UN Session Draws International Attention to Rights of Persons with Disabilities
As a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is underway now in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, delegates from all over the world are discussing how to improve the rights and better meet the needs of persons with disabilities, two years since the Convention came into effect.
CRI's correspondent Shen Ting filed this report from New York.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006, and came into effect two years later. So far it has been signed by 146 states and ratified by 90.
Professor Yang Jia with the Chinese Academy of Sciences was elected vice chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities two years ago. As one of the leading members of the Chinese delegation to this session, she says the improvements the world has made regarding the rights of the disabled over the past two years are encouraging.
"I think this Convention is very important. Within two years, more and more governments in the world have realized that if we ignore this special group of people, it would be empty words for them to say they are trying to realize the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations."
According to Yang Jia, in the past two years, the numbers of both contracting and signatory states of the Convention have doubled. It has become the second most popular and respected human rights convention in the world, only after the Convention on the Rights of Children. Many countries, including China, have made great achievements in this regard in the past two years.
"In terms of education, employment, accessibility environment, and the most important of all, people's attitude, we're trying to make our world more inclusive. Actually right now in China we want to make persons with disabilities to participate in various activities and make them more visible, just out of homes, to be part of this society."
Yang Jia said two international events - the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008 and the World Expo currently underway in Shanghai - both helped raise public awareness of improving rights of persons with disabilities in China.
The Chinese government is working hard at all levels to address the needs of this special group of society in two major areas, namely the service system and the social safety network. She says that if more people among both government officials and common citizens realize the importance of this issue, persons with disabilities in China will be able to live better lives with more confidence and optimism.
For CRI, I am Shen Ting from the UN Headquarters in New York.