Vienna, 3 December 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: “Equal rights for all of us“

Foreign Minister on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Vienna, 3 December 2010 – “Equal rights for all of us. Making possible equal und universal access to all human rights is the challenge we all face vis-à-vis our fellow human beings with disabilities in Austria and all over the world,” stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

A total of 96 states have already ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Austria proactively contributed to the implementation of the EU decision to accede to the Convention. “This will oblige the European Union as a whole to implement ‘universal access’ in European law and to adapt its policies more closely to the needs of persons with disabilities,” continued Spindelegger.

Providing the life of persons with disabilities with universal access is also at the centre of Austria’s efforts to assist victims within the framework of humanitarian disarmament: “Anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions still claim numerous victims – even in countries in which hostilities came to an end decades ago. In this context Austria consistently advocates comprehensive support and social reintegration of those affected”, stated the Foreign Minister, adding that this was not only our human duty but also a long-term investment in society. In international mine and cluster-munitions bodies Austria regularly assumes the role of coordinator of measures to assist victims.

UN Security Council Resolution 1894 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, which was initiated by Austria, was the first to address the problem of persons with disabilities in crisis areas: “This was an explicit recognition by the UN Security Council of the particular protective needs of persons with disabilities in crisis areas. It is a further step on the path to an ‘inclusive’ society based on the equality of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life,” concluded Spindelegger.

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