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EDF Madrid Resolution

Prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy

Human rights and prenatal diagnosis



Human rights

Standard rules for people with disabilities

The UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities are strongly supported by IF and we work towards full implementation of these rules world-wide.

Access the link below for the full text of the UN Standard Rules:

Council of Europe: Disability Action Plan

In 2003 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a Disability Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in Europe 2003-2010.

European Rules for People with a Disability

The European Union (EU) has long been involved in the fight against discrimination on grounds of gender and nationality, especially in the labour market field. But at the Amsterdam Summit in 1997, the Heads of States and Governments of the 15 Member States took a number of highly significant steps to reinforce the commitment of the Union to support and protect the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, emerged from the Summit. It provides new powers to suspend the rights of a Member State which was found to be in breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. And, for the first time, the Treaty enabled the Community to combat discrimination on a wider range of grounds than ever before – disability, racial and ethnic origin, religion and belief, age and sexual orientation - and in areas outside of employment.

The Community’s legislative framework now includes two important Directives. One Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination in employment, education, social security and healthcare, access to good services and housing. It also guarantees that victims of discrimination will be entitled to compensation in all the Member States.

A second Directive (Council Directive 2000/78/EC) prohibits discrimination in employment on grounds of religion and belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. It also provides the basic rights of protection and it requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to cater for the needs of a person with a disability who is qualified to do the job in question.

The two Directives lay down standards which will provide a common level of protection against discrimination across the Union and which will require changes to the existing legislative framework in all Member states.

This package of measures forms part of an integral part strategy to promote an improved quality of life for European citizens. By helping to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities, the Union contributes actively to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and to reducing the human and financial costs of exclusion.

(Partly extracted from: The Fight for equality by the European Commission – DG Employment and social affairs)

Europe´s first comprehensive Disability rights law

But discrimination does not occur in the field of employment only. Disabled people suffer from discrimination not only in the field of employment but also in areas of life like public transport, education and access to goods and services, which also have a huge impact on the employment potential of disabled people.

The field of employment is closely linked to several other areas such as for example education, transportation and access to services and goods. Therefore a legislation within the field of employment only, is not enough. In order for the disabled person to be an active member of the society in all areas and to enhance a broad non discrimination approach, a new disability specific directive is needed.

Disabled people in Europe look with envy to the legislation in the US (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and want a European with Disabilities Act and ask for disability specific comprehensive non-discrimination legislation.

In 2002 EDF proposed a Disability Specific Directive at a meeting of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament. The legal base of this Disability Specific Directive is article 13 of the EC Treaty, which enables the Community to take initiatives to combat discrimination on the grounds of disability. The Community has already made use of these new provisions, in particular in the areas of employment and occupation.

On the basis of this new Treaty article, the Council adopted on 27 November 2000 Directive 2000/78/EC "Establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation". The Directive prohibits any discrimination, be it direct or indirect, on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. With regard to disability, this Directive recognises that the failure to provide a reasonable accommodation in the workplace can constitute discrimination. The concept of reasonable accommodation includes measures to adapt the workplace to people with disabilities, for example adapting premises and equipment, patterns of working time etc. in order to facilitate their access to employment.
When the Employment Directive was presented, it was received by EDF and its members with mixed feelings. It was well accepted because of the fact that the European Commission, so soon after the entry in force of article 13, had made use of their right to initiative. But there were worries because the directive's scope was only limited to employment and vocational training.

As an active EDF member, IF participated in the run-up to the adoption of the Employment Directive and participates to the promotion of  the campaign in support of a Disability Specific Directive.

Read  the Disability Specific Directive

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