The majority of people with disabilities live in rural areas
New UN Convention protecting their rights seen as major achievement
5 December 2006, Rome – “The majority of the world's 650 million disabled people live in developing countries, 80 percent of them in rural areas, often in a state of dire poverty,” FAO expert Libor Stloukal told a meeting held today at FAO headquarters to mark the International Day of Disabled Persons.
Commenting on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by a UN General Assembly panel in August 2006 but still needs to be ratified and implemented, Stloukal stressed that “disabled farmers remain farmers first and foremost, with the same rights as every other person.”
“This Convention is not only about changing public perceptions towards persons with disabilities but also about opening socio-economic opportunities in recognizing that people with disabilities can make meaningful contributions to society.”
Relevance to FAO's activities
Several articles of the new Convention are of direct relevance to FAO’s activities, especially when it comes to ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities to food and nutrition, education, and access to health care and to favourable conditions of employment.
Access to information and communication technologies is particularly important for people with disabilities, especially for those living in isolated rural or mountain areas. “That is why the theme chosen for this year’s Day of Disabled Persons is referred to as E-Accessibility Day, as access to information and communication technologies creates opportunities for everyone,” Stloukal said.
The meeting at FAO headquarters emphasized the need to launch new initiatives aimed at ensuring that persons living with disabilities can fully participate to all aspects of daily life in their rural communities.
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, on 3 December, aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Pina del Lama
Media Relations, FAO
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