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Promoting innovation for the inclusion of persons with disabilities

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December 2022), PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination adopted the following statement:

“The war of aggression against Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic and their consequences have brought with them multiple new challenges and disproportionately affected the lives of persons with disabilities. These crises have resulted in increased difficulties in access to services and care, and limited participation in economic, social, cultural and political life. In 2022, despite being presented as a political priority, the full inclusion of persons with disabilities is still far from being a reality in Europe.

The committee welcomes the fact that in some areas technological progress has gone beyond expectations in the past decade, and recognises that innovation can be a powerful tool for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and in the workplace. It can also contribute to reducing inequalities when care is taken to make its design inclusive. However, these innovations are not yet available and accessible to everyone with disabilities, and infrastructure also needs to be adequate to ensure broad distribution.

The committee regrets that limited progress has been achieved in the employment of persons with disabilities and in the fight against disability-based discrimination in the labour market. It calls on Council of Europe member States, Observers and Partners for Democracy to demonstrate their commitment to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities by investing in innovative programmes, which could constitute practical steps to enhance their participation.”