June 11th, 2013

Speaking from Strasbourg, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said that she welcomed the issuing of a joint declaration of support for people with disabilities by the leaders of the main political groups in the Parliament

Martina Anderson said:

“As a member of the forum on the rights of those people with disabilities, I welcome the fact that this declaration is backed up with a series of initiatives to ensure the full participation and enforcement of the rights in society of people with disabilities.

Among the initiatives that will be taken are:

– The European Parliament will implement and mainstream the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) through the setting up of a cross-Committee;

– The European Parliament will put forward concrete proposals aiming to protect persons with disabilities from the economic crisis;

– In view of the 2014 European elections, the political groups will ensure the accessibility of their websites, documents and information to persons with disabilities;

– The political groups will push for a strong and ambitious EU legislation on accessibility of goods and services: What is needed is an ambitious, legally binding European Accessibility Act, with strong measures at EU level to improve the accessibility of goods and services of high quality for persons with disabilities.

“By adopting the “Equal Treatment Directive”, which is being blocked by Member States in the Council, the Parliament has demonstrated its determination to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities and to combat discrimination of all kinds.

“When signing the Declaration, the Group leaders jointly expressed our strong belief that It is time to stop thinking that we are dealing only with a financial crisis, but also with a social and human rights crisis. While seeking a resolution to our ever growing national deficits and public debts, we should also bear in mind that there are millions of people suffering from the economic mismanagement by banks and governments.Particular attention must be paid to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged social groups like people with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities are affected disproportionally by the austerity measures in Europe to pay for a crisis they are not responsible for. It’s time for the EU to fulfil its commitment to the UN CRPD and to 80 million Europeans with disabilities. I welcome this initiative by the Political Groups of the European Parliament, in taking a decisive step in the right direction.”