NEW YORK – September 9, 2013 – “If you don’t like something, change it. If something bothers you, confront it.”  These powerful words from a Spanish public service announcement represent the efforts the Kingdom of Spain has made toward improving the human rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in their country. The public service announcement was shown as part of today’s award ceremony honoring Spain’s efforts.

At the ceremony Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain accepted the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain.  David B. Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, presented the award to Her Majesty.  Also in attendance were Ivan Šimonović,UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Annette Lantos, wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, and other dignitaries.

Sponsored by the Lantos Foundation and the Roosevelt Institute, the award recognizes the significant progress Spain has made in advancing the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all societal areas.  

Susan B. Parker, Senior Advisor & Lead Judge for the award said, “Spain has taken the time to establish broad reaching legislation and implement that same legislation at the national level, at the regional level, and at the local level…They don’t just talk about it; they do it.”

The award is presented to a nation for noteworthy progress in upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to encourage effective, long-term, positive progress by nation states toward inclusion, equal rights, and quality of life for their citizens with disabilities

The award consists of a bronze bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, who contracted polio at the age of 39, and although a paraplegic, unable to walk or stand again unassisted, was four times elected by the American people. Additionally, a $50,000 cash award is given to a non-governmental organization working on behalf of persons with disabilities within the winning nation. 

The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI) received this year’s cash award.  CERMI’s mission is to guarantee equal opportunities for women, men, and children with disabilities and to protect their human rights, ensuring they are fully included in society.

For more information about the award please visit our website.