Cities protecting the rights of people with disabilities

  • mobility

João Carlos da Silva Alfonso, deputy mayor of Lisbon for social rights, spoke on behalf of EUROCITIES at a high level Latvian presidency event on disability in Riga on 11 May.

The event was an opportunity to assess the progress of implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is important to ensure that the rights of the 80 million people in Europe with disabilities are respected, and that they can fully participate in the labour market and society in general. This can be achieved at European level through comprehensive policies with a human rights approach. City authorities have an important role to play in the implementation of these policies. 

João Carlos da Silva Alfonso participated in a panel discussion entitled, 'Towards disability policies based on human rights model'. He highlighted that local governments have a key role to play in implementing the UN convention, building inclusive labour markets, and ensuring the accessibility of urban environments. 

He said: "The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a giant leap for mankind and a challenge that implies many steps. We must work together between all levels of governance: European, national, regional and local. And this approach must acknowledge that cities are on the frontline of this challenge, and have a key role to play in the implementation of the convention."

Lisbon will host our conference, 'Cities for accessibility, jobs and inclusion: breaking down barriers together' on 18-19 June, which will be a chance to further emphasise the importance of local authorities in the disability and accessibility agendas. The conference will explore how different levels of government can work together to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, active ageing, participation and economic growth in the EU.