European & International News

European Disability Forum launches ’Freedom Guide’

[Brussels, 01 March 2012] On 29 February, MEP Ádám Kósa welcomed European Disability Forum in the European Parliament for a successful launch of the Freedom Guide. The Freedom Guide aims at revealing, through concrete cases, the benefits that could be brought by a strong and binding European Accessibility Act. It gathers contributions from the disability movement, experts from NGOs, from the industry and academics.

Ana Peláez, member of the EDF Executive Committee, presented EDF’s new tool, stressing that the full enjoyment of freedom of movement is key for all persons with disabilities, and for progress towards equal opportunity.

The European Women’s Lobby supports the Freedom Guide and the work of the EDF, which is an European member organisation of the EWL.

Why freedom of movement?

Freedom of movement is one of the cornerstones of the European construction. Thanks to the free movement principles, millions and millions of European citizens have been able to work, establish themselves, study and travel abroad goods and services are available in all corners of Europe. However, 62,2% of Europeans with disabilities claim that existing barriers have already prevented them from traveling to another Member States.

Last year, the EU ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities, including full equality under the law. The Freedom Guide is a key tool for promoting the respect of the rights laid out in this Convention in practice, particularly for those relating to the Freedom of movement.

Bringing in the gender perspective

Ana Peláez, who is also EWL Board member of the EWL, tells us that the gender perspective needs to be guaranteed in the implementation of the Freedom Guide: "When it comes to freedom of movement for women and girls with disabilities, we face huge barriers and a great lack of understanding and knowledge. Both legal and practical circumstances limit the freedom of movement for women and girls with disabilities and mothers of children with disabilities to a greater extent that men. We have to make sure that no one is left behind, this is key to an inclusive and accessible Europe."

The EWL strongly supports this call and will continue to work to promote full human rights to all women in Europe, including women girls with disabilities.

EDF has produced seven videos on specific issues of the Freedom Guide, as part of its Freedom of Movement Campaign. Click here to watch them.

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