Inclusion Ireland condemns 10-year delay in ratifying UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and calls on State to ratify without delay

INCLUSION IRELAND PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, March 30th 2017

Inclusion Ireland condemns 10-year delay in ratifying UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and calls on State to ratify without delay

Inclusion Ireland has called on the Government to publish a new timescale to finally ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) without any further delay.

Ireland has today reached the ignominious 10-year anniversary of signing the UNCRPD without ratification. The UNCRPD, which was signed with great fanfare on March 30th 2007, is seen as providing a blueprint for improving the rights of persons with disabilities in Ireland.

Ireland’s failure to ratify the UNCRPD is clear evidence that people with disabilities have not been a priority for successive Governments in Ireland over the past decade.

Ireland remains the only country in the European Union that has failed to ratify the UNCRPD after the Netherlands and Finland ratified it last year. This Convention is an important international agreement which requires states to ensure, protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

Successive Governments have failed to ratify the UNCRPD with the previous Government introducing a ‘Roadmap to Ratification’ in October 2015 which outlined all the legislative changes to be undertaken to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention, along with the estimated timeframe involved. This Roadmap has not been delivered upon.

The Government must publish a new timescale for ratification of the UNCRPD which includes the following:

• Full commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

• The publication of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to ensure all remaining legislative barriers are removed

• The introduction of legislation that ensures safeguards against deprivation of liberty

Inclusion Ireland is one of several organisations organising a protest outside Leinster House calling for the State to ratify the Convention on today outside Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 at 11.00am.

Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland Campaigns & Policy Lead, said:

“Ireland has waited a decade for ratification of the UNCRPD and six Ministers for Justice have put the delay down to ensuring that Ireland had brought all domestic legislation into line. Nobody, in that decade, has made it their priority and persons with disabilities have waited so long.

“The fact that the UNCRPD has not been ratified in Ireland is an international embarrassment and is a deeply worrying lack of commitment for persons with disabilities who are currently at risk of being further excluded from decisions which impact their daily lives, from employment to voting.

“The Convention sets out in clear terms that the rights of persons with disabilities are human rights and these rights apply equally to persons with disabilities; the fact that the UNCRPD will not be ratified, a decade after it was signed shows that people with disabilities in Ireland are not a priority for this Government.

“The Government must look at clearing the blockages that are preventing the ratification of the UNCRPD as quickly and effectively as possible. People with disabilities have waited 10 long years, they must wait no longer. “

NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:

(a) UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The UNCRPD is an international agreement on the rights of persons with disabilities. It does not create new rights but instead requires states to ensure, protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities. UNCRPD requires that states take extra measures to create an enabling environment and to remove the barriers that society may puts in the way of people with disabilities accessing their rights. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 in an effort to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same human rights as everyone else. Ireland signed the CPRD in March 2007. However, Ireland is one of the few Member States of the EU yet to ratify the Convention.

(b) The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on December 30th 2015. This ground-breaking legislation will result in significant improvements in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities as their ability to make decisions for themselves will be enshrined in law. The legislation also demonstrates a seismic cultural shift away from a paternalistic and ‘best interests’ approach towards persons with intellectual disabilities to a right-based approach of choice, control and consent.

(c) Roadmap to Ratification

In October 2015, Ministers Frances Fitzgerald and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin published a roadmap to Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), outlining legislative changes to be undertaken to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention, along with the estimated timeframe involved. At that time the Ministers claimed that as Ireland is a dualist State, the Constitution required the State to be in a position to meet the obligations it assumes under the terms of an international agreement from the moment of its entry into force for Ireland.

ENDS