Transforming society to make inclusion a priority

“Persons with disabilities encounter numerous obstacles in their daily lives worldwide. They face the lack of accessibility of public places, discrimination when looking for a job or encounter difficulties when going to work. Full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, including on the labour market, is still far from being a reality in Europe. While disability concerns all of us, it is not yet systematically taken into account in policy planning by public authorities or the private sector”, said Elena Centemero (Italy, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

“Promoting full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society on a daily basis is the only way to deconstruct the barriers of prejudice and change mentalities” stressed Ms Centemero ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) focusing this year on the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. “It is time we realise that disability is part of our lives, schools, parliaments and workplaces and that living in an inclusive society is beneficial to all”, she continued.

“Parliamentarians have a responsibility to pave the way to full inclusion of persons with disabilities by demonstrating political will and personal commitment as well as ensuring sufficient financial resources to this end. Our duty is to positively contribute to transforming society and making more open to ensure that every person feels like she/he counts”, Ms Centemero concluded.