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Netherlands

A. UN Convention status

A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention

The Netherlands signed the UN CRPD on 30 March 2007. An Approval and an Introductory Act needed for ratification were sent to the Parliament in July 2014. The ratification followed on 16 June 2016. The implementation started as of July 2016. The Act to ratify the UN CRPD acknowledges that the civil and political rights in the UN Convention should be implemented immediately upon ratifying. Other 'obligations of the Convention will be implemented gradually'.
The ratification process lasted nine years. The Dutch Constitution requires that all necessary changes in the legislation are identified in an Approval Act for ratification of any Convention. The Ratification Act declared a change of the Electoral Act and the Act on Equal Treatment on the Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness (2003) in order to implement all obligations of the CRPD. The change of the Act on Equal Treatment on the Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness broadened the scope of the Act in relation to delivery of goods and services. The change on the Electoral Act entails the obligation to make 'as much as possible but at least 25%' of polling stations accessible for people with physical disability. The Approval and Introductory Act contained a cost-benefit analysis of the implementation of the UN CRPD, that led to the broadening of the scope of the Equal Treatment Act on delivery of goods and services. It suggested three possible scenarios, from 18,4 to 106,7 million euros, when obligations are met gradually over the period of 30 years.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol

The Netherlands has not signed the Optional Protocol of the UN CRPD. The formal reason for this is that the UN CRPD grants rights that are also granted in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in which no competence of a Committee to receive and consider communications by or on behalf of individuals or groups is established. Signing the Optional Protocol of the UN CRPD would then lead to inequality between individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities. However, on 15 January 2010, the Netherlands signed the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In December 2016, a proposal to ratify this Optional Protocol was sent for advice to the State Council. The argument about inequality between individuals with and without disabilities would then suggest signing the Optional Protocol of the UN CRPD. The Government expressed concerns that ratifying optional protocols on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (and likewise the CRPD) could lead to a series of complaints on austerity measures. Furthermore, the Government wanted to explore what implications of the ratification could be for the Netherlands. The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) was commissioned to study the consequences of ratifying the Optional Protocol of the ICESCR, and whether three specific austerity measures affecting grants for students and free school manuals could be considered as a breach of the right to education. The study has been published, but without any comment so far on the results and policy implications.
The Dutch section of the International Commission of Jurists NJCM (an Association of jurists working on human rights issues) strives for the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the ICESCR. According to the NJCM, Dutch courts are traditionally very hesitant in acknowledging direct enforcement of social and economic human rights from international treaties such as the ICESCR. Signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol of the ICESCR and other treaties such as the UN CRPD and the ICRC would make it easier according to this group of jurists to enforce individual human rights in the Netherlands. The International Commission of Jurists NJCM included their plea to sign the Optional Protocol in their shadow report of 2017 before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections

The Dutch Government made the same 'interpretative declarations' on Articles 10, 14, 15, 23, 25 and 29 of the Convention upon ratifying as it did upon signing the Convention. Three additional interpretative declarations were made upon ratification (regarding Articles 14, 25 and 29) and there is also an extra interpretative declaration on General Comment No. 1 on Article 12.
Concerning Article 10: The Netherlands acknowledges that unborn human life is worthy of protection but it interprets the scope of Article 10 to the effect that such protection - and thereby the term 'human being' - is a matter for national legislation. An explicit referral is made act to the Wet Afbreking Zwangerschap 1981 (Abortion Act), Embryowet 2002 (Embryo Act) and the need to weigh different interests. There is also an explicit referral to 'situations in which unbearable and incurable suffering requires a weighing of interests between protection of human life, human dignity and good care'.
The Government proposes that the phrase in Article 14 'the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty' shall be understood such that all national legislation that refers to a 'mental impairment' shall not be considered in breach with Article 14 if this referral is meant to mean 'a danger resulting from the impairment'. This declaration refers to new legislation, the Forced Care Act (wet Zorg en dwang) and the Forced Mental Health Care Act (wet Verplichte GGZ) in which people with mental health problem or intellectual disability can be forced to accept care in closed institutions if they are considered to 'damage' themselves or others. 'Damage' is defined in the new legislation as 'life threatening danger' and 'financial damage'.
With regards to Article 23 paragraph 1(b), the Government declared that the best interests of the child shall be paramount. In the Approval Act the Dutch Government refers to a letter to the Parliament (29200, no. 228, 29 April 2004), in which a policy is announced to discourage people with intellectual disabilities to become parents.
With regard to Article 25(a), the Government interprets this that there is a right for medical professionals to withhold aid with fertility techniques for people with disability in relation to responsible parenthood if pregnancy is considered not to be in the interest of the desired child.
Another interpretative declaration is made regarding Article 25(f). The Government sees autonomy as an important principle laid down in Article 3(a) of the Convention and will interpret Article 25(f) in the light of this autonomy. This provision is interpreted such that a person’s wish to be left without medical treatment, food and fluids as part of the process to die in the last phase of life will be respected.
The Dutch Government also made an interpretative declaration that a decision of doctor to stop medical treatment (because no cure can be expected) and to withhold foods and fluids on medical grounds cannot be considered to be in breach with Art. 25(f).
The Dutch Government interprets Article 29 (a) such that 'at least' 25% of polling stations will be made accessible for people with physical disabilities by providing access for people with motor impairments and allowing assistance for people with physical disabilities if such assistance enables them to vote independently. Assistance for people with intellectual disabilities is prohibited in the Netherlands as this is considered to be in breach with the obligation to ensure secret voting and voting without intimidation.
After the publication of General Comment No.1 on Article 12, the Dutch Government stated that substituted decision-making is necessary for persons with disabilities placed under executors, mentors or ward ship. The Dutch Government does not want to accept the interpretation as laid down in General Comment No.1 that legal capacity requires supported decision-making instead of substituted decision-making. The publication of General Comment No.1 was the reason for the Dutch Government to make an additional interpretative declaration on Article 12 to make it clear that the Netherlands considers substituted decision-making as it is now regulated in its current law to be in line with Article 12. The National Human Rights Institute commissioned a report by the Free University (Vrije Universiteit) which confirms the position by the Dutch Government on General Comment on Article 12.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A4. Comprehensive review

