Volume 1 Issue 4 - October 15, 2003

Rights groups meet to discuss Biwako Millennium Framework

DNIS News Network – Employment opportunities, inclusive education, problems of women with disabilities, social security and role of self-help organizations were some of the burning topics that were discussed during the two-day national consultation meet for creating a barrier-free society for disabled people under “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action”.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had organised the meet, held on October 9 and 10, 2003 at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre. Eminent people from various ministries, NGOs and public sector participated.

The meet was part of Biwako Millennium Framework’s India Chapter and is believed to signal the second United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) Decade of the Disabled (2003-2012).

Perhaps, for the first time rights groups from the disability sector and self help organizations came together to discuss the possibilities of inclusion and legal rights for disabled people.

A wide range of topics was discussed, from marginalisation of disabled women, to the right to accessible environment, to effective pension plans and pre-natal insurance plans for prevention and cure of disability.

While there was a thrust on inclusion of parents and family members of mentally ill people in self-help groups, it was brought out that little focus is given for mental disability, even when disability is discussed in India.

NGOs criticized how Biwako Millennium Framework in India has failed to address the needs of the mentally ill people. Disability is mainly perceived in terms of physical disability, the issue was raised during the session on “Women with Disabilities.”

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