EDF Proposal for a Disability Specific European Directive

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The European Disability Forum has presented a renewed call for a European Directive for promoting equality and fighting against discrimination of disabled people.

The current paper is a follow-up to an earlier proposal of EDF. In 2003 after an extensive consultation procedure with its members and legal experts that lasted 24 months, EDF argued that a disability specific non-discrimination Directive which went beyond employment should be proposed by the Commission, and presented a text which it felt should be the model for that proposal. The goal of the current paper is to further reflect on that proposal and to set out cogent arguments on the need for further Community legislation to combat disability discrimination.

EDF believes that a future Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment for persons with disabilities must be a broad and comprehensive document. The Directive will have to prohibit direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, and discrimination in the form of an unjustified failure to make a reasonable accommodation. In addition harassment and an instruction to discriminate against persons on the grounds of disability should also be deemed to be discrimination. The material scope of the directive must be broad, covering social protection and social security; health care; social advantages; education; access to and supply of services, facilities and goods which are available to the public; access to information and procedures; access to buildings, telecommunication, transport modes and other public spaces and facilities; education; and images of persons with disabilities in the media. The Directive must also address remedies and enforcement, and provide for the establishment of a body or bodies for the promotion of equal treatment with regard to disability.

A revised version of the EDF proposal, in line with the new international human rights framework on persons with disabilities, and policy and legislative developments at EU level, will be presented at the end of 2007.

Download the full text of the proposal in PDF format from the right-hand panel.