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GDRF calls out on delays to full implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Photo by David Parody.

The Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation has questioned whether people in Gibraltar are “less deserving” than their UK counterparts following delays to the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Federation said it is not satisfied with the explanations from the Government, where it says that according to the Chief Minister, the onus of this extension is placed on the United Kingdom which refused to extend the convention as Gibraltar cannot meet its obligations.

“This explanation does not wash with the GDRF who highlights that at the Governments convenience international legislation and EU directives have historically been implemented into local legislation,” the Federation said in a statement.

“There is nothing more imperative then, than implementing legislation that affords persons with disabilities rights and protections.”

“There should be no qualms in ensuring that this is made a reality.”

It has now asked for a written reply to a letter sent to the Chief Minister in July, 2021.

“The GDRF is severely concerned about the rights and protections afforded to persons with disabilities locally,” the Federation said.

“And this is indeed an issue recently brought to the attention of the Government in a meeting at No.6 Convent Place with clear examples of why a review based around the full implementation of the UN Convention and the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should be conducted forthwith.”

“The examples are wide ranging, from fewer protections that afford persons with disabilities equal recognition before the law, poor commitment to the life-long development and learning of persons with disabilities and poor or non-existent legislation and enforcement in the area of reasonable adjustments and accessibility, to name a few.”

The GDRF said it is dismayed at the slow progress made in this area because change is needed and it is of vital importance to some of the most vulnerable.

It said that the current state of law and practise “leaves a lot to be desired” and that it is “not good enough”.

“For the sake of persons with disabilities, some of whom are in wholly inappropriate settings, and arguably languishing with fewer rights than their non-disabled counterparts, an improved version of the Disability Bill and other affected legislation is of utmost urgency,” the Federation said.

“It is profoundly unfair, to say the least, that persons with disabilities  and their families, should wait any longer.”

“Our Government officials must finally recognise the internationally accepted fact - Disability Rights are Human Rights and should not continue to be subjected to the reliance of ministerial discretions within a modern day democracy like ours.”

 

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