The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) today opened a state-of-the-art Accessibility Centre at the ESCAP Conference Centre in Bangkok to support the participation of persons with disabilities in United Nations intergovernmental processes and meetings.
In a landmark move to make ESCAP more accessible, the establishment of the Centre was made possible by a generous contribution from the Government of the Republic of Korea, through its Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The Centre features electric wheelchairs, desktop magnifiers, screen readers, portable players for Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY), hearing aids, bone conduction headsets, eye trackers and a range of other assistive devices.
Opening the Centre, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized: “All of the 650 million people with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific must be at the centre of our efforts to create a truly inclusive and sustainable society, where there is room for everyone to contribute, prosper and lead a productive life. Persons with disability must be seen, heard and counted on equal terms.”
Mr. Taeho Lee, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea stressed: “Korea is making the utmost efforts to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. The rights of persons with disabilities can only be ensured when they are all able to join every activity regardless of their types or degree of disability.”
Representing the disability community in Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Muhammad Atif, a member of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, underscored the critical importance of accessibility: “This Centre is an important milestone towards an more inclusive and rights-based society for all 650 million persons with disabilities in the region.”
The Centre is the first regional facility within the United Nations system in the world and an important contribution to the implementation of the Incheon Strategy to ‘Make the Right Real’ for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, 2013-2022, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.