Rights of people with disabilities in Europe: a new strategy based on ability rather than disability

STRASBOURG: There are 80 million persons in Europe who live with a disability and many of them continue to be victims of discrimination or abuse. In response, the Council of Europe will be launching its new Disability Strategy 2017-2023 at a conference in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 27 and 28 March.

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“Our focus must be on ability, not disability. Lawmakers should devise laws and policies which offer persons with disabilities a maximum of autonomy, access to information, education and employment. Our new strategy shows the way forward,” said Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, ahead of the conference.

Equality and non-discrimination, awareness-raising, accessibility, equal recognition before the law and protection against all forms of violence, these are the priority areas for the Council of Europe as it seeks to encourage everyone to work together to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities over the coming years.

The Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance of Cyprus, Zeta Emilianidou, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, will open the conference.

The opening will be followed by a high-level round table, with the participation of representatives of Albania, Andorra, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal and Serbia.

The conference will bring together representatives of the governments of the 47 Council of Europe member states, representatives of international organisations, local and regional authorities, professional networks, non-governmental organisations, the media and the academic world, and members of parliament as well as persons with disabilities, specialist bodies and specialised service providers.

The conference is organised as part of the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and will be hosted by the Cypriot Ministry of Welfare, Labour and Social Insurance at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia.

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