The Dutch Constitution requires that all necessary changes in the legislation should be identified in the Approval Act for the ratification of any convention. A legal analysis of the content of the Convention and a legal analysis of the Dutch legislation was prepared and discussed in a non-public conference with legal experts in 2009. The Centre for Human Rights of the University of Utrecht was commissioned by the Dutch Government to perform a further legal impact analysis of the UNCRPD. The analysis titled 'Ratificatie...En dan? (Ratification...And then?)' was published in January 2012. The Coalition for Inclusion, an umbrella organisation of Dutch NGO’s for the rights of people with disabilities, published its own comprehensive review of existing legislation in preparation for the implementation of the UNCRPD, entitled 'Tekenen en dan...? (Signing and then...?)'. A cost-benefit analysis on accessibility of goods and services as a result of implementing the obligations of the CRPD, commissioned by Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports was conducted by the research institute SEOR. This study is entitled 'Economische gevolgen van ratificatie van het VN verdrag handicap (Economic consequences of ratification of the UNCRPD)'. Other Dutch organisations published studies on the exclusion or inclusion of people with disabilities in the light of the CRPD. All these publications, some of which are in English, are listed on the webpage of the Coalition for Inclusion.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A5. Focal point

The focal point is the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the responsible functionary is the Minister of Health Welfare and Sports. In the fourth Disability High Level Group report on the implementation of the UNCRPD, the Dutch Government states that the coordination mechanism consists of all relevant government departments and other government levels (local, provincial and regional).

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A6. Coordination mechanism

The Implementation plan for the UN CRPD does not contain specific implementation goals or methods but states that the implementation will take form of actions and coordination of actions by local municipalities, NGOs, DPOs, organisations of employers and trade unions. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports coordinates the implementation of the UN CRPD, and the Programme bureau was set up for that purpose at the Ministry. The Minister appointed three partner organisations: an alliance of organisations of people with disabilities, two cooperating organisations of employers and the association of municipalities. The partner organisations have to organise and to monitor the implementation at least once a year. These meetings will be chaired by the Minister. Once a year a report on the implementation will be submitted to the Parliament.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A7. Independent mechanism

The Netherlands has nominated The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de Mens) as an independent mechanism pursuant to Article 33.2 of the UNCRPD. It opened its doors in October 2012. The independent Dutch Equal Treatment Commission established in 1994 with the aim to promote and monitor compliance with Equal Treatment Legislation overtime merged into the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A8. Official reporting

The Netherlands ratified the UN CRPD in 2016. The Initial state report was published in July 2018.
The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights will publish an independent report on the implementation of the CRPD in December 2018. The Institute has recently developed a quantitative outcome indicators on Articles 19, 24 and 27th of the CRPD. In September 2018, a report was published based on these indicators that serve as a measurement of the implementation of the CRPD. The Coalition for Inclusion (an umbrella organisation of DPOs) is commissioned to publish a shadow report in 2019.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

A9. Shadow reporting

The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de Mens) is responsible for preparing the shadow report. The Institute prepared a system for data collection and monitoring to be used for shadow reporting and consulted for that purpose with the DPOs. The initiative resulted in a first monitoring report with statistical data on the situation of people with disability in education, labour market and independent living. The Institute published a report on personal experiences (based on online campaign that collected experiences of persons living with a disability). Furthermore, the Institute organised several meetings on specific themes such as education, legal capacity, labour, independent living and general accessibility with the representatives of NGOs, DPOs, research institutes and universities. These meetings resulted in a plan for action, called ‘Van Verdrag naar Inclusie’ (from convention to inclusion) with 16 actions defined to be taken in order to implement the CRPD.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2018-12-07

B. General legal framework

B1. Anti-discrimination legislation

The first Article of the Constitution (1983) (Grondwet) is a general clause on equality and anti-discrimination. This article names several grounds explicitly (such as sex and race) on which discrimination is prohibited. The ground of disability is not one of them. In 1994, an almost unanimous Parliament did not see a need to add the criterion ‘disability’ to the protected non-discrimination grounds in the Constitution nor in the General Act on Equal Treatment (Algemene wet gelijke behandeling behandeling) in 1994. The criterion disability was considered difficult to define. Prohibiting discrimination on grounds of disability was moreover thought to jeopardize disability-specific facilities in place. Non-disabled persons could, it was maintained, claim privileged parking places, social benefits and special accommodation.
The Council Directive 2000/78/EC, of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation led to the adoption of the Dutch Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic illness in 2003 (Wet gelijke behandeling op grond van handicap of chronische ziekte). The Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness offers protection against discrimination on any type of disability or chronic illness. Its scope was initially confined to employment, occupation, vocational education and, since 2009, primary and secondary education and housing. The scope has been extended to parts of public transport as of October 2012 and since 2017 (as a consequence of ratifying the UNCRPD) to delivery of goods and services. It is not clear what obligations exactly are required in order not to discriminate in delivering goods and services. In a Code on general accessibility the legal duty to gradually provide general accessibility is being introduced. The Dutch Human Rights Institute criticized this Code because the terms ‘gradually’ and ‘general accessibility’ are not defined, and because there is neither a clear norm on accessibility nor a time schedule for its implementation. In reaction to the critique the Government states in the Code on general accessibility that the general comment on article 9 of the UNCRPD is to be used as ‘guideline’ and action plans on accessibility are to be made by NGO’s and DPO’s per sector.
Since 2006, the Criminal Code (wetboek van strafrecht) has a clause (art 429quater) on discrimination on the ground of disability. According to an interpretation by the Dutch Government this clause can be called upon before a court if someone is legally required to provide accessibility or to provide a reasonable accommodation but deliberately ignores this requirement. Legal requirements to provide accessibility or provisions that enable people with disabilities to participate, are the Building Code 2012 (Bouwbesluit), the Social Support Act 2015 (WMO), the Mediawet 2008 (subtitling), Act on Reintegration of Labour Disabled 2005, the Participation Act 2017 and the act on Appropriate Education 2012 (formal name: Wet tot wijziging van enkele onderwijswetten in verband met een herziening van de organisatie en financiering van de ondersteuning van leerlingen in het basisonderwijs, speciaal en voortgezet speciaal onderwijs, voortgezet onderwijs en beroepsonderwijs). Specific rights of women and children with disabilities are not acknowledged.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

B2. Recognition of legal capacity

People with mental health problems or intellectual impairments have all rights recognised under the Constitution of the human rights treaties that the Netherlands is a party to. Legal or factual incompetence can impede the full and equal enjoyment of these rights. The Dutch Civil Code 1992 (Burgerlijk Wetboek) contains three general procedures with regard to persons who, as a result of mental health problems or disability, are not able to take care of their own affairs:

  1. executor (in Dutch: bewindvoering) aimed at protecting the property and financial interests of the person;
  2. mentorship (in Dutch: mentorschap) aimed at protecting the interests of the person regarding care and treatment; and
  3. wardship (in Dutch: curatele) in which legal capacity in almost all matters are transferred to the guardian.

