8 September 2023

Ministers and representatives of associations take part in the previous National Disability Conference, on February 11, 2020, at the Elysée, Paris.

Eventually, they won’t go. Associations for the defense of the rights of people with disabilities, united in the Collectif Handicaps, have decided to boycott the National Conference on Disability (CNH), which is to be held on Wednesday April 26 at the Elysée Palace. Denouncing a lack of ambition, the collective, meeting in an extraordinary general assembly on the evening of April 24, had decided to condition its presence on the possibility of a “political speech before the President of the Republic”. The Elysée having proposed “formats” which do not suit him, the Collectif Handicaps confirmed to the World that he was boycotting the meeting.

The associations denounce, in fact, an event described as below the stakes, while the CNH is supposed to launch the quinquennium on the policy of the handicap. A good part of the government should also be meeting on Wednesday – including the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne – around Jean-Christophe Combe, Minister for Solidarity, Autonomy and People with Disabilities, and Geneviève Darrieussecq, Minister Delegate in charge of people with disabilities. Elected officials, local authorities, administrations, companies and unions are also invited. Some member associations of the Collectif Handicaps will be able, on an individual basis, to participate in the debates, warns the presidency of the collective.

According to the Elysée, the afternoon should take place in four stages: two round tables will present the conclusions of the working groups which were held upstream of this day, around accessibility and education. There will then be a time for discussions with the ministers, and finally the speech of the Head of State. The Elysée promises “strong announcements” who will have “immediate implications for the next three years”. In total, 70 measures should be presented, we are assured. It should in particular be a question of the “effectiveness of rights” around the question of education and accessibility.

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Real delay on accessibility

For associations, the account will not be there. “We are waiting for the expression of an important political course, but the way in which this conference was prepared suggests the opposite”, denounces Arnaud de Broca, the president of the Collectif Handicaps, which brings together 52 associations. On the Elysée side, we are nevertheless pleased with the few “forty meetings”, on eight different working groups, organized under the leadership of the various ministries concerned and bringing together associative actors and local authorities. “It is not because we bring people together in a room that there are real exchanges, a real debate”notes, for his part, Arnaud de Broca, for whom the fact of not having ” no information “ on Wednesday’s announcements is rather ” bad sign “. The associations also demand that the measures, whatever they are, be associated with real budgetary efforts that can guarantee their “effectiveness”.

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