Disability, Access to Food and the UN CRPD: Navigating Discourses of Human Rights in the Netherlands

Auteurs en uitgever


Mitzi Waltz, Tanja Mol, Elinor Gittins, Alice Schippers



Soort publicatie


Gepubliceerd in

Social Inclusion, 2018, 6 (1): 51-60




In 2016, the Netherlands ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), one of the last developed nations to do so. In this article, we explore how equal access to food provides a lens through which barriers to implementing a rights-based approach to disability equality can be examined in countries that are historically resistant to such discourses. Through a literature review, policy research, and interviews with disabled people, representatives of disabled people’s organisations, Dutch legal scholars, food researchers, and foodbanks, we have explored barriers to equal food access in the Netherlands, and current approaches to overcoming social, economic and physical barriers. Our analysis indicates that implementation of the UN CRPD and other relevant international and EU policies continues to be limited in the Netherlands due to narrow interpretations, leading to policies and practices that do not foster equal access to resources and environments. Dutch understandings of disability equality are evolving, but encounter opposition from an entrenched system of separation and resistance to mandating change, including a reluctance to even collect data about inequality. From this basis, we identify knowledge gaps and make recommendations for steps the Netherlands could take to ensure equal access to food.