Joint Committee on Disability Matters statement on the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities is being celebrated today, Friday 3 December, to ‘promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.’
This is a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disabilities and acknowledge and address the barriers and challenges they still face in our society.
Ireland’s Parliament is among the first in the world to establish a Committee with the express purpose of monitoring the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and making practical recommendations for its further advancement.
The Joint Committee on Disability Matters recognises the leading voice that people with disabilities have actively taken in developing the UNCRPD and it is vital that this voice continues to meaningfully inform the implementation of the Convention. This is crucial in a society, which has marginalised and excluded people with disabilities throughout history.
The demand ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ delivers a powerful call to achieve full participation and equalisation of opportunities for, by and with people with disabilities across every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life and in the decisions affecting disabled people’s lives. The Committee continues this call on International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Since its establishment, the Committee has been focused on ensuring the lived experience and analysis of those with a disability, their family carers and Disabled Persons Organisations inform the work of the Committee, and that their concerns and ideas are listened to and acted upon.
The Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD, which Ireland has not yet ratified, introduces two procedures to strengthen the implementation of the Convention, an individual communications procedure, and an inquiry procedure.
The Committee believe that timely ratification of the Optional Protocol is important to ensure that the voice that people with disabilities have actively taken under the Convention, is not silenced, and therefore, the Committee urge the Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD early in 2022.
Committee membership. Deputies: Michael Moynihan (Chair), Pauline Tully (Vice-Chair), Holly Cairns, Seán Canney, Emer Higgins, Neasa Hourigan, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, John Paul Phelan, Violet-Anne Wynne. Senators: Alice-Mary Higgins, Erin McGreehan, Fiona O’Loughlin, Mary Seery Kearney.
Photo caption: Pictured L-R – Deputy Pauline Tully, Senator Alice Mary Higgins, Deputy Sean Canney, Deputy Holly Cairns, Senator Eugene Murphy, Deputy Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, Committee Chair – Deputy Michael Moynihan