Strasbourg, 2 December 2013 - On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland calls on member states to move with greater speed from a medical to a human rights-based approach towards disability.
“Around 15% of the European population has some form of disability. In some member states persons with disabilities are still institutionalised against their wish. Some are deprived of the right to vote. Others are put aside the mainstream society, to attend specialised and segregated schools. Those who do find work are often employed in sheltered workshops without any protection under national labour law provisions.
European society and member states’ authorities must safeguard the right of all Europeans to full participation in society and should encourage active citizenship and inclusion from a very early age.
I want all Member States to examine carefully the status of persons with disabilities against the blueprint of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 and to work with the Council of Europe to ensure that all Europeans can fully enjoy their human rights,” Secretary General Jagland said.