Inclusion of persons with disabilities: time for a change of mindsets

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to “leave no one behind” and mentions equality and inclusion as fundamental principles. We should fully support this approach and step up efforts to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society. In order to make tangible progress, we need to change mindsets and recognise that persons with disabilities are essential economic and political actors, as well as vectors of change”, stated Adão Silva (Portugal, EPP/CD), rapporteur for a report on “For a disability-inclusive workforce”, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“Guaranteeing access to education and to employment opportunities for persons with disabilities is needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, throughout Europe, persons with disabilities still encounter multiple obstacles. Their employment rate remains rather low and persons with disabilities are often employed in paid jobs”, he continued.

“With political will and sufficient funding, full inclusion of persons with disabilities can become a reality. We should invest more in the education and employment of persons with disabilities, which can be beneficial from a human and economic point of view and advocate for inclusive environments. We should also contribute to empowering more persons with disabilities to hold positions of high responsibility in different sectors, including politics. We need to highlight abilities instead of disabilities. This change of mindsets can take us in the right direction for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”, Mr Silva concluded.

The report “For a disability-inclusive workforce” prepared by Mr Adão Silva will be debated during the January part-session 2019