The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first international legally binding instrument setting minimum standards for rights for people with disabilities, and the first human rights convention to which the EU has become a party.
All the EU countries have signed and ratified the Convention. 22 EU countries have also signed and ratified its Optional Protocol.
This means that the EU and its Member States are committed to upholding and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the UN Convention. The core elements of the UN Convention are reflected in the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
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:
- In June 2014, the Commission published the first report to the UN on how the EU is giving effect to the Convention, showing tangible impacts on the ground.
- In 2015, the UN Committee reviewed for the first time how the EU has been implementing its obligations. In June 2015, the Commission replied in writing to questions sent by the UN in this respect. In August 2015, the UN Committee engaged in a dialogue with the EU in Geneva. Following the dialogue, the Committee issued its recommendations for follow-up. Read a summary of the dialogue in an easy-to-read version, prepared by Inclusion Europe.
EU Member States must also submit individual implementation reports to the UN for the matters 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 made up of:
- the European Commission,
- the Member States,
- the Council of Europe,
- several EU-level NGOs, including organisations of people with disabilities.
The annual Work Forum brings together those responsible for implementation and monitoring of the Convention as well as civil society and organisations of persons with disabilities from the EU and its Member States.
EU Framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD
As a party to the Convention, the EU is required to have a mechanism responsible to promote, protect and monitor its implementation on matters of EU competence.
The EU Framework on the implementation of the UNCRPD is operational since 2013.