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EU election candidates stand up for disability inclusion

29-01-2014
Three men and one woman are sitting on a panel holding up sheets of paper, to the right the European Union flag is visible
© IDDC
The IDDC European Election Statement launch was co-hosted by four MEPs (from left to right): Mr. Staes, Greens/EFA; Mrs. Harkin, ALDE; Mr. Cashman, S&D; Mr. Kaczmarek, EPP.

On 23 January 2014, the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDCC) launched its statement for the European Elections. This statement outlines how Members of European Parliament can support the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly in the field of development. The launch was hosted by representatives of four major parties, indicating the broad consensus on the importance of disability inclusion.

Background

The International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), of which CBM is an active member, organised  an event on 23 January 2014 in the European Parliament (EP) in order to officially launch its Statement for the European Elections. This statement is targeted at candidates to the EP and outlines in five simple points the different ways Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) can help to further the rights of persons with disabilities through their everyday parliamentary work, especially in the context of development cooperation.
 
It is a vital part of IDDC’s work to collaborate closely with European institutions, particularly the EP, in order to ensure the inclusion of all in development cooperation. Furthermore, with the approaching Post-2015 Framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals and with the challenge of the implementation of the new Multiannual Financial Framework, it is more important than ever to advocate through all channels to ensure persons with disabilities are not forgotten.

Outline of the Event

In that spirit, the launch was co-hosted by MEPs from four main political groups (Mr. Cashman, S&D; Mr. Kaczmarek, EPP; Mr. Staes, Greens/EFA; Mrs. Harkin, ALDE). This highlights the political consensus on the importance of including persons with disabilities in all EU policies including its external actions.  

After the introduction video from the Say Yes to Inclusion campaign, our co-hosts elaborated on why they believe that this Elections Statement should be signed by as many candidates as possible to the EP and enthusiastically endorsed the cause of the rights of persons with disabilities in European development cooperation. Other MEPs who were present at this launch also intervened and signed the Statement.

Looking to the Future

Now IDDC, along with all its national members, will keep on talking to various MEPs and get them to sign this statement before the European Elections in May. Encouraged by the strong support from the first signatories, it is clear that this election statement has the potential to bring the rights of persons with disabilities to the attention of many candidates in the European elections. Through its activities, IDDC will work to translate that potential into concrete actions by parliamentarians over the next term.    

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