DAY OF DISABLED PEOPLE: DAVIS (CoE), "AS FAST AS USAIN BOLT, AS TALL AS YAO MING…"

"Try to imagine a world in which one has to be as fast as sprinter Usain Bolt to take the bus, as tall as basketball player Yao Ming to press a switch, or as flexible as Stefka Kostadinova, the winner of the high-jump world record to climb the stairs. If imagination fails you, ask disabled people: that is their daily life". These are the three comparisons chosen by Terry Davis, secretary general of the Council of Europe, for his message on the World Day of Disabled People. "In many respects – he adds –, the level of disability is not dictated by the physical condition of a person, but by the level of adaptation of their environment, which is essential to guarantee equal opportunities for everyone. The challenge lies in providing freedom of choice and a good quality of life within society. According to Davis, this is "the underlying theme of the CoE Action Plan for disabled people". The Plan is divided into 15 "lines of action", which "cover all aspects of disabled people’ life" and lays down goals and specific measures. "Over one half of the member states of the CoE – explains Davis – take it as a model for their own legislations and national policies for disabilities.

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