People with disabilities, representing 10 to 15% of the population in Europe, are confronted with a wealth of challenges in their daily life as well as multiple forms of discrimination, which affect their access to basic rights and services.
Amongst the main barriers are the lack of appropriate infrastructure, shortcomings in the existing anti-discrimination framework and its implementation, and lack of positive actions aimed at creating the conditions for their full equality and inclusion. Furthermore, studies indicate that the economic crisis is having a negative impact on people with disabilities: on the one hand, they are affected by horizontal budgetary cuts; on the other, they are stigmatised as beneficiary of public benefits.
Even if, over the past few years, a number of states have developed specific policies, the situation of people with disabilities is not widely considered as a priority by the governments of Council of Europe member States. In addition, it tends to be approached from the angle of health and social security rather than the angle of the respect for equality and inclusion.
The Parliamentary Assembly should:
- take stock of the situation with a view to formulating recommendations to Council of Europe member States on how to promote equality and inclusion for people with disabilities;
- encourage parliamentarians to take an active role at national level with a view to implementing the "Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006-2015";
- make recommendations to the Committee of Ministers on how to pursue Council of Europe work in this area after 2015.