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Yellow Truck Hits The Road Against Discrimination The Anti-Discrimination Tour Will Take in 21 Countries

Editor's Note: This item is taken from the website of the European Parliament, European Union (EU), May 3, 2007: www.europarl.europa.eu

Last Wednesday, 25 April, saw a large yellow truck parked outside the Parliament in Strasbourg. It was there at the start of an anti-discrimination tour of 21 countries in 7 months. The specially adapted truck will act as a mobile exhibition with the public encouraged to visit and take part. Its cargo--or message--is twofold: Firstly, that discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability and sexual orientation is unacceptable. Secondly, that people have rights and should know them.

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??The truck tours message is "For Diversity, Against Discrimination" and it forms part of the events organized as part of the 2007 "Year of Equal Opportunities for all."?

??A Europe "Where Everyone is Equal"?

??MEPs (members of the European Parliament) from all sides of the hemicycle were there at the launch of the truck tour to show their support for the initiative. Michael Cashman, for the Socialist PSE Group, said, "The European Union was built out of the ashes of the second world war, and during that war we saw individuals who, because of their religion, their beliefs, and their sexual orientation were taken off to concentration camps..."?

??He pledged action against discrimination, saying, "We are determined to create a Europe where everyone is equal and if someone is attacked, it is our duty to defend them."?

??A key theme of the tour is to inform people that they have rights and should exercise them. French PSE member, Martine Roure--who acts as Parliament's rapporteur for the year of equal opportunities--put the problem down to the complexity of EU law. She said that "the EU passes very complex and badly known legislation to protect its citizens" and added that "very often citizens do not appeal to Europe to lodge their rights because they do not know of {the} existence of this European legislation."?

??The truck's role will be to act {as} a forum where people can receive information about their rights under national and EU legislation. As it travels from country to country, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the field will use it to host exhibitions and discussions about diversity and discrimination.?

??Special Focus on the Disabled?

??An estimated 37 million people across the EU are believed to be disabled in some way or another. This puts enormous stress on their families and on medical and social services. It also requires a response from society at large to deal with this number. It requires that they are treated with equality, dignity and empathy.?

??As Liz Lynne, a Liberal ALDE member, put it at the launch: "we must make sure that disabled people are treated exactly the same and that legislation is implemented across all member states equally and that excluded sectors, like older and disabled people, are included."?

??As well as having full wheelchair access, the yellow truck has a braille guide that allows visually impaired people to access information on its website (see the link below). It also has another novel feature to create awareness of the barriers disabled people face: visitors can sit in a wheelchair and navigate obstacles. Visitors can also try to identify sounds, smells and everyday objects using limited senses. As well as these, there will be song contests, poster exhibitions and quiz shows in the truck.?

??See the truck online and in person if you want. Just click on the link below to see where it stops.?

??Further information:?

??Yellow Truck Tour: www.truck07.stop-discrimination.info/844.0.html?

ZZ - Disregard this link; it is used to trick spammers.