Several hundred guests from abroad, representatives of state institutions, civil society organizations and athletes with disabilities were present at the ceremony opening of Seventh European Congress for Persons with Disabilities, held in concert hall Kolarac.
Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic stressed at the ceremony that a congress at this level is good opportunity for all our citizens, state policy creators and whole society to get along with European and global standards related to activities and content intended to improve the position of persons with disabilities and mental difficulties. She stressed that Belgrade and Serbia are sending a message from this conference, that society is ready to understand differences and accept them as richness, that everyone living with some kind of disability should be visible and equal, able to live in accessible environment that provides support in education, employment, health, culture, sport and other areas of life – a task that the institution of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is fully commitment to.
Disability is not courage, nor a tragedy, but a way of living. Our disabilities don’t make us disabled, but our abilities make us able. Persons with disabilities don’t have special needs, they are the same for all of us, different is only the ways in which we fulfill them, said Commissioner and added that she believes that we can do much in order to adapt our society to all our citizens, without exception.
Other speakers at the ceremony opening were also Thomas Kraus, founder of European Congress for Persons with Disabilities and Minister for Labor Employment, Social and Veteran Issues Zoran Djordjevic, while participants in the art part of the ceremony were chores of associations of persons with mental disabilities from Serbia and abroad, Natasha Kraus and Teofilovic brothers.