“Persons with disabilities have the right to have good conditions in the workplace, to live independently, to equal opportunities, to participate fully in the life of their community. All have a right to a life without barriers. And it is our obligation, as a community, to ensure their full participation in society, on an equal basis with others.” – Ursula Von Der Leyen, EU Commission President
James Cawley, our Business Development Executive, Disability Rights Activist and Member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) has been selected as a European Disability Forum candidate to represent Disabled people at the Fifth European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities (EPPD) taking place in Brussels on 23rd May 2023. The delegation is being facilitated by the Disability Federation of Ireland.
The EPPD is a platform to discuss the rights of persons with disabilities and decide on the political demands of the European disability movement. The event is a critical component of person-centred disability-rights promotion by Disabled people through their rallying mantra of ‘Nothing about us without us’, which plays a critical role in the formulation of disability law and policy in the EU. In addition, the EPPD empowers persons with disabilities to monitor and readjust disability policies that will have a profound effect on their future autonomy, freedoms and personal decision-making capacity in the eyes of the law. It represents a vital instrument to further empower persons with disabilities to ensure that they can enjoy equal rights and legal status in contemporary European society.
“I am thrilled to be selected to go to the parliament in May and to bring my lived experience and activism to this collective event. I believe the delegation is a strong and committed team of disabled people with diverse perspectives and lived experience who will engage with their disabled colleagues from all member states. I think it is so important more now than ever that Disabled people speak up for themselves or join a collective space where they feel they can be heard. As an activist I’m willing to bring that single advocacy piece into collective activism and this is the opportunity to do so”.
This EPPD session aims to further improve the rights of persons with disabilities residing within the borders of the EU by addressing the issues of ‘freedom of movement’ and ‘full participation’, as well as ‘combating inequality, social exclusion and poverty’. It is hoped that this will build on the achievements of the European Disability Strategy 2010 – 2020, and complement the current strategic goals of the SRPD 2021 – 2030 which aims to enable persons with disabilities to:
• Enjoy EU Rights
• Live Independently and Autonomously
• Participate and be Protected from Discrimination
James has worked in numerous capacities and functions in the areas of education and disability rights advocacy. He has represented persons with disabilities in Public Sector and Governmental bodies. He recently served on the Government’s Disability Stakeholder Group (DSG 6) after being appointed to the group by Anne Rabbitte TD, the then incumbent Minister of State for Disability.