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UN holds high-level meeting on disability

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UN holds high-level meeting on disability

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has opened a historic UN meeting of world leaders "to break barriers and open doors" for the more than 1 billion disabled people around the world.

The goal of the first-ever high-level General Assembly meeting is to spur international action to ensure that the disabled can contribute to the global economy.

"Far too many people with disabilities live in poverty (and) too many suffer from social exclusion" and are denied access to education, health care, and social and legal support, Ban said.

The World Health Organisation said a huge increase in hearing aids, glasses and wheelchairs could improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

But the disabled have other hurdles to overcome, including discrimination and stigma.

That view was echoed by blind singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, a UN Messenger of Peace, who said: "I wish for a day when there would be technology available for the blind ... for every single blind person or persons with disabilities all over the world."

He urged the international community to make it possible so that every single person with disabilities "will be freer" to pursue their lives and dreams.

General Assembly President John W. Ashe stressed the importance of a new global commitment.

"Given the size of such a marginalised group, the onus is on us all to ensure that any future Sustainable Development Goals include the disabled," he said, referring to new UN goals being debated for 2015 to 2030 to fight poverty and promote equality.

"Far too many are hidden from view by others, and robbed of any contact, dignity or joy because of poverty, lack of support services, an unwarranted sense of shame or terrible ignorance," Ashe said.

Monday's meeting is the prelude to the annual UN gathering of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs, which starts on Tuesday.

For the disabled, who represent about 15 per cent of the world's population, Monday's meeting is a milestone.

Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, executive director of WHO's office at the UN, said people with disabilities are twice as likely to find health services inadequate, and three times as likely to be denied adequate health care.

References and further information

This article was originally produced by the Herald Sun.

 

To veiw the rest of this article visit the Herald Sun website  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/un-holds-high-level-meeting-on-disability/story-fni0xqll-1226725657032

 

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