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International Day Of Persons With Disabilities Is Time To Take Stock Says Lynne

December 3, 2008 6:00 AM

Liz Lynne, the LibDem MEP and long time campaigner on disabled rights, has today said that more needs to be done, both in the UK, the others EU countries and in the rest of the world, to ensure people with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect.

Her comments come on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day which aims to promote a better understanding of the issues affecting people with disabilities and to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well- being of disabled people.

Liz said that the day was a perfect chance to look back on what has been achieved in creating equality for disabled people, but also to look forward to the work that still needs to be done.

In 2003 Liz, who is the Vice President of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, drafted the report for European Parliament on the UN Convention for Disabled Peoples Rights.

Since then she has been working on creating an EU-wide directive that will ban discrimination against disabled people in regards to goods and services. This will mean that no matter where a disabled person goes in the EU they can expect the same right to be treated equally.

Liz said:

"Achieving a legally binding United Nations convention was a huge milestone, but it is no use if countries do not sign and ratify it.

"After a good start, progress with the Convention has been poor - we must keep up the pressure on countries to sign, ratify and implement the Convention if we are to deliver the equality that disabled people deserve."

On the Anti- Discrimination Directive Liz said:

"I hope that this new directive will be a step forward in ensuring that disabled people get equal access to goods and services.

"I will continue to fight to make sure that the new legislation is practical, and covers those areas in which access for disabled people is still poor.

"However, it is very important that we all continue to put pressure on the EU Member States to do their part in creating a strong piece of legislation and implementing it to its full effect when it eventually comes into force."

Liz also commented on the need to ensure that disabled people were given the chance to be independent:

"Many of the over 60 million disabled people across Europe strive to live more independent lives but are not offered the support necessary to do so

Disabled people of all ages and backgrounds must be empowered to take control of their own lives, live with dignity and participate fully as equal citizens."

ENDS