D.N.I.S. News Network – The recently concluded Regional Training Seminar on Capacity Building for Self-help Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (C.B.S.H.O.D.) held from 22 to 26 September in Pakistan, came out with the Islamabad Declaration to give a major boost to disability rights movement in Asia and Pacific countries.
The Seminar brought together participants from 21 Asia and Pacific countries, including 40 from Pakistan. Ashok Kumar Yadav, General Secretary Northern Railway Physically Handicapped Welfare Association, was nominated from Disabled Peoples' International – India to attend the Seminar. The Seminar was organised by Pakistan’s Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education, Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disabilities (A.P.C.D.), Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.), Thai Government and World Bank.”
The Seminar was kick-started on a high note with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz lauding A.P.C.D. for selecting Islamabad as the venue. He outlined the salient features and vision of his country's National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which was enacted in 2002, and stressed on the need for equal participation and access to opportunities for persons with disabilities. Pakistan's Minister of Social Welfare and Special Education Zobaida Jalal was also present on the occasion.
The Islamabad Declaration adopted by the participants at the conclusion of the Seminar stated:
All the Government of Asia and Pacific region are encouraged to support the U.N. Convention on Human Rights of Person with Disabilities, in this initiatives, representative of Self-help Organisations should be included in the participation process of the Convention.
Empower and develop national cross-disabilities Self-help organisations to collaborate with their respective Government for ensuring the implementation of national and international policy framework on disability.
Develop a mechanism with the representatives from Self-help organisations to advocate with the Government for inclusion of persons with disabilities at all levels of decision-making.
Ensure equal opportunities for women with disabilities through their participation in decision-making processes and the repeal of existing legislation that discriminates against them;
Ensure that accessibility, inclusive education, sign language, information technology and employment opportunities are promoted through the implementation of the existing legal framework or by the enactment of legislation in countries where these are not exist.
Enable the self-help organizations working in the rural areas to promote the livelihood and ensuring equal opportunities of the persons with disabilities.
We the participants of C.B.S.H.O.D. encourage A.P.C.D. to strengthen the regional collaboration of A.P.C.D. activities as endorsed by U.N.-ESCAP.
The Declaration ends by the participants saying that: “ We finally appeal all the governments of Asia and the Pacific, Self-help Organisations and development partners including World Bank to implement this declaration by formulating adequate plan of action.”