MEPs call for ‘inclusion’ of disabled in EU development policies

MEPs call for ‘inclusion’ of disabled in EU development policies all new EU development programes and projects should consider the potential impacts on the lives of the disabled, argue Bart Staes, Michael Cashman, Filip Kaczmarek, and Marian Harkin.

Today the international disability and development consortium’s (IDDC) election statement will be presented in a bid to raise awareness of including people with disabilities in future programes, projects and policies related to development cooperation.

We are proud to have worked on this initiative alongside IDDC because, as members of the European parliament interested in the issues of development and disability, we strongly believe that the inclusion of people with disabilities is of the utmost importance.

Development programes and the Post-2015 development framework have to take into account the rights and needs of the most vulnerable people in developing countries, including those who live with a disability.

Too often development policy and programes don’t sufficiently take into consideration the inherent human rights of people with disabilities. Through this initiative, we hope to contribute to a European development policy that is inclusive and accessible to all.

All new programmes and projects should consider the potential impacts on the lives of the disabled, and should be planned, implemented, and monitored in an inclusive and participatory way.

This is far from unimaginable. For instance, when the EU subsidises a new school or a new housing project are the newly constructed buildings accessible for wheelchair or crutch users? Do the governments which the EU supports through budget aid consider the rights of the disabled, and have they reflected upon the inclusion of them in government functions?

These are only a couple of the important issues, which are, sadly, all too often forgotten.

Although these issues are not insurmountable, it will take hard work and a focus-oriented approach. Therefore we hope this statement can help further the inclusivity of European development policy, in compliance with article 32 of the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

More concretely, this statement asks us, as MEPs, to align to core principles that will ensure that EU decisions are rooted in human rights principles, actively promote the inclusion of the disabled, within the EU and partner countries.

Finally the IDDC elections statement highlights the importance for the EU to work closely with NGOs and disabled people’s organisations, calling for more consultations with civil society.

The signing of the IDDC European elections statement for MEPs comes down to one fact: in order to achieve a really inclusive development cooperation, and to effectively work towards the goals of eradicating poverty and sustainable growth for all globally, it is imperative that we include people with disabilities who represent one in five people around the world.

As MEPs convinced of the importance of this, we and the IDDC launch a call for action to all our current and future colleagues, and cordially invite them to support this initiative.


By Bart Staes, Michael Cashman, Filip Kaczmarek, and Marian Harkin  23.01.2014


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