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Vietnam pledges full social inclusion for disabled

New York (VNA) - A deputy Vietnamese United Nations representative has reiterated Vietnam’s efforts to support the disabled through ensuring that they have easier access to funds and pursuing a policy of social integration for those with disabilities.

“With 6.63 percent of the population suffering disabilities as result of many decades of wars, including large numbers of those severely wounded by wars, affected by Agent Orange and dismembered by explosive remnants of war, Vietnam has done its utmost to relieve their difficulties, improve their access to the economy and enhance their social integration,” said Ambassador Bui The Giang.

Speaking at the 47th Session of the Commission for Social Development in New York on Feb. 5, Giang stressed that the rights of Vietnam ’s disabled are enshrined in the country’s constitution and protected by law.

Vietnam, he said, was one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region to support the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)’s initiative to develop and implement a long-term plan regarding persons with disabilities, and is currently engaged in intensive preparations for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Giang pointed out that Vietnam has successfully established a healthcare and rehabilitation network for those with disabilities and improved their access to education through the development of a specialised curriculum and the availability of text books in Braille for the visually impaired and in sign language for people with hearing disabilities, as well as the building of vocational training centres for the disabled.

The ambassador stressed the work of the Vietnamese government in integrating policies regarding the disabled into national poverty reduction plans and setting up a variety of funds and credit programmes to help them set up or expand their businesses.

He also spoke of the establishment of the Employment Fund for Persons with Disabilities and the allocation of a portion of the annual budget of the National Employment Fund to a number of associations for the disabled.

The representative took this occasion to applaud the efforts made by the UN and the international community since the Copenhagen Summit to ensure full enjoyment of universal human rights across all social groups.

Whilst stressing that, among vulnerable groups, the disabled warrant particular attention due to their high level of vulnerability and frequent risk of marginalisation, Giang voiced concern that, despite this progress, the achievements made by the international community still fall far short of the commitments stated in the Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, which were drawn up 15 years ago.
To close this gap, the diplomat argued that it is essential to improve national legislation regarding the disabled, incorporate disability-related issues into socio-economic policies, plans and programmes, and render greater assistance to the disabled, allowing them to become financially independent.

Other important tasks include altering public perception of the disabled so that they are viewed as people with disabilities, rather than people without abilities, expanding international cooperation in assisting the disabled, including promoting a legal framework and ensuring that suitable infrastructure is widespread, and effectively supporting their associations, he added.

Vietnam is committed to making a concerted effort, along with its regional and international partners, to fully realise the commitments of the Copenhagen Summit, the ambassador concluded.

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