, PhD fellow, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway)

According to an article in the Irish Times today, more than 500 official complaints (approx three a week) over the past two and a half years have been made regarding abuse and mistreatment of disabled people in residential settings.  The most serious incidents included allegations of abuse or physical assault by a staff member at a number of residential centres.

Currently Ireland has no mandatory standards or independent inspections for assessing care provided by residential services to disabled people.  Health Research Board statistics for 2008 show that there are more than 8,000 adults with an intellectual disability in receipt of full-time residential services. The majority of these services are provided through voluntary service providers at an approximate cost of €1.5bn to the Irish government.  Despite this volume of state funding, these services remain uninspected and unregulated.

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Flynn on Budget 2010: The Rights of People with Disabilities

December 10, 2009 4 comments

This is our first guest post from Eilonoir Flynn. You can read about Eilonoir on our Guest Contributors page.

Yesterday’s budget has had an obvious impact on people with disabilities by reducing disability-specific payments, such as the disability allowance and disablement pension; however, some indirect cuts, particularly in transport and education could well have a disproportionate effect on the rights of people with disabilities.

First, the direct cuts should be addressed. The reduction of the disability allowance from €204.30 to €196 and of the disablement pension from €235.40 to €226 may not seem unduly drastic; but given the additional cost of disability, these are sufficiently serious to warrant attention. These cuts run contrary to the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly with regard to the right to an adequate standard of living and social protection in Article 28.

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Blog Carnival-The Human Rights Implications of Budget 2010

December 10, 2009 1 comment

HRiI is today, on International Human Rights Day 2009, hosting a blog carnival to give initial reactive assessment of the impact of  Budget 2010 from a human rights perspective. As with our last blog carnival, I am using a Wordle to illustrate the main themes of the budget in a word cloud.

Posts from our regular contributors and from guest contributors will tease out the human rights impact of the budget in the areas of social security law; children’s rights; labour rights; the rights of migrants; women and Budget 2010; the rights of those who are disabled; the human rights and equality infrastructure within the State.

There is much analysis of Budget 2010 in the main Irish broadsheets (see here, here and here).  RTE allows individuals to watch the budget statement in full. Tonight with Vincent Browne had an excellent post budget analysis programme last night. The focus of this show was on the people affected by Budget 2010 with interesting contributions from a wide range of persons.

We are always open to readers’ proposals for guest posts and blog events. You can send us a direct message via our facebook fan page or on Twitter at, or you can email any of the regular contributors.

I do hope you enjoy this blog carnival and hope that it adds a more human rights analysis to Budget 2010 than has to date been provided.

Making the Millennium Development Goals Disability Inclusive

December 3, 2009 2 comments

The United Nations General Assembly established International Disability Day in 1998 to promote awareness of disability issues. It is observed annually on December 3rd and each year has a different theme to highlight the variety of issues faced by disabled people. These themes range from access to decent work, independent living and arts and culture. For 2009, the International Day is focusing on making the Millennium Development Goals Inclusive of disabled people.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) were developed in 2000 as a strategy for poverty reduction, and has been agreed to by all world institutions to meet the needs of the worlds poorest. However, out of the 48 MDG indicators, there was is reference to disabled people or to disability in general. Nearly 10 years later, it is now widely recognised that the MDG’s cannot reach their targets without addressing the needs of disabled people.

Disability affects a large proportion of the world’s population and disabled people are among the poorest of the poor. It is estimated that 10 to 12 per cent of the world’s population – 670-800 million people have a disability, the majority of whom, approximately 80% live in developing countries. The high level of poverty experienced by disabled people stems from their routine exclusion from social and economic life. This exclusion occurs across the globe, be that in developed or industrialised countries.  For example in Ireland, over 60% of disabled people are not in employment and in developing countries the link between disability and poverty is exacerbated.

Evidence suggests that poverty is linked with disability and that disability may aggravate poverty risk. Persons with disabilities make up 20% of the poorest people living below one dollar a day and lacking access to food, clean water, clothing and shelter (Elwan, Ann 1999).

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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.