The right to Accessibility: EDF intervention in Geneva during UN Committee session

United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) met in Geneva to discuss possible ways of working with the Article 9 of the Convention on accessibility. EDF took part in discussion which purpose was to let the opportunity for all stakeholders to give their viewpoints. Emphasis was put on the importance of standardisation and having laws in place.

Based on the 'Written statement’ that EDF had prepared, we had the opportunity to speak on two occasions:

  • Maria Nymanhighlighted that EDF supports mandatory legislation, underpinned by standards, but standards should never be a substitute for binding measures. It is also essential that International formal standards do not prevent to go further at National level. She also spoke about the importance of third party verification when checking the conformity with a standard and that there must be adequate user participation in the drafting process. More efforts must also be developed to train present and future practitioners, who will make use of the standards, on accessibility and universal design in order to understand and implement them. There is also a need for effective enforcement and monitoring of the implementation and to provide them with the means in relation to this.
  • Rodolfo Cattani, EDF Secretary intervened on the lack of possibilities for DPOs to take the floor at this discussion, in particular in light of the worrying developments in many countries right now due to the political and economical situation. Many governments adopt policies and practices against diversity, which affect disabled persons in particular. New barriers are also built up, both physical and attitudinal. Evolution is a prerequisite as an enjoyment of all rights. This real situation for persons with disabilities should be taken into consideration when discussing accessibility.

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