On Thursday, December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, President Klaus Iohannis sent a message calling for unity and solidarity to build an inclusive society."On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I am calling for unity and solidarity for the construction of an inclusive society, in which all participants in community life enjoy equal opportunities in their desire to fully realize their potential," reads the presidential message.
He shows that, at present, there are 853,000 people with disabilities living in Romania, of whom 75,300 are children.
"Their fate should be of concern to the Romanian society, especially in these extremely difficult times, in which the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the difficulties that our fellow citizens face every day. Things cannot change overnight, but we can all fight so that the rights of people with disabilities are better defended and promoted, and officials have the responsibility to ensure their direct access to the social, health and educational system," says Iohannis.
The chief of state insists that efforts to contain school segregation must be intensified, pointing out that it is a serious form of discrimination.
"I welcome and support initiatives aimed at creating the legal framework and tools that support schools in their efforts to integrate children with disabilities into the mainstream education system," Iohannis said.
President Iohannis says officials must ensure that people with disabilities receive the medical care they need and that there is no barrier to their access to community life.
"A society becomes stronger when the freedom and rights of every member are protected. Equality, inclusion, tolerance, solidarity, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms are the pillars of any democratic society, and people with disabilities must be able to benefit from equal opportunities, specific social inclusion programmes, to be supported and to get services adjusted for their needs. Segregation and discrimination are incompatible with democratic values. A Romania in which policies for people with disabilities are a priority is a country that appreciates and respects the extraordinary potential and contribution of each individual. That is why I support the government's initiatives to increase and diversify opportunities, as well as measures for the safety, protection and support of people with disabilities."
Iohannis points out that a decade ago Romania ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and that, although much progress has been made, there is still a need for legislative improvements and a better understanding of these issues at societal levels.
"The scourge of discrimination and social exclusion is deeply harmful, because a society cannot progress in the absence of tolerance and good coexistence. A strong state is a state that protects its citizens. By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and transposing its principles into a strategy for the sustainable development of Romania 2030, our country has taken concrete steps towards ensuring the well-being of the public and supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities."
Iohannis adds that he remains a trusted partner to those who believe in human rights and dignity.