The Law Society of Ireland is calling on the State to “realise its international obligations to Irish people with disabilities” this International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December 2021).
In March 2018, some 11 years after it first committed to do so, the Irish State ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD is an international treaty designed to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. It did not create any new rights but rather enshrined existing rights into one treaty.
An Optional Protocol to the CRPD provides a mechanism for individual people with disabilities to make a complaint to the United Nations. Ireland has not yet ratified this Protocol.
The Law Society made this and an extensive list of other detailed recommendations to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities in a submission to the Dept. of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth earlier this year.
Chair of the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equality Committee, Gary Lee said, “We are extremely concerned at the failure of the State to meaningfully progress the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland. We welcome the Government commitment to commence the Decision Support Service in July 2022 and abolish the archaic Wards of Court system. However, the long promised Disability Bill seems to have fallen off the legislative agenda, we also need to urgently progress Mental Health legislation and protection of liberty safeguards.”
“On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities we call on the State to realise its international obligations to Irish people with disabilities”.
According to Mr Lee, “Domestic legislation urgently needs to be brought into line with the CRPD. Furthermore, the failure to ratify the Optional Protocol denies our citizens with disabilities the mechanism to hold the Irish State accountable. Ireland is in the minority in this regard, the majority of countries having already ratified this Protocol.”
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