By introducing an innovative understanding of the issue of disability, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) represents a milestone for the promotion of human rights and equal treatment in Europe and worldwide. The Convention defines disability as the product of interaction between long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments and the physical/attitudinal barriers present in the environment: disability is therefore recognised as a social issue, rather than a sole individual characteristic, whose roots are ultimately residing in society.
The CRPD explicitly acknowledges the critical role played by families for the promotion of human rights and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society
. By voluntary will or because of lack of public support, families are particularly likely to undertake a caring role and remain the first and most immediate environment where children with disabilities can develop their potential and enjoy a fulfilling life. The concrete realization of the rights of persons with disabilities is strictly interdependent with the quality of life of their family members, and can be very much influenced by the circumstances affecting parents, partners, children and siblings living with them.
To address these challenges, various obligations arising under the CRPD implicitly or explicitly commit public authorities to put families in the conditions of contributing to the full and equal realisation of the rights enshrined in the text. Some articles make explicit reference to measures to sustain families, while other provisions implicitly require a mainstreaming of the family dimension in order to ensure an effective implementation.
The first aim of COFACE’s-Disability paper is to illustrate the main implications of the CRPD for the improvement of the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities and their families, recalling Member States’ and EU’s role in this regard. Moreover, this position intends to raise awareness on the scope and relevance of the Convention among family organisations, policy makers and other representatives of civil society, in order to promote advocacy activities and facilitate the dissemination of the CRPD at national and European levels.
Published on 09 Nov 2011
Updated on 16 Mar 2012