All these types of guardianship require a court order. Of these three possibilities wardship (curatele) limits the most the possibilities of a person involved to make her own decisions. For that reason, it is a common practice to apply either executorship or mentorship. Wardship is seen as a legal measure of last resort. All three measures imply substituted decision-making. Legislation recognises that incompetency may be partial or temporary. A representative of the person (whether court ordered or not) is supposed to ensure where a decision is to be made, if the person can decide for herself. Formal contracting decisions such as marrying or buying or selling goods can only be made by the representative. Before 2008, persons placed under wardship were automatically exempted of the right to vote in general elections. Starting in 2008, these persons are granted the formal right to vote without prior approval of the representative. A representative is legally required to report each year to the person he represents and to the court who appointed the representative. If a person with disability is considered not able to understand the report, the report is delivered to the court directly. There are no formal programmes or policies in place at national level to facilitate supported decision-making instead of substituted decision-making. After publication of General Comment no.1 on Article 12 of the UNCRPD, the Dutch Government stated that substituted decision-making is necessary for persons with disabilities placed under executors, mentor or wardship. The Dutch Government does not accept the interpretation as laid down in the general comment that legal capacity requires supported decision-making instead of substituted decision-making. The publication of General Comment on Article 12 of the UNCRPD was the reason for the Dutch Government to make an additional interpretative declaration on Article 12 making it clear that the Netherlands considers substituted decision-making as it is now regulated in its current law, to be in line with Article 12. This position of the Dutch Government is supported by a research report commissioned by the Institute for Human Rights.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

B3. Accessibility of voting and elections

People with disabilities in the Netherlands have the full right to vote. Until 2008, Art. 54-2 (Grondwet) of the Dutch Constitution deprived persons placed under wardship (curatele) of the right to vote. In 2003, the Administrative Jurisdiction Department of the Council of State held that this exclusionary provision was in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State 29 October 2005, LJN AM5435). Following this decision and the advice of the Electoral Council (Kiesraad), the Constitution was amended in 2008. The provision was taken out from the Constitution allowing persons with intellectual disability or mental illness under custodial care to equally enjoy their right to vote. This change applied after the elections for the European Parliament that took place on 4 June 2009. To further ensure accessible voting, The Electoral Act, J4, 2 (2008) requires municipalities to make 25% of polling stations accessible for people with motor impairments. Persons with physical disabilities have the right to be assisted during the entire procedure in polling stations. Persons with intellectual disabilities may not be assisted in order to prevent undue influence. The Chair of the polling station decides whether or not a person may be assisted. If polling stations are still inaccessible, the possibility to use proxy voting may be offered. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in the Netherlands, 12% of all voters use proxy voting. Persons with intellectual disabilities may use proxy voting as well.
DPOs have for some years disputed the rule that persons with intellectual disability are not allowed to have assistance during voting. The OvSE (OSCE) criticized the accessibility of national elections of March 2017 for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and concluded that the procedures were not compliant with the CRPD. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights reported problems with accessibility of polling stations during the elections in 2017, especially for people who are blind (no Braille and no digitally accessible voting) and for people with intellectual disabilities (no assistance was provided).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

B4. Official recognition of sign language

Dutch Sign Language is not legally recognized as an official language. The Dutch Society of the Deaf (Dovenschap) has repeatedly asked for formal recognition. On 29 September 2010 the Government proposed to change the Constitution in order to name Dutch as the formal language in the Constitution and to recognize Fries, Papiamento and English as languages that can be used in specific regions of the Kingdom. Sign language is not mentioned in this Act. The proposed Act is since 2010 awaiting the debate and voting in the Parliament. In 2012 the Parliament agreed to keep the bill on the long-term agenda, but it has not been debated ever since. The Dutch Society of the Deaf renewed its lobby to gain formal recognition of Dutch Sign Language. As a result, an Act proposal on the recognition of sign language was submitted to the Parliament by two parties in October 2016. The proposal did not win a majority, and had not been brought into debate yet.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

B5. National disability strategy and action plan

The Implementation Plan for the CRPD together with the Decree on Accessibility serve as the National disability strategy in the Netherlands. Both documents aim towards ensuring more accessibility by voluntary action plans and agreements to be made by municipalities, employer organisations, trade unions, disabled people’s organisations and organisations involved on specific subjects (such as organisation of schools when it concerns education). Action plans are to be sent to the Coordinating Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports who will monitor the progress. No quantifiable targets are included in the Plan.
The Alliance UN CRPD, an umbrella organisation of DPOs, criticized the Implementation Plan because it contains mainly procedural measures aimed at municipalities, NGOs and DPOs and because it lacks clear actions of the National Government itself. The Alliance is a formal partner organisation of the government in implementing the UNCRPD.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

C. Accessibility

C1. Transport accessibility

Accessibility of public transport is a provision in the Act on Equal Treatment on the Ground of Disability or Chronic Disease (2003) since 2012. Public transport providers are required to provide accessibility to trains, buses, trams and stations according to a specific time schedule laid down in the Code on Accessible Transport. The general rule is that new vehicles and newly built stations should be accessible. Vehicles already in use and existing stations should be gradually made accessible according to the time schedule (e.g. trams until 2020, trains until 2030). Providers who do not abide by the time schedule might face a complaint procedure before the Institute for Human Rights by affected individual passengers with disability. If a municipality is the actual provider of public transport, passengers cannot submit complaints to the Institute. Local, provincial or national government are legally exempted from any complaint procedures before the Institute for Human Rights based on the Act for Equal Treatment on the Ground of Disability or Chronic Disease (2003).

