MILLIONS OF EUROPEANS WITH DISABILITIES EXCLUDED FROM THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE
Brussels, 9 May 2014 | Today, on the day of Europe, less than two weeks before the European elections, EDF deplores that millions of persons with disabilities are being excluded from their right to vote.
For the first time in the EU history, the outcome of the elections will directly determine who becomes president of the European Commission, with top candidates from the different political forces running paneuropean campaigns.
In this crucial time of crisis in Europe, every vote counts and every voice should be heard!
EDF calls on the EU and the Members States to remove restrictions preventing citizens with disabilities from enjoying the rights to vote and to stand as candidate, guaranteed by EU Treaties, the EU Charter and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). We also call on the European Commission to take measures to ensure that the right to vote in European elections enshrined in the Treaties is enforced for all citizens.
NOT ACCESSIBLE MORE THAN HALF OF THE POLLING STATIONS IN EUROPE
The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has unveiled the main findings of its EU-wide survey on the right to political participation of persons with disabilities in the EU. The survey, for which FRA cooperated with EDF, confirms that persons with disabilities face major barriers preventing them from enjoying the fundamental right to vote and to stand as candidate:
- Only 12 EU Member States out of 28 have accessibility standard for all polling stations. Moreover, most of standards focus only on persons with physical impairments, so they still exclude other persons with disabilities.
- In most Member States, the official websites providing instructions for voting and information on candidates do not meet the internationally recognised standards for internet accessibility.
ACCESSIBILITY OF TV DEBATES
The top candidates participate in a series of historic TV debates. But without sign language interpretation, nor subtitling, the first two debates broadcasted on France24 on 9 April and on Euronews on 28 April failed to reach all Europeans and excluded millions of persons with disabilities.
It is crucial that the upcoming TV debates between the top candidates, which contribute to provide information to voters across Europe in a moment that is particularly critical for Europe and its citizens, are accessible to citizens with disabilities.
In view of today's TV debate, EDF contacted the organisers to receive their commitment that the debate foresees sign language interpretation and that the venue is accessible for persons with disabilities. EDF also calls on all broadcasters and organisers to follow that example.
The European disability movement campaigns for inclusion!