Local Euro MP Catherine Bearder today pressured the European Commission to engage with disabled people at all stages of the development process.
The majority of the world's disabled people live in the developing world, and in countries that suffer from chronic poverty the plight of this small section of society is often overlooked. Worldwide disability is the biggest barrier to education, and therefore also to accessing the job market.
Speaking in the plenary session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the EU and the ACP countries Catherine argued, "we must ensure that barriers to disabled people accessing education and employment in developing countries are overcome."
Catherine pointed out, "a fundamental principle of the Cotonou Agreement is support to, and involvement of, civil society in all stages of the development process." She added, "the European Community is also a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention includes obligations to include disabled people's organisations in all processes that can affect them, and to ensure that public information, infrastructure and procedures are accessible to persons with disabilities."