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Conference: How to include people with disabilities in disaster preparedness and response

Policy makers and government representatives will gather in Brussels tomorrow, for a two-day conference discussing the inclusion of disabled people in disaster preparedness and response strategies.

The foundations of the event, organised under the EUR-OPA Agreement, the Council of Europe platform for co-operation – between Europe and the South of the Mediterranean – are the ‘Guidelines for Assisting People with Disabilities during Emergency, Crises and Disasters’ and the ‘Recommendation on Including People with Disabilities in Disaster Preparedness and Response.’

“People with disabilities must no longer be treated like second-class citizens’,” says Assembly rapporteur

“People with disabilities must no longer be invisible to the rest of society or treated like second-class citizens. That has to change,” said Carmen Quintanilla, as the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly adopted a report on equality and inclusion for people with disabilities today in Paris.

“We live in a democracy but we do not all participate in it on equal terms. The mismatch between international standards and the reality experienced on a day-to-day basis by people with disabilities is particularly striking,” added Quintanilla. “Accessibility, access to employment, legal capacity and violence towards people with disabilities are all issues demanding attention and action on the part of the States,” she added.

With this International Day of Persons with Disabilities devoted to the promise of technology, Ms Quintanilla declared that “developing an adapted work environment is key to raising the very low employment rate of people with disabilities.”

She also called for “resolute action to that end from states and the business sector.”

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