Vienna, 3 December 2008 - "More than 600 million people with disabilities around the world are still demanding full access to all human rights, such as the right to independent living, to social protection, education, work, or the right to create a family", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on today's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of foreign and development policy actions in this area: "The situation of people with disabilities is particularly serious in the developing countries. Although 70% of all people with disabilities live there, only 2–4% receives access to rehabilitation and promotion programs! For this reason, Austrian development policy is placing a focus on the promotion of people with disabilities, which is also enshrined in the Austrian Development Cooperation Act." Austrian development projects in this area deal with basic medical care, which can partly prevent or eliminate disabilities, with the rehabilitation of mine victims in former conflict regions in Africa, or with the creation of income opportunities for people with disabilities in the tsunami-affected area of Sri Lanka.
Spindelegger thanked all representatives of the Austrian civil society who engage in activities to help people with disabilities in Austria and around the world. "We will persistently support a quick implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Austria was one of the first among EU States to ratify", concluded the Foreign Minister.
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