18/09/2001

Executive publishes response to disability rights report

A new public consultation document entitled "Improving Civil Rights for Disabled People" has been published in response to recommendations made by the UK Disability Rights Task Force.

The Task Force report, entitled "From Exclusion to Inclusion", focused on the full range of issues that affect disabled people’s lives and the rights they require to participate fully in society, free from discrimination.

Welcoming the publication of the Executive’s response to the report, Enterprise Minister Sir Reg Empey said: "The Disability Rights Task Force set a challenging agenda to bring about improved civil rights for disabled people and I am delighted that we have been able to respond to its recommendations in such a positive manner.

"I am confident that our response will play an important role in achieving equality of opportunity for disabled people. The Executive is determined to ensure that people with disabilities do not face discrimination and have the opportunity to participate fully in society."

"Disabled people already have important rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. The Executive has shown its commitment to disabled people by agreeing to give the Equality Commission strong powers to enforce these rights."

Many new proposals are to be brought forward that aim to make a difference to the lives of disabled people. These measures include recognising persons diagnosed with HIV as being disabled, and those with cancer as being disabled in cases that evidently require substantial treatment. Much of the red tape surrounding the issue of recognition of blindness is also to be removed.

Other proposals include helping to ensure that employers cannot avoid having to make reasonable accommodation for disabled people and removing the exemption for small employers from disability discrimination law. (CL)

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