January 9, 2022
United Nations Convention should be made law to secure disability rights in north – Kearney

Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD) into law is key to ensuring the needs of people with disabilities are fully met.

Writing for An Phoblacht, the junior minister in the Executive Office said:

“A few weeks ago, the Stormont Assembly chamber hosted the inaugural Disabled People’s Parliament which was timed to coincide with the ‘International Day of People with Disabilities’ and I had the privilege to address the event as Junior Minister in the Executive Office.

“Fourteen speakers presented their perspectives and experiences as both activists and people with disabilities, on why a change to the law based on the UNCPRD is essential to secure proper legal support, rights, and equality for themselves, and all disabled people in the north. 

“What’s clear is that our society remains largely passive, blind and deaf to the huge challenges facing disabled people. 

“Legislation and public policy must be future-proofed to reflect the needs of people with disabilities.

“It is obvious that incorporation of the UNCPRD into legislation is key to achieving that objective. 

“Our power-sharing Executive has a responsibility to uphold the rights of all citizens in the north of Ireland and it needs to become fully engaged with the conversation about incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into law in this region.

“Already the Department for Communities, headed up by Sinn Féin Minister Deirdre Hargey, is leading on work to develop, by a process of co-design, a new Executive Disability Strategy as part of a suite of social inclusion strategies detailed in ‘New Decade New Approach’ commitments.

“The Disability Strategy Expert Advisory Panel has recommended that consideration is now given to how the UNCRPD could best be given legal effect.

“The disability rights framework in the north must reflect international standards.

“It has to match the needs and expectations of our citizens with disabilities. That cannot be achieved without their full, democratic participation.

“Disability rights are human rights. There should be no legal or financial impediment to securing these standards.” 

Read the full blog here: https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28239

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