INCLUSION

WHAT DOES INCLUSION MEAN AND WHAT IS THE MAIN DEFINITION?

The idea that everyone should be able to use the same facilities, take part in the same activities, and enjoy the same experiences, including people who have a disability or other disadvantage:.

WHAT IS THE LEGAL POSITION OF INCLUSION?

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a legally binding instrument that aims to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The comprehensive catalogue of rights for people with disabilities that is enshrined in the Convention seeks to pull down the barriers disabled persons are facing in their daily lives – barriers that often prevent them from enjoying their fundamental rights on an equal basis with others. The Convention marks a shift of paradigm, since it puts the focus on disabled people’s autonomy and their right to full inclusion in society, hence overriding the formerly typical welfare approach. Creating conditions which allow people with disabilities to live independently is a major objective in this respect, meaning a move from institutional to community-based living. EU-wide, an estimated 80 million people are affected by some kind of disability, with an upward prevalence trend due to Europe’s ageing population.

The EU concluded the CRPD in 2010 in its capacity as a regional integration organisation. It entered into force for the EU in January 2011. Since then, the Convention’s provisions have become an integral part of the EU’s legal order. Accordingly, all EU legislation, policies and programmes must comply with the CRPD’s established obligations. It also requires the EU to protect the rights of persons with disabilities within its jurisdiction, and particularly, within EU public administrations. Implementing the CRPD is not a straightforward process, however, as the Convention’s overarching principles entail mainstreaming of disability rights across all policies and within all institutions. To this end, its implementation requirements (Article 33) provide for the set-up of a monitoring mechanism, including detailed reporting to the UN’s dedicated oversight committee – the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter called ‘the CRPD Committee’).

In September 2015, the CRPD Committee finalised its review of the EU’s first implementation report by issuing its ‘Concluding Observations’. These include a long list of recommendations for further action. The EU’s follow-up report is due by early 2021. The European Parliament seeks to contribute to this follow-up with an own-initiative implementation report (‘Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with special regard to the Concluding Observations of the UN CRPD Committee) which is currently under preparation. To support Parliament’s report, this European Implementation Assessment depicts in detail the institutional arrangements the EU has set in place to implement Article 33 of the Convention, and the key role Parliament plays in it. Furthermore, it discusses a selection of the 42 issues of concern to the CRPD Committee, and outlines the progress made so far.