Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Statement by Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN
Austria aligns itself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union later on.
Austria has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in 2008. The high number of ratifications of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol demonstrates the success of this truly important human rights instrument.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is based on the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of every individual, has contributed to a paradigm shift in policies for persons with disabilities. In Austria as in many other countries, the Convention has been instrumental for legislative and policy measures to improve the situation of persons with disabilities.
Austria has undertaken several steps in implementation of the Convention in close collaboration with civil society, thus, giving full regard to the motto “nothing about us, without us”. Both in drafting Austria’s first comprehensive state report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as in elaborating the National Action Plan on Disability 2012 – 2020, the participation of civil society was guaranteed throughout the process.
The Austrian National Action Plan on Disability which constitutes the main framework for Austria’s disability policy has been adopted by the Austrian government in July 2012. It includes an overview of the present situation of persons with disabilities, formulates policy goals, provides for concrete measures with timelines and clearly defines the responsibilities of the Austrian government.
With regard to the main theme of the fifth session “Making the CRPD count for Women and Children” I would like to bring to your attention Austria’s written contribution submitted prior to the conference of state parties. Let me point out some concrete measures in this context:
> In 2011 the Austrian parliament has adopted a law at constitutional level on the Rights of the Child which provides for protection and welfare guarantees to all children – including children with disabilities.
> The project “youth coaching”, which provides support to early school-leavers with special needs in finding a job, can be considered as an example of good practice to assist girls and boys with special educational needs. By providing individual support through a team of experts, the objective is to facilitate their transition from school to work.
> The Austrian government is conducting public awareness-raising about violence against women, especially against women with mental or physical disabilities and supports projects to enhance their self-reliance and empowerment.
Let me also mention that Austria’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities takes account of the European Union Disability Strategy and the Disability Action Plan of the Council of Europe.
I would like to conclude by saying that we are interested in sharing our experiences on the implementation of the Convention and learning from the experiences of others. We look forward to a productive exchange.