The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is the first international, legally binding instrument setting minimum standards for rights of people with disabilities, and the first human rights convention to which the EU has become a party.
The main elements of the UN Convention are reflected in the European disability strategy 2010-2020.
For the EU, the convention entered into force on 22 January 2011. All EU Member States have signed and ratified the convention. 22 EU countries have also signed and ratified its optional protocol in January 2019.
Reporting to the United Nations
Parties to the convention need to periodically inform the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities about the measures taken to implement it. The Commission has provided the following:
- first report to the UN on the EU's application of the Convention (June 2014)
- response to UN review of the EU's implementation of the convention (June 2015)
- dialogue with the UN in Geneva and recommendations for follow-up. A summary of the dialogue in an easy-to-read version prepared by Inclusion Europe is available. (August 2015)
- a response to the UN Committee's more urgent recommendations, and follow-up on the adoption of the European accessibility act, the Commission's withdrawal from the EU Framework, and the update of the list of EU legal acts related to disability (January 2017)
The EU is submitting its next periodic report to the UN in January 2021. EU Member States must also submit individual implementation reports to the UN for matters falling under their competence.
High level group on disability and work forum
The Commission regularly discusses the implementation of the convention at EU and Member State level in a high level group on disability with
- the European Commission
- experts from EU Member States
- several EU-level NGOs, including disabled people’s organisations (DPOs)
In addition, an annual work forum brings together those responsible for implementing and monitoring the Convention, civil society bodies, and DPOs from the EU and its Member States.
EU framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD
The EU is required to have a basis to promote, protect and implement the UNCRPD in matters falling under the EU's competence.
Since late 2015, the European Commission is no longer active in the EU framework, but continues to coordinate the implementation of the UNCRPD.