Wien, 7. March 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "Clear sign of support for rights of people with disabilities"

Austria initiates panel discussion on the rights of people with disabilities in Geneva

Vienna, 7 March 2013 – "People with disabilities are to partake in all aspects of life; social and economic marginalisation have to be put to an end", Austrian Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger said on the occasion of the panel discussion initiated by Austria. The discussion on the rights of persons with disabilities was held today together with Finland, New Zealand and Thailand. The international NGO International Disability Alliance and the World Future Council as well as the Austrian Essl Foundation supported the event.

The main items of discussion were an intensification of implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the possibility of including the rights of people with disabilities in the discussion of the Millennium Development Goals. "What pleases me most is the supra-regional character of this event", the Vice-Chancellor said. "The rights of persons with disabilities are a topic of global concern that calls for global answers. Austria is ready to contribute its share."

At the event, the Zero Project was presented; an initiative of the World Future Council, the Austrian Essl Foundation and Bank Austria, that tries to collect positive experience gained with the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to propagate sustainable laws fit for the future as well as solution proposals for global problems that must not be delayed. "Austria is supporting this project. We intend to continue our commitment to root the rights of persons with disabilities more strongly in our society", the Vice-Chancellor said. This is why the organisation of the panel discussion "is yet another clear sign of Austria's support for the rights of persons with disabilities".

Another item discussed was the importance of integrating the rights of persons with disabilities in the discussion of the Millennium Development Goals. The outcome of the discussion was that increased international cooperation would be required to achieve that. Austria has a tradition of advocating inclusive human rights in the field of international development cooperation. The implementation of the UN Convention plays a decisive role in that – this has also been laid down in the 2013 - 2015 three-years programme.

Austria is advocating the rights of people with disabilities within the framework of Austria's membership in the UN Human Rights Council and keeps reiterating the importance of effective and complete implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Austria was also one of the first states to submit the national implementation report to the UN. The review of the report by the UN Committee in charge will take place in Geneva in September 2013.

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