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UN CRPD Committee issues findings on Estonia and calls for inclusion

Disabled man in wheelchair outdoor in the sun

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has published its findings on Estonia, which it examined during its latest session.

The Committee recognised steps taken by Estonia to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which it ratified in 2012. It noted the State party’s important engagement with disability rights’ organisations, through dialogue and funding. The Committee also welcomed Estonia’s appointment of the Chancellor of Justice as the independent focal point within the government for matters relating to the implementation of the Convention.

The Committee made the following key recommendations:

  • Eliminate disability stigma and stereotypes in all areas of life, including in the context of prenatal genetic testing;
  • Ensure appropriate support, inclusive quality education, and social protection systems for all children with disabilities at the municipal level, including during COVID-19, and redress the situation of children living in poverty and who have been denied disability status as a consequence of policy reforms;
  • Stop putting children and adults with disabilities in institutions, and redirect public funds, including from the European Regional Development Fund allocated by the European Union, to develop individualized support, and ensure that people live independently and included in the community;
  • Abolish employment in sheltered workshop. Promote work in the open labour market for persons with disabilities by facilitating their access to transport, and by providing alternative means of information and communication such as sign language and speech to text interpretation for job seekers and employees with disabilities.

The Committee also called upon Estonia to refrain from supporting the draft additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Oviedo Convention on bioethics, which if adopted, would allow involuntary institutionalization and the use of coercion in psychiatry against persons with psychosocial disabilities, undermining Estonia’s legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

CRPD’s findings on Estonia are now available online. The Committee is due to hold its next session from 16 August to 10 September to review Bangladesh, Djibouti, France, Jamaica, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

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