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Disability Specific Policy

Traditionally, disability policy used to be based on the understanding that disability differs to normality. On this basis, policy regarding people with disabilities was focused on rehabilitation, rather than recognising that human differences should be embraced as a phenomenon which is both natural and beneficial to human society.

Over the past decade or two, perspectives towards disability have undergone a major revolution. Indeed, limitations faced by people with disabilities are no longer considered to be due to their disabilities but caused by society’s inability to adjust to the difference posed by disability and to provide equal opportunities to all its citizens, beyond factors such as sex, age, ethnicity and of course, disability.

In 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities brought an end to the debate and brought a legal and political framework towards how people with disabilities should be considered by society’s actors.

Having ratified the Convention, the EU has published two key documents aiming at implementing the Convention’s principles and actions throughout Europe.

The Council of Europe has also launched a Disability Action Plan for 2006-2015 to implement the Convention.