New York, 26. September 2008 Press release

Winkler: "Austria occupies a leading position in the commitment to the disabled"

State Secretary Hans Winkler takes final step for entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Austria

New York, 26 September 2008 – "People with disabilities wish to lead an active and self-determined life without barriers or discrimination. We in Austria have taken the necessary steps to move one step closer to this objective. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the respective Facultative Protocol will enter into force in exactly thirty days, on 26 October, the Austrian National Holiday," said State Secretary Hans Winkler on the occasion of the deposition of the instrument of ratification for the UN Convention and the respective Facultative Protocol in New York.

"With regard to a commitment for the benefit of disabled people, Austria has decided to take a leading position both at the European and the international level. It is a major concern of ours to strengthen them in the fight for their rights and have them participate in all aspects of life on an equal footing. This makes it necessary to grant them the requisite rights such as an individual complaint procedure and financial means. It must become a matter of course that they have non-discriminatory access to all areas of life and human rights," stated Winkler.

Winkler also pointed out that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also contains a strong development policy factor as well. "Worldwide, there are some 600 million people with disabilities. If we want to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we must put the focus in our everyday work on measures that are targeted at these people. As one of the first countries Austria adopted this focus in its programmes and guidelines and in Austrian development cooperation," affirmed the State Secretary. “In our dialogue with experts in the body monitoring the Convention, the Committee for the Rights of People with Disabilities, we will continue to undertake every effort to realise an integrated society,” concluded the State Secretary.

The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 13 December 2006 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. Subsequently, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities was adopted on 9 July 2008 by the Austrian National Council and approved on 25 July by the Federal Council.

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