Accessibility does not mean full accessibility according to the Code Accessible Transport. Local and provincial governments (responsible for public transport) may decide to lessen ambition if costs of accessibility are higher than providing special transport to passengers with disabilities. The ambition of the Code is that most passengers can use accessible public transport on most used lines. For instance, 75% of railway stations and trains should be accessible be 2030, in order to reach 90% of railway passengers.
Taxis (or tourists coaches, or the like) are not considered public transport. Complaints about inaccessibility and discrimination regarding these transport services should be considered as discrimination in goods and services provision. Delivery of goods and services falls since January 2017 under the scope of the Act on Equal Treatment on the Ground of Disability or Chronic Disease. Other than public transport shall be accessible based on the duty not to discriminate in delivering goods and services. The scope of the Act on Equal Treatment on the Ground of Disability or Chronic Illness has been extended to the delivery of goods and services as of January 2017 (as a consequence of ratifying the UNCRPD).

It is not clear what obligations exactly are required in order not to discriminate in delivering goods and services. In the Code on General Accessibility (Besluit algemene toegankelijkheid voor personen met een handicap of chronische ziekte) the legal duty to gradually provide general accessibility is being introduced. The Dutch Human Rights Institute criticized this Code because the terms ‘gradually’ and ‘general accessibility’ are not defined, and because there is neither a clear norm on accessibility nor a time schedule for its implementation. In reaction to this critique, the Government states in the Code on General Accessibility that the General Comment on Article 9 of the UN CRPD is to be used as ‘guideline’ and the action plans on accessibility are to be made by NGOs and DPOs per sector.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

C2. Built environment accessibility

The Building Code (Bouwbesluit 2012) governs usability (including accessibility) of new buildings open to the public, including schools. Regulations vary from ruling the height of ceilings (at least 2.6 metres) and the width of passageways (at least 1.2 metres). A specific demand is that buildings which are open to public with a total floor surface of over 400 square meters should have accessibility arranged for at least 40% of that floor surface. The main entrance, and at least one toilet, in such buildings should be fully accessible. Bars and restaurants over 150 square meters should have a fully accessible toilet. Newly built public schools should be 100% accessible for people with motor impairments. New buildings that are open to the public for general meetings, health care or shopping should have 80% of public floor space accessible. Accessibility requirements for buildings that have to be renovated are at the level of accessibility requirements that existed at the original construction date.

The Building Code itself contains no sanction in case regulations are violated. A criminal law procedure is possible since 2006 when the anti-discrimination provision was added to the Criminal Code (Wetboek van Strafrecht). This Code criminalises discriminatory acts in the performance of one’s job or one’s enterprise. It will have to be proven that such discrimination was deliberately intended. No one has ever used this criminal law procedure in the Netherlands for this purpose.

A private organisation in the Netherlands, Projectbureau Toegankelijkheid issues the International Accessibility Symbol ITS after an inspection on request. The criteria are set by the bureau according to what is deemed realistic in Dutch circumstances, according to a spokesperson. Since 2005 nearly 300 buildings have obtained the ITS symbol after the inspection. According to the Bureau, regulations of the Building Code are not always well-respected.

The ratification of the CRPD in the Netherlands induced the Code on General Accessibility (Besluit algemene toegankelijkheid voor personen met een handicap of chronische ziekte) in which the legal duty to gradually provide general accessibility (including accessibility in buildings) is being introduced. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights criticized this Code because the terms ‘gradually’ and ‘general accessibility’ are not clearly defined, and because neither clear norms on accessibility nor a time schedule for its implementation are indicated. In reaction to this critique the Government states in the Code on General Accessibility that the General Comment on Article 9 of the UN CRPD is to be used as ‘guideline’ and the action plans on accessibility are to be made by NGOs and DPOs per sector.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

C3. ICT and Web accessibility

An accessible standard for websites is published and monitored by the Private Foundation on Accessibility. The National government strives to have all government websites to be accessible but goals are not met as there are no specific regulations nor sanctions. The National Regulation is being prepared on digital infrastructure by the government and the government agencies at all levels. Part of this regulation will be regulation on accessibility.
Providing information on the websites falls under the scope of the Act on Equal Treatment on the grounds of disability/chronic Illness. Not providing reasonable accommodation in ICT and websites might be viewed as discrimination. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights takes complaints on inaccessible apps and websites.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

D. Independent living

D1. Choice of living arrangements

There is a great difference between the living conditions of people with disability living independently in society and people with disability living in institutional or residential settings. People with disability living in society are free to live where they like. They are provided with income, care and support such as transport or aids. Government policy is to include people with disabilities 'as much as possible' into society. The dominant view of the Government and of organisations of parents and family of people with disabilities is that inclusion is only possible for people with minor to moderate disabilities. People with severe disabilities may opt to live independently but the needed support may, as a rule, not cost more than the cost of residential care. People with more severe disabilities are usually offered a place in residential care either in large residential settings, where people live in groups, or in 'group homes' in the community. Living in 'group homes' in the community does not mean people can control their life or choose their own companions. People living in large or small homes provided by care providers have the legal status of patients. A doctor or another professional decides on the individual care/support plan. When conflicts arise about the individual plan, there is no guarantee of access to an independent complaints procedure. The Health Care Inspectorate does not handle individual complaints. The Equal Treatment Commission cannot advise in matters of care or living arrangements. The introduction of personal care budgets in 1995 stimulated more self-controlled group homes and enabled individuals with severe disabilities to lead an independent life in the community. Yet people with severe disabilities still face difficulties to live independently as they receive care and support based on the presumption that they live in groups and share costs of care provision. Their budget is maximized at cost level of group living, although in individual cases care insurers may grant an extra 25% of higher care budget, upon individual request. Care providers may also offer care at an individual's home. Like with personal care budgets, this enables people with a dependency on intensive care to live in their own home. This kind of care at home is also maximized at the cost level of living in residential settings. People with severe disabilities are not free to choose care at home. They can opt for a personal care budget (and will have to prove they can manage such budget with strict regulations that come with that) or they may choose a care provider and ask if the provider is willing to come to his/her home. The care provider has no obligation to offer care at home.

