Council of Europe reiterated its commitment to the respect of the civil, political and social rights of persons with disabilities

In 2006, the Council of Europe adopted a Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 to be implemented in the 46 member countries of the Council of Europe.   The Plan consists of 15 key action lines covering all aspects of the life of disabled persons, setting out some 40 objectives and more than 160 specific actions to be carried out by member states. 
First evaluations of the implementation of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan at national level have shown that more than half of the Council of Europe member are using the Plan as a blueprint for their national disability policies and legislation. Others have stated that they intend to do so in the near future. A detailed evaluation will be available in the first half of 2009.

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Council of Europe Secretary General, the Spanish Presidency of the Council of Europe as well as the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe reiterated their commitment to work towards the full respect of the rights and integration of persons with disabilities in society.

Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe : “In many ways, the degree of disability is not determined by someone’s physical condition, but rather by the extent to which the environment is adapted to guarantee equality of opportunity to everyone.  It is about freedom of choice, quality of life and active participation in society. This is the underlying philosophy of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan”. 
The Spanish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe : “Increasing the personal autonomy of people with disabilities, acknowledging disability as an element of human diversity, developing public policies aimed at enabling these people to enjoy the same opportunities as all other citizens and ensuring the exercise and enjoyment of their civil, political and social rights, must remain among the main goals of the Council of Europe. In this respect, the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan sets the guidelines for future action.”

Yavuz Mildon, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe : “The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities welcomes the entry into force, on 3 May 2008, of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol as a major landmark which covers a number of key areas such as accessibility, liberty of movement, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in public and political life, equality and non-discrimination. Acting locally, implementing the Convention in concrete terms at local level is the best way of empowering people with disabilities and achieving their full integration within our communities.”

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 and seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other instruments based on the protection of individuals. Today the Council of Europe counts 47 member countries.

Source : Council of Europe Statement