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Council of Europe Disability Strategy

Council of Europe Disability Strategy 2017 – 2023

Council of Europe (CoE) is the oldest European organization. It was established in 1949, operates in Strasbourg, France and has 47 member-states, including all the member-states of the European Union. Its aim is to uphold the values of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in all member-states. The Council’s two statutory bodies are the Committee of Ministers, comprising of the foreign ministers of each member-state, and the Parliamentary Assembly, composed of members of the national parliaments of each member-state. The Secretary General heads the secretariat of the organisation whereas other important bodies of the CoE include: the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations.

The CoE has its own flag, logo and anthem. More information about its operation can be found in the following link:
The Council of Europe Disability Strategy 2017-2023 sets out the priority areas of the Council of Europe in this area for the period 2017 to 2023 giving guidance and inspiration to member States and other stakeholders on policies, activities and measures to ensure implementation of priorities at national and local levels. The overall goal of the Strategy is to achieve equality, dignity and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities. This requires ensuring independence, freedom of choice, full and effective participation in all areas of life and society, including living in the community.

The five priority areas are:
1. Equality and non-discrimination
2. Awareness raising
3. Accessibility
4. Equal Recognition before the law
5. Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

It also identifies five cross-cutting issues that need to be considered in all the CoE work and for member States to take into consideration in their legislation, policies and activities and in all areas of life to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

The cross-cutting issues are:
1. Participation, co-operation and coordination
2. Universal Design and reasonable accommodation
3. Gender equality perspective
4. Multiple discrimination
5. Education and training

The Strategy was implemented during the Cyprus chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE and was launched by the Conference “Human Rights: A Reality for All” which was organized by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance of Cyprus and the CoE and was held in Nicosia, on the 27th-28th of March 2017. The Conference was attended by representatives of all member-states, Officials of Cyprus Government, international experts on human rights and disability issues and representatives of the Organizations of Persons with Disabilities in Cyprus.

More information about the Conference can be found in the following link:

First Cyprus Report on the UNCRPD

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