Forced admission to an institution and applying restrictive measures for people with disability (including intellectual disability) are limited by law. Psychiatric Hospitals Compulsory Admissions Act 1992 (BOPZ bijzondere opnemingen in psychiatrische ziekenhuizen) will be replaced in 2020 by two acts: the Forced Care Act and the Obligatory Mental Health Care (wet Verplichte GGZ). Forced admission can only occur for people for whom a court order is issued or who have consented to undergo forced admission should circumstances (which must have been specified beforehand) demand such. The ground for forced admission is to be a danger to one self or others or to disrupt public order.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

D2. De-institutionalisation

The Dutch Government does not endorse a formal policy or uses specific measures to make a transition from institutions to community living arrangements. Residential care in the Netherlands can take the form of large residential terrains with clustered group homes, large group homes and small group homes within communities. Care providers decide on the living arrangement as they see fit and can choose for large or small group homes or large residential settings. The Government does not allow for extra costs for building in small homes. Care providers receive equal compensation for each client in care whether they live in a large residential setting or in the community according to the Dutch Health Authority (Netherlands Zorgautoriteit). Eligibility criteria for care and support are indifferent from an individual’s wish to live independently. Care and support for people with disabilities are based on three main Acts: the Wet Langdurige Zorg (Act Longterm Care) WLZ 2014 (formerly the AWBZ Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten 1967 (General Exceptional Medical Expenses Act), the Wet Maatschappelijke ondersteuning 2015 (Social Support Act), Youth Care act 2014 (for minors with disabilities) and the Health Care insurance Act 2005 (zorgverzekeringswet).
The WLZ Act finances all residential care and provides long term medical care and assistance at home for people with severe disabilities. Funding for WLZ care can take the form of a personal care budget as a direct payment. The Social Support Act provides care for people with minor disabilities and additional support (such as transport) needed to participate in local communities. The Youth Care act provides support similar to Social Support Act. The Health Care Insurance Act provides care at home for people with physical disabilities or illnesses that require support by qualified nurses. Adults and children who are eligible for Healt Care Insurance Act assistance cannot apply for the Long Term Care Act.
People living independently can receive support based on both WLZ (or if applicable Health Care Insurance Act) in combination with Social Support act, and provisions for adaptations at work or school based on the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen WIA).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

D3. Quality of social services

The mechanisms for ensuring the quality of services for people with disabilities are different, depending on which Act the services are based. The provision of services in accordance with the Social Support Act 2015 fall under the responsibility of local municipalities. It is up to Town Councils to set eligibility criteria and to decide what support municipalities should offer. All support based on this Act should be aimed at ensuring a person's participation in society. This may also refer to participation in leisure activities which are not work-related. The complaint procedure is the regular procedure for all municipal decisions before the administrative court. Services based on the Wet Langdurige Zorg WLZ 2014 (Long-Term Care Act) consist mostly of residential care or long-term care at home for people with more severe disabilities living at home. The quality standards of Long-Term Care Act are set up by the Association of long-term care providers and are monitored by the Health Care Inspectorate. The Government funds a website where care providers supply data on the quality of care. Clients can use this website to compare care providers on their intentions on delivering care. People receiving long-term care based on the Long-Term Care Act are entitled to a complaint procedure before a Committee chosen by the provider. The Committee will have to be chaired by an independent professional. An Act on quality, complaints and conflicts care 2015 governs the general obligations and rights of care providers and patients.
People living in residential care have the legal status of patients. This means that the care provider has the right to decide, after consultation with the ‘patient’ on chosen care options. In case of conflict of opinion between the care provider and a person with disability in need of care, the person with disability is expected to either comply or leave. The Inspectorate of Health Care is not allowed to receive individual complaints, except in life threatening situations. In such cases, the Inspectorate will ask the care providers to investigate the life threatening incident and to report to the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate can also act on a series of complaints per care provider if this has shown a pattern of low quality of care.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

D4. Provision of assistive devices at home

Provision of assistive devices at home is mainly based on the Social Support Act 2015 (WMO), and is under the responsibility of municipalities. It is up to the Town Councils to decide what support municipalities should offer and to set eligibility criteria. All support based on this Act has the aim of facilitating a person to participate in society. A limitation is that provisions will only be granted with the purpose of participating in local leisure activities, but not for work, or for purposes outside the municipality. For instance, transport for sport games outside the municipality will not be financed. Provisions may include adaptations on the house, such as an elevator, adapted kitchen, alert devices, or means for local transport, such as wheelchairs, adapted bikes. Some provisions that can be provided are based on the obligatory Healthcare Insurance 2005 (Zorgverzekeringswet) and can include communication aids, wheelchairs, daisy readers, special beds, alert devices and sign language interpreters. Assistive devices or other support needed for work or education in regular schools can be obtained through the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen WIA). Provisions for work or education can range from adapted individual transport, including compensation for costs of taxi to location bound provisions such as adapted workplaces, ramps, bound devices such as electronic equipment or adaptations to laptops etc. Personal assistance needed for work, more specifically a sign language interpreter for the deaf, can also be provided based on the Act on Reintegration of labour-disabled.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes

People receiving care based on the Wet Langdurige Zorg WLZ 2014 (Long-Term Care Act) can receive assistance albeit not in the form of guaranteed personal assistance. People receiving long-term care can opt for a personal care budget. This budget is provided as direct payment and is usually used to pay for personal assistants. The direct payment budget is roughly of equal worth of the care budget which residential care providers would receive for the same person applying for care.
People with physical disabilities who need personal care but who are not in need of constant supervision can receive a long-term care at home provided by health care insurers based on the Health Care Insurance Act 2005. Health insurers can offer care in the form of direct payment budgets but are not obliged to do so. Care and support provided on the basis of the Social Support Act can be provided in the form of direct payment budgets, but municipalities are not obliged to do so in all cases. Research commissioned by ZonMW Disability Studies (2012) on the budget system showed that 'the budgets brought about an enormous strengthening of the social position of care users, more than any other law or policy designed in the Netherlands with that explicit purpose'. Research conducted by the University of Nijmegen (ITS) shows that the budget system helps people provide for their own support in whichever environment they choose, improving their social participation and inclusion. This research also indicated that budget holders use less money for care as compared to residential care. On a macro level, however, the budget system leads to higher expenses because it is popular with people who refuse residential care or who are denied care by residential care institutions.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-12-10

