EU countries must nominate candidates to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

5 March 2020

We are deeply concerned that neither the European Union (EU) nor EU countries have nominated candidates to the upcoming elections of independent experts to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee is an United Nations expert body that monitors the rights of persons with disabilities across the world.

While the EU and all its member states have shown unprecedented leadership in human rights by taking part in negotiations and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we now need to ensure the Committee includes EU based experts to contribute to the work of the Committee. The EU itself could show leadership by being the first regional member to also do so.

As the deadline for nominations (10th of April) approaches, we call on the EU and on national governments in Europe to quickly nominate qualified candidates with disabilities, especially women with disabilities. If no European candidate is nominated, the Committee will have only 2 members from Europe (on a total of 18 experts).

Currently there are 3 European members of the Committee (2 from the EU) and all of them are men. We call on the EU and EU countries to:

  • Nominate candidates with disabilities, especially women with disabilities;
  • Involve organisations of persons with disabilities in the process.

Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum stated:

“This failure to nominate sends the message that the European Union does not care about the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It is urgent that EU countries show that’s not the case by announcing candidates to the Committee, especially women with disabilities.”

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Committee is an official UN Committee that counts with 18 independent experts. The Committee monitors the rights of persons with disabilities by regularly reviewing the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in each State Party. Members of the Committee are elected for a 4-year mandate, with elections taking place every 2 years (each election replaces 9 members). The next election will take place in June 2020. Deadline for nomination in 10 April 2020. More information available in the official website.

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