On the 12th-14th June 2018 EASPD Board Member, Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, attended the 11th Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). He represented EASPD, one of the very few accredited European NGO’s to the Convention.
As well as attending the Conference, Mr Hoogerwerf participated in a highly successful side event on “Assistive Technologies: services enabling independent living and inclusion", where participants shared their experiences on how assistive technologies, through the context of support service provision, can contribute to enabling individuals’ independence and participation to the community. The Conference provided the opportunity to look to the future and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Below Mr Hoogerwerf has provided a brief report of his experiences at the UN Conference and how we as service providers are helping to ensure that we leave no one behind:
“My main mission was to speak at a side event organised by EASPD (thank you Sabrina), the European Commission and the Swedish Government under the title “Assistive Technologies: services enabling independent living and inclusion”. The main points raised during my talk were related to the enabling role of technologies and the role and responsibilities of service providers in facilitating access to appropriate, affordable and adaptable person centred assistive technology solutions. A strong outcome of the session, which was held in the main conference room, was the acknowledgement of all speakers of the need to streamline access to high quality AT support services across Europe. I trust we will be able to discuss these issues further during our conference in Barcelona.
A final word about another theme that was high on the agenda in New York. Girls and women with disabilities experience multiple discrimination and worldwide they have a high risk of being victims of abuse and maltreatment. Although things in Europe might be a bit better compared to what was reported from countries like India or global warzones, I think we should never lose out of sight the occurrence and impact of gender discrimination, also in case of disability. In different sessions dedicated to this theme I have highlighted the responsibilities of service providers, the need of training for staff and the need to empower girls and women among the service users. The ENTELIS network, founded by EASPD with other European umbrella organisations, is preparing a survey on the engagement of girls and young women with and without disabilities with enabling technology and I hope that many of the EASPD members will collaborate in the data gathering.”