News ID: 114308
Publish Date : 25 April 2023 - 22:23

France Under Pressure Over Disabled Rights as Olympics Loom

PARIS (AP) — Pascale Ribes and other campaigners for the rights of people with disabilities in France have an invite to meet the French president Wednesday. But because she uses a wheelchair, Ribes won’t risk traveling by public transport to the conference at the presidential Elysee Palace.
The nearest wheelchair-accessible Metro line is about a kilometer (half a mile) away and public buses in the French capital — host of the next Olympic Games — can be a time-gobbling ordeal for people with limited mobility, Ribes says.
So the president of the lobbying group APF France Handicap will instead ride by taxi in hopes of delivering her message to President Emmanuel Macron that France is lagging in its obligations to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities.
Ribes warns that instead of showcasing France, the 2024 Olympics risk highlighting the country’s failings unless there’s quick action to make the Paris Games and the host country more mindful of the needs and rights of people with disabilities.
Ribes isn’t the only critical voice as Macron hosts France’s first national conference on disabilities since the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, an arm of the Council of Europe, the continent’s foremost human rights body, found France in violation of a European treaty on social and economic rights, citing multiple failings toward adults and children with disabilities.
The ruling from the COE’s European Committee of Social Rights isn’t legally binding. But campaigners in France hope its rebuke will give them greater leverage to push Macron for remedies.
The looming deadlines of the July 26 to Aug. 11, 2024, Olympics and Aug. 28 to Sept. 8 Paralympics are also upping the pressure.