On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day 2017 (April 2), Autism-Europe launched its new campaign and reinforced its call for EU and Member State policy-makers to strengthen their commitment to removing the many barriers preventing people on the autism spectrum from enjoying their human rights.
Autism-Europe’s campaign focuses particularly on accessibility, carrying the title “Break Barriers Together for Autism: Let’s Build an Accessible Society”. The aim this year is to understand what barriers to inclusion autistic people are up against, and how society can remove them and become more autism-friendly. This reasoning is equally central to the calls for action in Autism-Europe’s campaign manifesto.
A wide range of stakeholders and public figures, as well as people from the world of sport, have already participated in the campaign. Personalities such us the players of FC Bayern München and Manchester City F. C, or the Queen of Spain Letizia, publicly supported this campaign.
People with autism, and the wider public, are also invited to raise awareness on social media over the course of the campaign by writing a short description of what makes society inaccessible for them on a banner or a piece of paper. Then they can photograph or film themselves holding their banner, before breaking through it or ripping it up as a way of symbolically breaking down this barrier. Anyone wishing to support the campaign can post pictures of themselves holding the banner.
This call for action is also extended to decisions-makers, underlining the need to foster inclusive policies and promote the respect of the rights of people with autism. As such, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, Members of the European Parliament from 10 different countries and different political parties, and members of the European Economic and Social Committee, have also symbolically broken barriers for autism.