United Nations Commission To Extend "Decade For Disabled Persons"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 21, 2002
BANGKOK, THAILAND--During a gathering of 300 officials and experts on disability issues from Asia-Pacific nations later this week, a United Nations commission is expected to launch its second "Decade for disabled persons".
Kim Hak-Su, the Executive Secretary of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), announced Monday that governments in the region have decided to extend the "Decade for disabled persons: 1993-2002" to include the years 2003-2012, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The officials are expected to adopt a number of actions to meet the goal of "an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific," Kim said at a news conference.
"During the first decade, much has been achieved in realizing the goal, which is seen in improvements in legislation, public awareness and national coordination on disability issues and in more accessibility of communication for the disabled," said Kim.
"People with disabilities continue to face institutional, environmental and attitudinal barriers," he said.
Two-thirds of the world's population of people with disabilities -- an estimated 400 million -- live in the region. An estimated 160 million of them live in poverty because of employment discrimination and lack of education. Women with disabilities face both disability and gender discrimination. Less than 10 percent of children with disabilities in the area go to school.
The Bangkok-based ESCAP has 41 member nations and is the largest intergovernmental socio-economic organization in the Asia and Pacific.