MDAC advocates before various European bodies. At the European Union level we are pleased the Disability Strategy 2010-2020 takes a rights-based approach, but we would want the EU to step up monitoring of human rights compliance in Member States, not just in countries wishing to join the EU.

At the Council of Europe level, we submit cases to, and intervene in cases before, the European Court of Human Rights. Currently we are involved in around 25 pending cases. We also cooperate with the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and are holding a seminar in November 2011 in Strasbourg, focusing on how international monitoring bodies can prevent ill-treatment against people with intellectual disabilities and psycho-social disabilities. We have worked with the European Committee of Social Rights, having taken the case MDAC v. Bulgaria which challenges the discriminatory denial of education for children with intellectual disabilities. When the opportunity arises MDAC has engaged with political bodies such as the Parliamentary Assembly which has issued a strong Resolution in 2009 on the rights of people with disabilities.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe has been a key ally to the disability rights movement, and has produced several documents of relevance for MDAC’s work, including on legal capacity, on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, on the need to monitor institutions and, most recently, on the right to vote. Commissioner Hammarberg also wrote the Foreword to MDAC’s guidelines on Article 33 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

MDAC is carrying out advocacy before the Venice Commission to ensure that this body supports universal suffrage for people with disabilities. MDAC sent a legal opinion and acted in an NGO coalition of many NGOs, held a public discussion, and was invited to address the June 2011 plenary session of the Commission.

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