Germany aligns itself with the EU statement and with the Joint Statement delivered by Ukraine earlier in this debate.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol was a huge milestone for Germany leading to a paradigm shift since 2009 in disability policy – from a welfare-based conception of disability to an approach based on human rights and participation.
Since then, Germany has increasingly made inclusion and participation a policy-making priority and has introduced obligations in all policy areas by applying a disability mainstreaming approach. To ensure accessibility in the social environment Germany will launch a federal initiative called “Germany is becoming accessible”. This government programme aims to improve accessibility in all areas of public and private life. In particular, we will focus on the areas: Mobility, housing, health and digital technologies.
The German government also wants to get more people with disabilities to the first labour market. In order to do so, for years we have given employers incentives for hiring people with disabilities – now we increase pressure. Employers who do not employ any person with disabilities in their companies will have to pay a high compensatory levy. Revenue from this levy will be used to fund labour market integration measures for persons with disabilities.
Protection against violence has already been enshrined in a legal regulation. In the future, we want to fight violence against persons with disabilities with even more determination and we are planning a strategy with additional measures to protect persons with disabilities, especially women and girls.
Regarding our commitment to implement the UN CRPD, we do not focus only on national issues, however. We look very forward to hosting the next Global Disability Summit in 2025 together with the Kingdom of Jordan and civil society.
As a result of Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, numerous persons with disabilities have fled from Ukraine to Germany and to other neighbouring countries – sometimes in groups or with family members. Disabled persons arriving in Germany receive benefits to secure their livelihoods and they receive special support for their particular needs.
I am proud to announce that the Special Olympics World Games 2023 will be held in Berlin – the first time in Germany. These Games are the biggest inclusive sports event worldwide for people with intellectual disabilities. I hope to welcome all of you to this event next summer in Berlin.
The Federal Republic of Germany will continue to work for an inclusive and accessible world. Social security, participation and inclusion will remain priorities in our Policy.