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UN forum urges better life, more jobs for disabled

Published on Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013
Paul Scruggs, a blind worker at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, operates a machine that spreads out fabric to be cut into pieces for military uniforms in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. UN forum calls for more to be done to improve the living standards and employment opportunities for disabled people. (BLOOMBERG)

More should be done to improve the living standards and employment opportunities for disabled people, urged state parties to a related convention as they met in New York on Wednesday.

“It is imperative that we reach out and make the world a much more inclusive place to live in,” said Macharia Kamau, Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, also President of Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Inclusiveness means that, when it comes to issues of persons with disabilities, that we have to do everything within our power to ensure that their lives have the same opportunities for success as everyone else’s lives,” Kamau told a news conference.

The annual meeting of states parties to the convention, the largest international one on disability issues, aims to exchange experience and ideas for implementation of the Convention.

“The obligations of the Convention must be implemented at the national level to take real effect in the lives of persons with disabilities. Changes in law, policies and programs are required.

But even more importantly, attitudes must change,” said Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the opening of the conference.

There are more than a billion people with disabilities in the world. About 80 percent of them are of working age and face physical, social, economic and cultural challenge to their access to education, skills development and employment, according to the UN.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in 2006, obliges state parties to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy all human rights on an equal basis with others and to take appropriate steps to safeguard and promote the realisation of those rights without discrimination. 

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