Laos reaffirms protection of rights of disabled

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government is committed to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in Laos to improve their living conditions, according to a leading official.

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng made the remark recently while addressing the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Midpoint Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, in China.

The meeting aimed to discuss the future policy direction for building disability-inclusive societies in Asia and the Pacific, bearing in mind the synergies between the Incheon Strategy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“We are still faced with many challenges, such as the rising numbers of people being born with disabilities, accidents from UXOs, road accidents, and accidents at work, which has led to many different forms of disabilities,” Dr Khampheng said.

“This has therefore resulted in a greater need for care, treatment, education, and vocational training, which has placed a demand on the government to invest in providing assistance, training up personnel to have knowledge and expertise in various fields,” he said.

Laos was improving policies, legislation, strategies, programmes, and detailed projects and had coordinated with all sectors both domestically and overseas aiming to protect and promote the rights and interests of disabled and elderly persons, he added.

The government has also set up a revolving fund to develop the quality of lives of elderly persons and provide them with free annual health checks.

“We also participate in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities along with the aforementioned policies, legislation and programmes on which we are currently working,” he said.

The meeting took place at a critical juncture when Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) member States and associate members are striving to build more inclusive societies at a time of global economic uncertainties and rising inequality, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a unique opportunity to ‘leave no one behind’ in development, and to support disability-inclusive development across Asia and the Pacific.

According to the Lao Disabled People’s Association, in 2005, there were 56,727 disabled people in Laos, including 22,651 women. In 2015, the number of the disabled had increased to 181,787.

Currently, they have 16,326 disabled people registered with the organisation, including 8,042 women.

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