SINN Féin MEP Martina Anderson will host representatives of the Disability Rights sector in her Office at Spencer House, Waterside, Derry tomorrow, Friday, April 1 at 11 am.
Speaking in advance of the meeting Ms Anderson said:
“I am looking forward to once more hearing from those involved in the Disability Sector and to assess any progress or further concerns since we last met and to listen to their ideas.
“Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Maeve McLaughlin and Justice Spokesperson Raymond McCartney will also be on hand to answer queries on the health, justice and legislative aspects of disability rights.
“It’s important to recognise from the outset that human rights protections for disabled citizens in the North are already behind other regions and that the sector faces further threat from the planned repeal of the 1998 Human Rights Act by the British government.
“As Vice-Chair of the Inter-parliamentary Group on Disability at the EU Parliament and Rapporteur of the opinion on the UN convention of the Right of Persons with Disability and I have submitted a first draft opinion on the issue which was widely circulated in the disability sector in Ireland.
“This opinion included, calling on the EU Council to adopt the 2008 proposal for a directive on implementing the principal of equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
“And for the EU institutions to take a particular focus on the rights of children with disabilities, assess current EU compatibility with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and work to remove all obstacles faced by them in their day to day life.
“Recognising that vulnerable members of society are further marginalised by their disability the EU should redouble efforts to accommodate fully the provision of rights and services for all people, including stateless people, homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.
“The submission also expressed concern at the stated aim of the British Government to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act, the parliamentary act which gives effect to the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Sinn Féin is also lobbying for the full and immediate implementation of the EU Accessibility Act and opening up of EU funding streams to groups representing persons with disabilities.
“We are also calling on the EU institutions to ‘human rights proof’ all future legislation and to assess the compatibility of EU legislation with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“All those interested in the rights of the disabled are welcome to the discussion,” she added.