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ERG signs Disability Federation MOU: ‘disability is a majority issue – just look at our own families”

L to R bottom row, Matthew Turnock, GDRF, Charles Trico, ERG Secretary, Atrish Sanchez, GDRF Chair, Felix Alvarez, ERG Chair & Above row: L to R, Lyana Armstrong-Emery, ERG Committee member, Manolo Ruiz, Chair Senior Citizens Association

‘It’s been a real pleasure to see how not only disability groups but other NGOs within our community are responding positively to the Gibraltar Disability Rights Federation (GDRF),’ Atrish Sanchez, Federation Chair explained today in a statement to the media following a formal signing ceremony.

‘We are particularly pleased to have received the Equality Rights Group (ERG), a group which has been established in Gibraltar now for several decades as a foremost human and civil rights defender. And all members of the Federation have been unanimous in inviting the ERG to join us in our aim of working towards the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. An objective and mission which is necessary in order to bring Gibraltar up-to-date in fully applying the human and civil rights of the disabled of this community, not partially as is the case at the moment.’

ERG was represented at the signing by Felix Alvarez, ERG Chair, along with Charles Trico, Secretary, and Committee member Lyana Armstrong-Emery.

Alvarez commented that ‘the fifteen groups currently represented by the Federation are as one in their determination to press for a fuller understanding and enjoyment of rights for the diverse requirements of our disabled. The present legal framework falls short and is inadequate, lacking as it does the courage to reflect the full dignity that the rest of our society enjoys as citizens. We welcome Together Gibraltar’s support for the Federation’s aim of full adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and trust that they will stand fully by their pledges without dilution. In all justice for the advancement of Gibraltar, the GSLP/Liberal government and the GSD Official Opposition should also pledge their formal support for the integral application of the Convention, no ifs or buts.

‘Human and civil rights for all’ is our motto in ERG, and, of course, we are honoured to have joined the Federation in the crucial work before them, and now to have sealed that solid commitment with our signatures on the Federation’s Memorandum of Understanding. ERG will contribute with heart and soul to the Federation’s just goals.

‘In 2021, there can be no more excuses or partial solutions, because disability happens not just to a small sector of our community, it comes to all of us with age to a greater or lesser degree. It is a majority issue. We only need to look at members of our own families. And it’s for us all that this Convention must be fully implemented. Democracy in Gibraltar cannot be complete until all citizens can participate equally in all spheres of life. Atrish Sanchez as Chair, and the Federation we are now a part of, have our solid and unwavering support,’ Chairman Felix Alvarez stated.