Equal Rights for the Disabled

UN-ESCAP's Make the Right Real! Campaign aims to accelerate the ratification and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Asia-Pacific

By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Korea to attend this mouthful "High-Level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012" organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia Pacific (UN-ESCAP) at the Songdo Convensia Convention Centre in Incheon, South Korea. The Senior Officials Meeting is from 29th to 31st October 2012 and the Ministerial Meeting is from 1st to 2nd November 2012.

Songdo Convensia (Source: Korea Times)

The Meeting will be attended by Ministers and senior officials of governments, as well as civil society leaders from across Asia and the Pacific. The Meeting will consider measures to empower persons with disabilities and promote greater equality, particularly through the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)– the first disability-specific human rights treaty in the world.

The past ten years have seen substantial progress in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Asia-Pacific. 24 Governments in the region have ratified the CRPD, and many others have adopted and implemented national laws to promote disability-inclusive development. The ESCAP Intergovernmental Meeting will review this progress and also launch the new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.

The Meeting is also expected to adopt the Incheon Strategy, a pioneering document that will guide national and regional action in a multitude of domains: reducing poverty among persons with disabilities; improving accessibility of the physical and ICT environments; enhancing access of persons with disabilities to education and employment opportunities; promoting their participation in decision-making processes, promoting gender equality for women with disabilities; making disaster risk reduction disability-inclusive; and accelerating the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ESCAP region. Through the Incheon Strategy, ESCAP countries will be charting the course of regional cooperation during the new Decade with a view to improving the lives of the 650 million persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Meeting will also see the launch of the first Disability-Inclusive Business Award in the region, a partnership between ESCAP, the Nippon Foundation and the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD). Building a disability-inclusive society is not only a moral imperative, but also a tremendous social and economic opportunity to realize the potential of 15% of the region’s population

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