This year’s European Day of Persons with Disabilities marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). As of today, 27 the 28 EU Member States have ratified the Convention (except Ireland) but a few have done it with reservations and declarations and not all countries fully respect all the rights protected by the CRPD. EDF (European Disability Forum) and EURO-CIU calls the countries to withdraw their Reservations and restrictive Declarations to the CRPD as they are incompatible with the object and purpose of the CRPD. According to article 46 of the CRPD and according to principles of international public law, these Reservations and Declarations shall not be permitted.
The winners of the European Access City Awards were announced by the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis together with the Belgian actor Pascal Duquenne and the Italian Olympic Athlete, Beatrice Vio. This is the European wide award that rewards cities for their efforts in becoming accessible to all.
The winner of 2017 Access City Award is: Chester, UK!. The 2nd prize goes to Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the 3rd prize to Jurmala, Latvia.
Special mentions were given to:
- Lugo, Spain (Special mention on Smart Cities)
- Funchal, Portugal (Special mention on Continued Commitment to Accessibility in difficult geographic circumstances)
- Alessandria, Italy (Special mention o Continued Commitment to Accessiiblity in challenging times)
- Skellefteå, Sweden (Special mention on Accessible work environments)
The EU just adopted a directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps
The European Parliament adopted today the ‘Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications of Public Sector Bodies’ (Web Directive). From now on, all websites and mobile applications, including the electronic documents and multimedia, of public authorities in Europe have to be accessible to a wide range of users including 80 million people with disabilities. This is a crucial milestone to achieve an inclusive digital society in which people with disabilities and other users have access to online services and information on an equal footing to other people; this is a right enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) that the EU has ratified.
Last month, our corresponding members The Ear Foundation with EURO-CIU support, prepared a conference in Brussels called "Adult Hearing Loss: Europe's growing challenge". This conference was a platform to launch their last report "Spent to Save" which you can find at the end of this article.
"The evidence is now clear that the cost of NOT providing hearing technologies has been shown to be greater than the cost of providing them."
After the success of neonatal screening, now the fight is to achieve adult hearing screening.
Adult hearing loss is one of the most challenging health and social issues facing Europe today, leading to substantial costs to the individual and to public services. It deprives people of the ability to communicate effectively and affects every facet of their lives.
So why does the impact of hearing loss go unnoticed and unaddressed?
In many countries, with increasing ageing populations and associated health costs, access to hearing technologies may be denied, or the long-term management not provided.