D6. Income maintenance

There are four types of benefits for disabled people in the Netherlands: the Sickness Benefit Act 1913 (Ziektewet) for employees only; the Work and Income According to Labour Capacity Act 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen, WIA) for employees only; the Disablement Assistance Act for Disabled Young Persons 1997 (Wet arbeidsongeschiktheidsvoorziening jonggehandicapten, Wajong); and the Participation Act 2017 (Participatiewet).
The Sickness Benefit Act 1913 obliges employers to continue paying 70% of wages during the first two years of incapacity of an employee due to illness or acquired disability. The maximum daily wage considered for the calculation of 70% is EUR 199.15. If 70% of the daily wage is less than the social minimum, a supplement can be claimed under the Supplementary Benefit Act (Toeslagenwet, TW). This supplement is means tested within the household.
People who have acquired a chronic illness or disability before the age of 17 are entitled to a cash benefit based on the Disability Provision Act 1997 (Wajong) if they are assessed as having no ability to earn at least 20% of minimum wage. The cash benefit is 75% of net minimum wage. Those young people with a disability that are considered able to earn 20% of minimum wage or more, are considered to be partially disabled. They are entitled to support in finding paid jobs and wage supplement, but they are not entitled to a disability benefit. If they do not succeed in finding paid work, they may apply for an unemployed benefit based on the Participation Act 2017. This benefit is income and means tested within the household.
People who are employed and who acquire a disability at a later age will receive a cash benefit based on the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen). The cash benefit will depend on the last earned wage with a maximum of 75%. People who are self-employed or own a company are not entitled to a disability benefit.
People with disabilities who are not eligible for any of the specific disability benefits can apply for a benefit based on the Participation Act. The benefit based on the Participation Act is a benefit at minimum level and it is means- and income tested within the household. The benefit amounts to 70% of minimum wage if a person lives alone and 100% for couples).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

D7. Additional costs

Parents of a child with a disability aged between 3-18 years, who is assessed to be in need of extra care for more than 10 hours a week, can receive double the amount of the regular child benefit (income tested). A few tax credits are available. One is for people who receive the Wajong benefit for Disabled Young Persons 1997. The tax credit was EUR 722 in 2017. Another tax credit is a temporary tax credit for people with disabilities who start their own company (maximum tax credit in the first year is EUR 12,000).
Extraordinary health care costs may be taken into account for a personal tax credit if expenses exceed 1.65% of the yearly income up to EUR 40,000 and an extra 5.75% of the income above that level). Obligatory contributions for support and devices based on the Social Support Act 2015, the Long-Term Care Act 2017 and work- or education-related devices and assistance may not be taken into account for this tax credit. Parents of adult children with disabilities living in institutions can apply for a tax credit for the expenses they incur when transporting their children home for weekends or for buying an annuity for their children or grandchildren with a disability.
People who are dependent on health care, long-term care and social support, pay obligatory contributions that are income- and means-tested within households. The Dutch Central Bureau for statistics has data on average and relative income position of households in which one or more members receive a disability benefit. The gap between the income development between households without and households with a disability benefit has widened considerably since 2000. The average disposable income of receivers of the (lowest) disability benefit was 67% of that of the households without a disability and 56% in 2014.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

D8. Retirement income

All cash benefits for people with disabilities end at retirement age (in 2017 the retirement age is 65 years and 9 months), but will be raised gradually to 67 and 3 months or higher). General entitlements to income protection for people with disabilities are the same as for people without disabilities. All people who have formerly resided in the Netherlands receive a general retirement benefit (based on General Retirement Age Act 1957 (Algemene Ouderdomswet AOW) of a maximum of 50% of net minimum wage. People living alone receive an additional 20% of net minimum wage.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

E. Education

E1. Special schools

The Netherlands has a wide array of special schools in primary and secondary education. In legislation, financial support and organization, two main groups are identified: those with lesser learning difficulties and behavioural disorders and those with more severe disabilities and/or learning difficulties. Both groups are educated mostly in separate special schools. New legislation (Wetgeving Passend Onderwijs, Appropriate Education) has laid responsibility for referrals to special schools on new regional organizations with which all regular and special schools within a designated region are obliged to work. The financial system works as such that regular schools who want to refer pupils to special schools, have to seek permission by the regional organization. In case of referrals a budget from regular schools will be transferred to the special school where the child is being referred to.
Special schools will receive additional lump sum finances from the regional organisations, no matter the number of pupils that are being referred. This lump sum is meant to help special schools maintain their current size and educational quality. Pupils with a disability or their parents are not free to choose their school be it regular or special. They may ask admission, but the school may decide whether a student fits within the range of services the school offers. In case of a conflict between the school and the student or the parents, the school board must designate a school within the designated area where the student will have to be accepted. In such cases that would be a special school.
Schoolboards have freedom to decide what level of support (regular or special) schools can offer to pupils with disabilities. Decisions on admission or refusals by schools of pupils with a disability or decisions on the support schools offer, can be laid before an independent committee (Geschillencommissie Passend Onderwijs) who will advise pupils/parents and schools. These advices are not legally binding.
The percentage of pupils aged between 4 and 16 that was being referred to special schools was 8.1% in school year 2000/2001 and 9.4% in school year 2012/2013. Inclusive education, as laid down in Article 24 of the CRPD and general comment nr.4. is not an objective of Appropriate Education. The National Government states that there will be a need for special schools for those pupils who cannot go to regular schools.
Children with disabilities may be exempted from compulsory education if they are considered non educable or too disabled to be in school for more than a half day. The measures aimed at decreasing the number of children being exempted from compulsory education have failed so far: the number of children with disabilities being exempted from compulsory education because of their disability has increased with 9% in the schoolyear 2015-2016 (5,537 children) compared to schoolyear 2014-2015 (5,077 children).
There is another group of about 5,000 children with disabilities or learning difficulties who are temporarily but longer than three months out of school as no regular or special school accepts them or because parents do not agree with the services a regular or special school offers.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

