Help DREAM respond to the public consultation on Article 9 – Accessibility of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Logo

UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Logo

The DREAM network will be responding to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ general comment on Article 9 – Accessibility.

We would be honoured if you would join with us in making this contribution to the Committee. Therefore we invite you to send a formal statement or informal comments, thoughts, ideas, etc. by November 15th to anthonyg@nova.no so that we can take advantage of this opportunity.

We will compile the comments and draft and distribute our response to the consultation in January 2014.

The general comment outlines the normative content, state obligations, and inter-sectional issues related to accessibility.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to to leave a comment, and thank you for your contribution!

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DREAM Panel – Disability Policy in Crisis – accepted to 20th International Conference of Europeanists

cover of conference brochureA panel submission by DREAM ESRs Stelios CharitakisG. Anthony Giannoumis, and Ieva Eskyte will be presented at the 20th International Conference of Europeanists 25 to 27 June 2013 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The panel titled “Disability Policy in Crisis – Legal, Public Policy and Practical Approaches” will be chaired by Dr. Mark Davis, and Dr. Thomas Campbell will be acting as the discussant.

The panel will be divided into three sections:

  • Austerity measures in Greece: Do they violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? presented by Stelios Charitakis
  • Disability.eu – the impact of the crisis on the participation of persons with disabilities on the web presented by G. Anthony Giannoumis
  • Accessible Private Market for Disabled People? Crisis in Policy and Market Practices presented by Ieva Eskyte

Panel Summary: The austerity measures that have been adopted throughout Europe have put pressure to the beneficiaries of social welfare, most significantly minorities. As a minority group, disabled people are facing significant reductions or cuts to their benefits. Households with people with impairments are more vulnerable because they have lower than average household incomes. At the same time, a crucial shift on how disabled people are perceived has emerged from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This UN Treaty marked the shift from the medical model of disability that focused on the impairment of disabled people and was expressed through social welfare benefits, to the social model that promotes full participation and inclusion for people with disabilities through the removal of barriers to equal and active participation in society. States are not the only ones responsible for the implementation of this approach. The private sector in general can be and should be, according to the Convention, leading that cause. Furthermore, the Convention focuses particular attention on information and communication technology (ICT), because of the important role it plays in ensuring social inclusion and full participation in society for disabled people.

The first speaker will take a legal approach. They will examine the case of cutbacks in Greece and will identify the measures that have been taken to reduce the benefits for people with disabilities. The discussion will include whether these measures amount to a violation of the CRPD or whether they are justified, according to Human Rights law. Finally, whether these measures can be seen as an opportunity to change the medical model approach and focus more on the social model approach and what measures Greece have taken to that respect will be considered.

The second speaker will take a public policy approach. They will compare regulatory regimes in the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States, focusing particularly on the social regulation of ICT service providers. The discussion will include the impact of the economic crisis on policy implementation in terms of the choice of policy tools (legislative, incentive, or hortatory). Finally regulatory enforcement of web design will be discussed in terms of standard setting, monitoring, certification and compliance.

The third speaker will take a practice oriented approach. They will examine practical measures that need to be taken by governments in order to achieve a more accessible private market for disabled people. The discussion will cover the impact of economic crisis on disabled shoppers’ position and patterns in the market as well as on experiences of sellers and producers of ICT. The discussion will be framed in Habermas’ life world colonization theory and informed by the position of the EU through a discussion of pertinent policy documents.

Invitation to the DREAM Network-Wide Event in Madrid, Spain: Friday 15 June 2012

The DREAM Initial Training Network and Fundosa Technosite would like to invite you to the  DREAM Network-Wide Event on Cost-Benefit Analysis on Disability: Approaches, Practices and Impact of the European Union’s Policy on eAccessibility.

Topics covered will include approaches and results of cost benefit analysis studies, accessibility policy and practice in the banking sector, key aspects of costs and benefits in accessibility and policy traits of the UN CRPD and the DREAM network.

Guest speakers include Mr. Jesus Hernandez, Director of Universal Accessibility at ONCE Foundation; Ms. Blanca Alcanda, CEO at Technosite; Dr. Jose Angel Martinez Usero, Director of International Projects and Relations at Technosite; Prof. Gerard Quinn, Project Coordinator of DREAM ITN Network; Prof. Thea van der Geest, University of Twente; and and Mr. Josep Marti Salat, ATM business development manager at “la Caixa”.

Time:
The morning of 15 of June 2012

RSVP:
If you are interested in participating and would like to receive a full programme please send an email to: dream@technosite.es before 12 June 2012 including your name, position and organization.

DREAM “Leeds” the way

The week of 13 February, the DREAM ESRs were hosted by the University of Leeds for a week-long training and network event. The event was divided into four themes coinciding with the DREAM focus areas, Disability, Rights, Accessibility and Markets.

Disability

  • Colin Barnes presented a reflection on the social model of disability
  • Rannveig Traustadottir explained the Nordic understanding of disability in an international context
  • Mark Priestley demonstrated the materialist, idealist and realist approaches to disability

Rights

  • Theresia Degener described rights, non-discrimination and intersectionality
  • Lisa Waddington explained the evolution of international and European human rights instruments from a disability perspective
  • Dagmar Schiek demonstrated non-discrimination and intersectionality in Europe

Accessibility

  • Anna Lawson showed how to think about accessibility and reasonable accommodation
  • Roberto Torena presented European initiatives for measuring eAccessibility
  • Patricia Rubio described the economic assessment of eAccessibility

Markets

  • Mark Davis presented consumerism and markets and discussed whether the market can deliver equality and social inclusion for disabled people in Europe

Also in attendance were Rea Maglajlić from the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, Jamie Bolling from the European Network on Independent Living, and Luk Zelderloo from the DREAM Research to Practice Advisory Forum.

The week-long event, though mentally exhausting, was a resounding success. It enabled the DREAM ESRs to become familiar with new topic areas, discuss opportunities for exploring new directions in research, and rekindled enthusiasm for collaboration and partnership. Copies of the presentations may be requested by contacting the authors directly.

The next DREAM event will be in June, hosted by Technosite in Madrid. Looking forward to another amazing experience!

Commissioner Quinn hosts DREAM Meeting

EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, met researchers from the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at a meeting in Brussels in November 2011. The meeting was arranged by the CDLP as part of its EU FP7 DREAM (Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets) Initial Training Network. Professor Quinn and the DREAM consortium offered the Commissioner an overview of their project and the Commissioner spoke to the group about research funding in the EU and, in particular, the next funding phase Horizon 2020.

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