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Largest ever international conference on disability rights takes place in Bangkok

D.N.I.S. News Network – Basic human rights for disabled people were the focus of a two-day International Conference held in Bangkok from 17 to 18 October involving participants from almost 80 countries.

“Disability: A Global Perspective on Rights to Education and Livelihood” took place at the United Nations Conference Centre (U.N.C.C.) Bangkok. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (U.N.E.S.C.A.P.) and Leonard Cheshire International (L.C.I.), a UK based disability N.G.O. with projects in 57 countries, jointly organised the Conference.

Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand H.E. Suwat Liptapanlop opened the Cconference. Disability leader and World Bank’s first adviser on disability and development, Judy Heumann also addressed the gathering.

The Executive Director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), Javed Abidi, shared India’s experiences and current concerns of the disability sector in the 10th year of the country’s Disability Act.

“This is the first ever large global Conference on disability, involving such a wide range of participants,” said U.N.E.S.C.A.P. Executive Secretary of Kim Hak-Su.

“Practitioners, policy makers and persons with diverse disabilities from more than 80 nations, including Sweden, Zimbabwe and South Africa, have gathered to examine disability education and employment issues and to produce a set of recommendations,” he added.

“This Conference is a call to action,” said International Director of L.C.I. Tanya Barron. “98 per cent of disabled children are not in school and 80 per cent of disabled people in developing countries are unemployed. We need to ask ourselves why this is happening and what we can do about it,” she said.

U.N.E.S.C.A.P. also organised a separate three-day Rregional Workshop immediately after the International Conference, from 19 to 21 October. The Regional Workshop on a Comprehensive National Plan of Action on Disability aimed to give policymakers practical solutions on implementing the Biwako Millennium Framework’s (B.M.F.) disability-inclusive plans.