BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — The 3rd ASEAN Disability Forum opened here on Wednesday aiming at reducing poverty amongst people with disabilities (PWDs) and enhancing their employment prospects in order to promote and protect their basic rights.
In the context of Brunei Darussalam, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Sarah said at the opening ceremony for the forum that Brunei government is strongly committed to ensuring that matters related to persons with disabilities, who comprise 1.06 percent of the total population, are given high priority in the national agenda.
Focus should also be given to promoting community-based support services that address the needs of households with members with disabilities and assist these family units in ensuring that they have productive employment and financial independence, Her Royal Highness said.
On the regional perspective, Her Royal Highness noted that ASEAN has developed various strategies and programs to promote and protect the rights of People with Disabilities. This includes the Bali Declaration on the role and participation of the Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN Community, adopted during the 19th ASEAN Summit held in Bali in December 2011.
Meanwhile, the Co-Chairman of the 2nd Disability Forum from Cambodia, Ngin Saorath, in his welcoming address, clarified that the forum continues to play its role of cooperating in the area of interaction among the people, cultural tourism, academic exchanges, promotions and protection of human rights as well as social justice for those in need.
The forum themed “Reduce Poverty and Enhance Employment Prospects,” is a platform for realizing the national and international policy initiatives towards empowering, developing and involving the PWDs in the society.
It also aims to share and exchange views towards uniting PWDs in the community, as well as discussing ways to eradicate poverty among PWDs by providing training and suitable job opportunities.
The forum session is expected to produce proposals on measures to combine the PWDs perspectives and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, especially in efforts to wipe out poverty and increase job opportunities among them.
According to the World Health Organization, about 15 percent of the world population are PWDs and 2 to 4 percent of them are facing difficulties in carrying out their daily routine. This means more than 1 billion people in the world are PWDs and the number is expected to increase due to the ageing population phenomenon and the rise of non-communicable diseases as well as factors linked to the environment and humanity.
The forum is conducted as a joint effort by ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, the International Development Agency, the Organization of People with Disabilities and Stakeholders. The forum was first held in Thailand in 2011 and in Cambodia last year.