On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, stressed the importance of raising awareness and mobilising support for promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society.
He recalled that an estimated 80 million Europeans live with one or more disabilities. This means that one in four of us Europeans have a family member with a disability.
The Minister welcomed the new Council of Europe Disability Strategy (2017-2023) approved by the Committee of Ministers on 30 November 2016, the aim of which is to achieve equality, dignity and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, through providing support to member States and other stakeholders in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Minister recalled that promoting the rights of persons with disabilities is a priority for the Cypriot Chairmanship and in that context, a high level conference will be held in Cyprus on 27-28 March 2017 to launch the new Strategy. “Persons with disabilities must have access to and enjoy the full range of human rights. We would therefore like to make sure that the Strategy is effectively implemented in all member States, taking account of national legislation and policies.”