Spain wins major disability rights prize

Spain's Queen Sofia on Monday accepted a top international prize honoring the country's achievements in promoting the rights of its disabled citizens.

Spain wins major disability rights prize
Queen Sofia of Spain (R) and David Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the awards ceremony at the United Nations. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/AFP

Queen Sofia accepted the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award on behalf of Spain at a ceremony at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

Spain was granted the award by The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice for "improving the human rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in their country".

"This award serves us as a stimulus to continue making progress towards a fully egalitarian society," Queen Sofia said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the Spanish royal family, the Spanish Government and its people for "the efforts of the European country towards inclusion and equality, such as last year’s adoption of a comprehensive strategy on disability".

He said this “promises to remove barriers to participation in all aspects of society, including employment, social protection and public life”.

"A world that recognizes the rights of the disabled, ensures that people with disabilities can be productive members of their communities and nations, and provides an inclusive and accessible environment, is a world that will benefit all of us — with or without disabilities," he added.

People with disabilities make up about 15 per cent of the global population, according to the UN.

Ana Mato, Spain’s Health, Social Services and Equality Minister, said the prize was "a source of enormous satisfaction" for the country which is fighting for "full integration, non-discrimination and improving the quality of life of differently enabled people".

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