Canada to Receive Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award; Prime Minister Chretien to Accept Award for Noteworthy National Progress

    NEW YORK, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
 Institute and the World Committee on Disability will honor Canada at the
 United Nations as the recipient of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International
 Disability Award.  Established in 1995, the award recognizes and encourages
 progress by nations toward the fulfillment of the goal of the United Nations
 World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons -- the full and equal
 participation of persons with disabilities in the life of their societies.
 Canada will be awarded a bronze bust of FDR by the distinguished artist
 Jo Davidson and a $50,000 grant for a non-governmental disability program in
 their nation.
     Upon receiving the award at the United Nations ceremony, Canadian Prime
 Minister Jean Chretien stated, "This award is welcome recognition of the
 partnership that exists within Canada in the fight to change attitudes and
 remove obstacles to the full participation of disabled people in community
 life.  At the same time, it serves as a strong reminder of the continuing
 effort that is needed to protect and advance the rights of disabled people
 both in Canada and the rest of the world."
     The World Programme prescribes how nations, communities, organizations,
 religions and people of goodwill everywhere can and must expand the
 participation of people with disabilities for economic, humanitarian and
 social reasons.  Participants at the award ceremony include United Nations
 Secretary General Kofi Annan; Christopher Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin and
 Eleanor Roosevelt; Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, President, Franklin
 and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute; and Alan A. Reich, Chairman, World Committee
 on Disability.
     "The Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award embodies the
 spirit of my grandfather who triumphed over his own disability and pioneered
 programs to meet the needs of disabled persons.  He would take particular
 pleasure in the presentation of this award to Canada, a country for which he
 had a special affection because of his home there at Campobello Island,"
 Christopher Roosevelt stated in presenting the award to the Prime Minister.
     Canada was selected by the Trustees of the Roosevelt Institute, with the
 advice of individuals knowledgeable about international disability, the United
 Nations World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons, and FDR's
 commitment to social justice for all.
     "As one of the principal founders of the United Nations and a disabled
 person himself, Franklin D. Roosevelt would have found special meaning in the
 United Nations World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons.  In
 enacting disability legislation and implementing its 'National Strategy' on
 integrating persons with disabilities into Canadian life, Canada has taken
 significant steps toward fulfilling the goals of the UN Programme and has set
 a standard for other nations to follow," said Ambassador William J. vanden
 Heuvel.
     "Disability is a silent emergency," stated Alan A. Reich, a wheelchair
 user who has advocated in the UN General Assembly on behalf of persons with
 disabilities.  "A half-billion persons -- one fifth of the people on our
 planet -- have a disability.  Eighty percent of them are in developing nations
 and are doubly disadvantaged by disability and poverty.  We applaud Secretary
 General Kofi Annan, the United Nations, and Canada for inspirational
 leadership that brings hope to people with disabilities everywhere.  All the
 world stands to gain," Reich said.
     Canada is recognized for elevating disability to the top of its national
 agenda.  Efforts have included a national strategy for integrating persons
 with disabilities, as well as establishing a $158 million fund to expand their
 participation in Canadian life.  The Canadian Parliament introduced the
 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of
 disability.  The Employment Equity Act strives to ensure employment rights.
 Canada's international leadership on disability was highlighted by its
 spearheading the worldwide campaign for a treaty to ban antipersonnel
 landmines -- a major disabler.  And, Canada played a vital role in developing
 the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
 Persons with Disabilities.
     The award is named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who contracted
 polio at age 39.  Although he never again took a step unassisted during his
 lifetime, he was four times elected President of the United States and led his
 nation through its two greatest crises of the twentieth century:  the Great
 Depression and World War II.  His key role in the founding of the United
 Nations is often regarded as his crowning achievement.
     The award was established by the Roosevelt Institute and the World
 Committee on October 24, 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.
 The mission of the Institute is to inform new generations of the ideals and
 achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and to inspire the application
 of their spirit of optimism and innovation to the solution of current
 problems.  The World Committee on Disability, the international arm of the
 National Organization on Disability, promotes the full and equal participation
 of people with disabilities in the life of their societies. Its mission is to
 further the United Nations World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled
 Persons.
 
 

SOURCE National Organization on Disability

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