E2. Mainstream schools

Pupils with disabilities or their parents are not free to choose their school, be it regular or special. They may ask admission, but the school may decide whether a student fits within the range of services the school wants to offer. In case of a conflict between school and student/parents, the school board designates a school where the student must go to within a designated area in which regular and special schools are obliged to work together in placements. Schoolboards have freedom to decide what level of support (regular or special) schools can offer to pupils with disabilities. Decisions on admission or refusals by schools of pupils with disabilities or decisions on the support schools offer, can be laid before an independent committee (Geschillencommissie Passend Onderwijs) who will advise pupils/parents and schools. These advices, however, are not legally binding.
Decisions of schoolboards can also be challenged before civil court or administrative court or put forward before the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights if discrimination on the ground of disability is suspected. The Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness (2003) prohibits discrimination on the ground of disability since 2003 in vocational education. Its scope was extended to primary and secondary education in 2009. The National Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de mens) can be consulted or asked a formal opinion if student/parent suspects that discrimination on the grounds of disability may occur in cases of admittance, referral or providing support. The opinions of the Human Rights Institute are not legally binding.
The annual report 2016 of the National Institute for Human Rights, mentionsed 17 opinions in cases in 2016 in which discrimination on the grounds of disability in education and public transport were suspected. In 15 of these cases the Human Rights Institute judged the complaint founded.
Current interpretation of the Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness is such that schools are required to admit students who can meet the academic requirements and for whom necessary adaptations are within reason and the means of the specific schools. Meeting academic requirements is relevant for secondary schools and vocational education. According to an interpretation in 2005 of the Minister of Education, laid down in answers to written questions from the members of the Parliament, most mainstream schools for secondary education are required to refuse pupils with intellectual disabilities because they are considered not able to pass the regular exams. Vocational schools require entry tests in which students will have to pass language tests and math tests. Those who cannot pass, can be refused admittance to mainstream vocational education. Primary mainstream schools may refuse students with disabilities when necessary individual adaptations are considered to be too divergent from what other students in class need.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

E3. Sign language and Braille in school

In 1990 all schools and institutions for the Deaf decided to teach bilingually: both Dutch language and Dutch Sign language. Students who are deaf are entitled to a sign language interpreter when they attend a regular school. Students who are blind are taught Braille. Blind students in regular or special schools for the blind receive a wide range of technical support such as a Braille reader to read computer documents or a daisy reader and daisy spoken books. Extra personal assistance can be granted in school or workplace (for up to 10% of work time) to provide extra support. Provisions for support in schools are provided based on the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen). A sign language interpreter will not be available for education of students above the age of 30.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

E4. Vocational training

The Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness (2003) prohibits discrimination on the ground of disability in employment and vocational education since 2003. Provisions for support in vocational education and employment are provided based on the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen). Between 2006 and 2013 students with disabilities could be provided with individual support financed out of pupil bound budgets for the school. Since 2013 vocational schools are required to finance individual support for students with disabilities out of lump sum budgets. Schools have freedom to choose the level and type of support they offer.
Schools are financed by the number of students graduating as quickly as possible. Students who take more time or who fail their exams or who drop out, reduce available budget for schools. There is evidence suggesting that students with intellectual disabilities or autism are as a result more at risk of being refused by vocational schools as they are considered not to be able to graduate quickly or to fail their exams. The Equal Treatment Commission (merged into the National Institute for Human Rights) ruled in a verdict (as of 25 February 2011) that the scope of the Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness (2003) for persons with disabilities and chronic illness (WGBH-CZ) does not cover general education for adults. That may be handled differently now that the scope of Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness (2003) has been extended to delivery of goods and services.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

E5. Higher education

Higher education is considered to be vocational education and the Equal Treatment Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of disability in vocational education since 2003. Students with a disability must meet all academic requirements. The number of students with disabilities in higher education is estimated at around 7.5%. These students in higher education are, by definition, all included as there is no separate special higher education. Individual provisions for support in higher education are provided based on the Reintegration of Labour-disabled Act of 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen). These provisions may vary from adapted computers to special transport or compensation for extra costs. Institutes for higher education may agree with the inspectorate for education on any special arrangements such as extra time for exams. Students with a disability have the right for an extra year of study grant.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2017-06-05

F. Employment

F1. Non-discrimination in employment

The Act on Equal Treatment on Grounds of Disability and Chronic Illness 2003 (Wet gelijke behandeling op grond van handicap of chronische ziekte) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability in employment and vocational education since 2003. The National Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de mens) can be consulted or asked a formal opinion. Such an opinion can be seen as a non-binding verdict. It can be used for a court procedure.
The annual report 2016 of the National Institute for Human Rights mentions only eight verdicts in which discrimination on the grounds of disability in employment was put forward. An evaluation of The Act on Equal Treatment on the Grounds of Disability or Chronic Illness by the independent research institute Verwey Jonker was published in 2009. The report concludes that the Act on Equal Treatment has improved individual legal protection of disabled and chronically ill people although few individuals make use of the Act. A further conclusion of the evaluation is that, in the field of labour, the Act on Equal Treatment has not led to increased accessibility of the Dutch labour market.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-07-21

F2. Public employment services

A person with disability benefit is entitled to employment advice and support service by the autonomous administrative authority for social and employment benefits UWV (Uitvoeringsorgaan Werknemers Verzekeringen). This authority is also the executor for cash benefits for people with disability and provider of adaptations in the workplace or in schools for people with disabilities. Employers are also entitled to make use of the services of UWV. UWV offers advice through regional offices, provisions (such as adaptations of the workplace and a range of wage subsidies, see also F3 and F4).
Municipalities are, as of 2015, responsible for employment services for people with a disability who are not entitled to a disability cash benefit. Municipalities may offer a broad range of provisions such as job coaching, wage subsidies, forms of sheltered employment or day care activities without wage. All 400 Dutch municipalities are required to cooperate and coordinate labour market policies with regional organizations of employers and trade unions and UWV within 35 designated labour market regions. Employment services are based on the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2015 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogent WIA) and Participatiewet 2017.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-07-21

F3. Workplace adaptations

The autonomous administrative authority UWV will decide and pay for adaptations of the workplace (and in schools and higher education institutions). The relevant act is the Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen WIA). Assistive devices or other support needed for work range from adapted individual transport, including compensation for costs of taxi) to location bound provisions such as adapted workplaces, ramps etc. to person bound devices such as electronic equipment or adaptations to laptops etc. Personal assistance needed for work, more specifically a sign language interpreter for the deaf, can also be provided based on the Act on Reintegration of labour-disabled. Provisions can include adaptations on the building; which adaptations are issued is up to the Authority UWV. In cases, where discrimination on the grounds of disability is suspected and an opinion is sought after, the National Institute for Human Rights will take the availability of adaptations and the full compensation of costs into consideration. Any adaptation provided will be viewed upon as reasonable accommodation that an employer should offer.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-07-21

