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Media advisories Special Procedures

UN expert to visit European Union to assess rights of people with disabilities

21 March 2022

Mother with disability playing with baby girl at home © Getty Images

GENEVA (21 March 2022) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gerard Quinn, will conduct an official visit to the European Union from 21 to 31 March 2022.

The Special Rapporteur will travel to Brussels to meet with high-level representatives and experts at the European Commission, the European Parliament at the European Council, independent human rights bodies, people with disabilities and their representative organizations.

“This is my first visit to the European Union as Special Rapporteur and I am eager to learn about concrete measures that the Union is taking to implement the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD),” Quinn said.

“My mandate requires me to develop a regular dialogue with regional human rights mechanisms to advance the rights of people with disabilities. My visit will focus primarily on how the European Union - which, alongside its Member States, is itself a party to the CRPD - is performing,” the expert said.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will focus particularly on how disability rights are being addressed in the European Union, both in its own internal laws and in terms of EU foreign policy. The expert will also observe the measures taken to implement these laws, and steps taken at the EU level to assist member states to fulfil their own obligations.

“I am keen to highlight good practices that could be emulated by other regional organizations around the world. I also intend to identify challenges and gaps in the protection of the rights of people with disabilities in order to formulate constructive recommendations,” Quinn added.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference at the end of his mission to share his preliminary observations. It will take place on 31 March at 2 p.m. local time at the Press Club Brussels Europe, Rue Froissart 95, Brussels. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists, and the briefing will be live streamed on https://bit.ly/3tVCgB3. The press conference will be made accessible through live captioning and international sign language interpretation.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council, including his findings and recommendations, in March 2023.

ENDS

Gerard Quinn (Ireland) is the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, appointed by the Human Rights Council in October 2020. Mr Quinn holds two research chairs at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Human Rights in the University of Lund (Sweden) and Leeds University (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). He was the lead focal point for the global network of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) during the negotiations leading to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was head of delegation for Rehabilitation International during the UN Working Group (2004). He previously held a chair at the National University of Ireland where he founded and directed the Centre on Disability Law and Policy.

Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For media enquiries and additional information, please contact:
Veronica Forcignanò (she/her), at [email protected] and [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN experts: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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