New initiative to help people with disabilities claim their rights

Oct 7, 2013

Ha Noi - People of all ages living with disabilities in Viet Nam will enjoy better access to health and education, employment and protection services by 2015 as a result of a high-profile initiative launched today by the UN. It is launched in partnership with disabled people’s organizations and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

People living with disabilities, up to 15.3 percent  of Viet Nam’s population, are some of the most vulnerable members of society and often face discrimination on a daily basis, with limited access to basic health care, education and other public services.

With low levels of education and training, few people living with disabilities have stable jobs or regular incomes. The vast majority of people living with disabilities – up to 80 percent, depend on their families, relatives and social allowances to survive.

While Viet Nam was one of the first signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is actively considering ratification of the Convention, the country still lacks adequate mechanisms to fully respond to protecting and allowing people with disabilities to claim their rights.

With financial support from the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of People with Disabilities Fund, the UN’s US$350,000 initiative will help disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) engage actively with Government in the effective implementation of the Convention. The project will also help address disability issues more effectively in different UN programmes and projects in Viet Nam.

The joint ILO, UNDP and UNICEF initiative will help include people with disabilities in all decision-making steps through strengthening the capacities and role of DPOs in the advocacy, development, implementation and monitoring of legal frameworks and policies.

UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam Ms Pratibha Mehta, addressing the launching today, praised disability organizations for their timely and important work in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities to be fully recognized in Viet Nam. She called on the Government and other partners to respond to the rights and needs of people with disabilities.

“Viet Nam was one of the first signatories of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and although there is still work to be done, we believe that the time is now right to ratify”, said Ms Pratibha Mehta.

The three UN agencies will implement the project in partnership with Viet Nam Federation on Disability, the Action Community Development Centre, the Disability Resources and Development, and Ha Noi Association of Persons with Disability and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

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