[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session, Annual Discussion on HR and Persons with Disabilities
Thank you, Mr. President.
First of all, let me thank the OHCHR and the Missions of New Zealand and Mexico for organizing this panel as well as the panelists for their comprehensive and valuable contributions. We consider this panel a useful tool in order to raise awareness of the challenges that persons with disabilities continue to face in the area of work and employment as well as to exchange good practices and measures in this regard.
To achieve full inclusion, an accessible, barrier-free physical and social environment is necessary. In addition, we have to ensure that the provisions of the CRPD are fully implemented at all levels. One of the core principles of the Convention is to recognise the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others. However, still today they face often enormous challenges with regard to the effective integration and inclusion into the labour market.
A high-quality job ensures financial independence, promotes personal development and constitutes the best protection against poverty. Employment is therefore always a key issue in disability policy, including in Austria.
At a national level, we have taken several measures to ensure that persons with disabilities participate in the labour market on an equal basis with others. With regard to the full integration, the most important measures and guiding principles are individual funding, project support as well as accompanying assistance. Beside public laws and regulations, we are also very keen on involving the private sector. For instance, if companies employ persons with disabilities, they can receive integration or wage subsidies, job safeguarding subsidies or subsidies to adapt facilities to make them barrier free.
Austria believes that increased attention should be given to women with disabilities often suffering from multiple, intersecting or aggravated forms of discrimination. They are also often disadvantaged in the area of employment since they are frequently poorly paid and receive lower social benefits when unemployed. Moreover, they are more frequently affected by poverty than men with disabilities.
Finally, we consider the consultation and involvement of persons with disabilities and their organisations in decision-making processes as founding principles of our national disability agenda. In this context, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Austria adopted in July 2012 its first National Action Plan for persons with disabilities for the period 2012-2020 and has been elaborated in an inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders, including civil society organisations.
Let me ask two questions to the panellists:
First, which are in your view the main challenges that still prevent the equal and effective participation of persons with disabilities in the labour market?
Second, given the persistence of negative attitudes, stigma and stereotypes towards persons with disabilities, how could States best ensure their inclusion into the labour market?
Before concluding, I would like to draw your attention to a side event that we are organising together with Finland and the International Disability Alliance on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities on the implementation of the CRPD Convention and on the post-2015 process. It will take place tomorrow at 1pm in Room XXI.
I thank you.