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People with disabilities

There are around 80 million people with disability living in Europe. In some member states they still have difficulties in accessing certain rights and freedoms, for example in fields such as employment, education or political life.

Policies for people with disabilities are often focused exclusively on institutional care, medical rehabilitation and welfare benefits. More emphasis should be given to the human rights of persons with disabilities and their integration within the community.

In 2006 the Council of Europe adopted a Disability Action Plan which addresses participation in political, public and cultural life, education, information and communication, employment, accessibility of the built environment and transport.

The Internet offers enormous potential for improving the social inclusion of people with disabilities (online work, e-democracy, access to knowledge and information). The Council of Europe pays particular attention to accessibility and design questions, so that these new technologies offer equal chances of full and active participation in the life of the community and do not constitute new sources of social exclusion.

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