Lebenshilfe Marburg - Standpunkte

Making the convention increasingly effective in reality

The ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2009 marked a milestone towards equal rights in society worldwide for people with disabilities. The convention recognises the rights of people with disabilities as general human rights. It guarantees that barriers at all levels of society will be removed for people with disabilities and guarantees their right to self-determination, participation and inclusive education. It also obliges the signatories to take appropriate measures to implement its standards.

For self-help associations and special interest groups working for people with disabilities, this ratification represented a crucial success after years of work on social policy following the end of the Second World War. Important life experiences of people with disabilities and key standpoints taken by disability associations from numerous countries were included in its formulation. For the first time these were defined in a binding way for everyone as a fundamental human and civil right.

Nevertheless this partial success did not mean an end of the need for action by self-help associations in relation to social policy. There are still disagreements in discussions on changes in society and negotiation processes around the implementation of legal standards, with self-help associations assuming an important role in the realm of civic society. It is therefore evident that the commitment, knowledge, critical support and collaboration of advocacy groups are necessary in the implementation of the UN CRPD at country level.

Constructive and critical support from the outset

For this reason, since the CRPD’s ratification in 2009, the Lebenshilfe Landesverband Hessen e.V. has given considerable support to the steps being taken to implement it in the region and time and again has included the demands of people with (mental) disabilities and of Lebenshilfe organisations in discussions on social policy. Lebenshilfe was actively involved in working groups (2010) in the run-up to the drafting of the action plan by the regional government in Hesse. In Lebenshilfe’s view, the human rights standards of the CRPD and the suggestions made by self-help associations were inadequately incorporated into the plan submitted in 2011, and therefore Lebenshilfe has been a persistent critic and demanded further changes to the plan.

In 2014 and 2015, the Landesverband took a constructive but critical approach during its involvement in three of the state government’s working groups to develop the state action plan:

  • the awareness-raising working group developed ideas as to how PR work can raise awareness and empathy for the circumstances of people with disabilities and the need for an inclusive society
  • the work and employment working group developed among other things suggestions for the development of integration companies, improvement of the specialist integration service (IFD), the training institute (FBI) and the expert committee on workshops, as well as improvements in the transition from school to the workplace
  • the accessibility working group developed a wealth of suggestions, for example on the creation of an accessible living environment, embedding essential building standards
  • in building regulations in Hesse (HBO) and in the list of technical construction regulations (TBB), and improving the participation of those concerned as experts.

Have you identified barriers faced by people with disabilities? We would like to hear from you so that we can find out about them, discuss them and eventually bring them to the attention of policy makers. Together we will succeed in making the convention increasingly effective in reality. We look forward to you getting in touch.