The State must be held to account on its approach to the rights of persons with disabilities, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“The Commission”) stated on 1 October.
The Commission made the call as it launches a nation-wide campaign for people with disabilities to serve on the first ever statutory advisory committee in Ireland to support monitoring of Ireland’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Furthermore, new IHREC/ESRI Research Shows People with Disabilities Much More Likely to Experience Discrimination.
The Disability Advisory Committee is being brought together by the Commission to support its statutory function of monitoring Ireland’s implementation of the Convention. The twelve-member Committee will be made up of a majority of persons with disabilities.
The CRPD was ratified by Ireland in 2018 more than a decade after being first signed by the State and is now in force. Ireland is expected to produce its first report to the United Nations in Geneva on its implementation of the Convention in 2020.
The recruitment to the Advisory Committee comes alongside new research, published by the Commission and the ESRI entitled “Disability and Discrimination in Ireland” which highlights a substantial discrimination gap between people with and without disabilities.
The findings of the report include:
- People with disabilities continue to experience higher levels of discrimination compared to those without. Although discrimination has decreased over time, a gap remains with 16 per cent of people with disabilities reporting discrimination compared to 11 per cent of people without disabilities in 2014.
- The effect of discrimination on the lives of people with disabilities is more serious than for those without a disability. Just under half of people with a disability who experience discrimination report the effects as either “serious” or “very serious”, compared to just over 30% of people without a disability.
- Approximately one in every five reports of discrimination among people with disabilities concerns health services – more than any other setting.
- Compared to those without disabilities, people with disabilities were much less likely to experience discrimination in the labour market. The low prevalence of reporting of labour market discrimination by people with disabilities is entirely due to lower rates of labour market participation.
- When accessing public services – health, education and transport, and private services – shops, pubs and restaurants, people with disabilities also reported higher levels of discrimination compared to those without disabilities.
- Controlling for a range of factors, the report shows that people who are blind or have a psychological/emotional disability are much more likely to experience discrimination across different social settings. Those who are deaf or have an intellectual disability were found, however, not to differ from people without disabilities in their experiences of discrimination.
Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:
Over 13% of Ireland’s population have a disability, that signifies over 643,000 people who are looking to this Convention, and Ireland’s implementation of it, to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
Viewing disability from a human rights perspective involves an evolution in thinking and acting by States and all sectors of society so that persons with disabilities are no longer considered to be recipients of charity or objects of others’ decision-making but as active participants in the exercise of their rights. It is about celebrating human diversity.
Co-author of the report, Dr. Joanne Banks of the ESRI stated:
Although there has been a considerable reduction in the prevalence of discrimination among people with disabilities, there remains a substantial ‘discrimination gap’ between those with and those without disabilities. The findings point to the need for greater awareness among policy makers and service providers of discrimination in social settings such as accessing health services.
Equinet Work on UNCRPD
On 3-4 October 2018, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Network of Equality Bodies’ (Equinet) host a training event for equality bodies and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on the Engagement of the article 33(2) Independent Monitoring Mechanisms (IMMs) with the UNCRPD Committee and Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs).
The aim of the training session is to increase and support strategic capacity of equality bodies and NHRIs to engage with the UNCRPD Committee and DPOs.