International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed

Kathmandu, December 3

The International Day of Persons With Disabilities was observed in the capital as well as other parts of the country today by organising various awareness-raising programmes. ‘Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities’ was the theme set for the day.

Around one billion people globally have some form of disability, says the United Nations. They constitute 15 per cent of the world’s population and yet the world’s largest minority group faces many barriers to inclusion in key aspects of society.

According to the census carried out in 2011, about two per cent (513,321) of the total population of the country is found living with one or the other kind of disability . Of them, 280,086 are males and 233,235 females.

Physical disability constitutes 36.3 per cent of the population with disability followed by blindness/low vision (18.5 per cent), deaf/hard to hearing (15.4 per cent), speech problem (11.5 per cent), multiple disability (7.5 per cent), mental disability (6 per cent), intellectual disability (2.9 per cent) and deaf-blind (1.8 per cent).

Around 80 per cent of the disabled people in the country are illiterate and 95 per cent unemployed.

In a message issued on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari said persons with disability should be brought to the mainstream by guaranteeing their rights.

“The societal perceptions and treatment given to differently-abled persons have not yet changed. The new constitution of Nepal has brought a ray of hope to persons with disabilities through the guarantee of their social, political and economic rights.

Now, the government should formulate and put into effect necessary laws to safeguard their rights and interests and promote their well-being,” she remarked.

The government has been implementing community-based rehabilitation programme in all 75 districts to provide people with disabilities access to education, health, employment and other services.

On the occasion, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli highlighted that the devastating earthquake of April 25 and its powerful aftershocks had added to the number and the woes of persons with disabilities.

“Therefore, it is highly critical to strongly enforce the National Policy and Plan of Action on Disability, 2006 to make the new physical infrastructures disabled-friendly,” he said.