F4. Financial incentives

The autonomous pubic employment service UWV can offer financial incentives to a potential employer of a person with disability. Financial incentives for employers are based on Act on Reintegration of Labour-disabled 2005 (Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen WIA). Provisions for persons with disabilities seeking paid work may include: extra vocational training and education; compensation for the costs of adapted transport; individual provisions such as a sign language interpreter at work (maximum 15% of working time) or a personal aid for people who are blind; a job coach or special equipment such as an adapted computer. The UWV can also offer provisions for employers, such as: the permission to test an employee with a disability during a trial period of two months without having to pay wages; a wage subsidy, deductions on social insurance premiums to be paid by the employer for three years; dispensation to pay less than minimum wage for employees eligible for the benefit Wajong (for early onset disability), and a drop of the obligation to pay wage during sick leave (the employee will then receive a cash benefit instead of pay). Municipalities are, as of 2015, responsible for employment services for people with disabilities who are not entitled to a disability cash benefit. Municipalities may offer above-mentioned employment services, including job coaching, wage subsidies, forms of sheltered employment or day care activities without wage. The relevant act is the Participation Act 2017.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-07-21

G. Statistics and data collection

G1. Official research

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) is a government agency which conducts research into the social aspects of all areas of the government policy. Between 1995 and 2007 the SCP published reports on people with disabilities, focusing on the living conditions, labour participation and the use of health care and welfare by people with a physical disability or chronic illness. The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) is an independent research agency. NIVEL maintains two panels of people with disabilities, one of which is people with physical disabilities. Data from this panel serves as the basis for the SCP-reports and for a participation monitor set up by NIVEL. The second panel consists of people with minor intellectual disabilities or family members of people with intellectual disabilities. This panel is not used for the participation monitor. There are no data available, nor surveys planned, on the number of people with disabilities living in the community, independently or with their families as compared to those living in residential settings. It is not known how many people with disabilities live in the residential care institutions, hospitals, large or small group homes or how many people with disabilities live independently; only estimates are available. There are statistics available on the financing of care and the number of provisions based on the two main support acts: Long-term Care Act WLZ 2014 (formerly the General Exceptional Medical Expenses Act 1967) and Social Support Act 2006 (WMO). Because provisions based on these and other acts can be issued to people with all kinds of disabilities regardless of where they live and can be combined (one person can have multiple provisions) these financial statistics do not give a clear statistical picture.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2016-04-22

G2. Census data

The Netherlands have no national Census. All statistical data is obtained through surveys, executed by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The method used in these surveys exclude many people with disabilities. The surveys by CBS are based on samples of people who are requested to fill in online forms. The surveys exclude explicitly all people living in residential settings. They will not receive requests to fill in online forms. This alone excludes over a hundred thousand people who live in residential settings. The method of interviewing makes it difficult for people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems who live independently to participate in the survey as people are requested through mail to fill in online forms. If they do not respond, they can be interviewed by phone or in person. There is no specific provision to engage people who have difficulty in reading, writing and understanding to participate more. Interviewers who meet with persons who have difficulty understanding the standard questions will exclude these persons (according to a description by a spokesperson for CBS).

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

G3. Labour Force Survey

The Netherlands have a National Labour Force Survey, by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The method used in this survey excludes many people with disabilities. The method used is to request a sample of people to fill in online forms. If these forms are not sent in, there will be attempts to interview by telephone or in person. The surveys exclude explicitly all people living in residential settings. They will not receive requests to fill in online forms. This alone excluded over a hundred thousand of people living in residential settings. If people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems live independently they might be included in the survey. Interviewers are not allowed to make provisions to engage people who have difficulty in reading, writing and understanding to participate more. Interviewers who meet with persons who have difficulty understanding the standard questions will exclude these persons (according to a spokesperson for CBS). People working in sheltered workshops are also excluded from the Labour Force Survey. The data on disabilities in the Labour Force survey that are available include only people who are considered available for the regular labour market and identify themselves as having a physical disability or chronic illness.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

G4. Disability equality indicators

The Human Rights Institute developed, together with representatives of NGO’s and research agencies, a limited set of quantitative and qualitative indicators on three themes: independent living, education and work. The Human Rights Institute then commissioned the Central Bureau of Statistics and 'Nivel' to gather data on people with disabilities on these three themes: education, work and independent living. The result is laid down in the first report with the title ‘ínzicht in inclusie’. The report will form the basis for the upcoming shadow reporting on the implementation of the UNCRPD.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

H. Awareness and external action

H1. Awareness raising programs

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports commisioned a campaign on equal rights for people with disability which will run throughout 2017. During the ratification process for the UNCRPD the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports funded several conferences on the UN CRPD organized by the Coalition for Inclusion, an umbrella organisation of Dutch NGOs. In 2013 an awareness raising program on the UN CRPD started called Verdrag om de hoek (Convention around the corner). From 2003 until May 2011 the Taskforce Disability and Society (Taskforce Handicap en Samenleving) was funded by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports. To raise awareness on a local level the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports funded a program entitled Stronger Clients (Versterking clientenpositie VCP). Funding for this program ended in 2012.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

H2. Training for teachers

Disability awareness/ equality issues are not included either as a compulsory part of initial teacher training, or in special educational needs. There are sparse private initiatives to make disability awareness part of teacher training. An example is training offered by Fontys Hogeschool, Hogeschool Leiden and Hogeschool Windesheim.

Update date: Thu, 2017-06-08

H3. Training for lawyers

Disability awareness/ equality issues are not part of a professional training programme for lawyers.
The Dutch section of the international Commission of Jurists has initiated a Public Interest Litigation Project to raise awareness on discrimination and human rights. One of the themes the project works on is disability discrimination.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

H4. Training for doctors

Disability awareness/ equality issues are not part of initial training for doctors or medical staff.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

H5. Training for engineers

Disability awareness/ equality issues are not part of initial training for engineers, designers or inspectors for building permits. An extensive handbook on accessibility is privately published in the Netherlands. It is widely used in education for designers and architects. The author, Maarten Van Wijk, worked in collaboration with the largest umbrella organisation for people with a disability, Iederin. The standards in this new Handbook are not compulsory for designers and builders.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

H6. International development aid

Disability mainstreaming has been identified in the official policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007 (In a letter to Parliament of 31 May 2007). In 2010 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stopped funding projects by the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development DCDD. In a letter to the Parliament in 2012, containing a reaction to the WHO World Report on disability, the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs wrote that no specific projects or funding is made available for people with disabilities in developing countries. The Dutch charity Liliane Fonds annually receives a small grant from the government to co-finance the projects for children with disabilties in developing countries.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

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