Thailand has been recognized for its commitment to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. The Thai government hosted a regional consultation of Asia-Pacific countries on 15-16 May 2013, when Thailand presented its report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in the Thai Braille version.
This publication would enhance accessibility and engage the visually impaired in Thailand’s UPR process.
The regional consultation was carried out under the theme “The Way Forward: Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation on a Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda towards 2015 and Beyond.” It was organized as part of the preparation for the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally-agreed development goals for persons with disabilities, to be held in New York in September 2013.
Over 100 representatives of ESCAP member governments, civil society, and the private sector, many of whom are persons with disabilities themselves, participated in the meeting. A notable aspect of the meeting was its accessibility to persons with various forms of disabilities, such as visual and hearing impairment. Mr. Santi Promphat, Minister of Social Development and Human Security, Mr. Shun-ichi, Murata, Deputy Executive Secretary and Officer in charge of the ESCAP Secretariat; H.E. Mr. James Wise, the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, and Ms. Julia Fraser the regional representative of the World Bank, delivered their statements at the opening ceremony.
The meeting also benefited from the views expressed by the participating international and Thai experts on the issues of disabilities, including Mr. Monthian Buntan, Thai Senator and member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Mr. Hyun-shik Kim, member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from the Republic of Korea; and, H.E. Mr. Libran Cabactulan, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York, who will be a co-facilitator of the upcoming High-level Meeting in New York.
The participants, who represented stakeholders from all sectors, exchanged views on ways to advance the rights of persons with disabilities at both the regional and international levels.
In particular, the meeting recognized the significant contribution of the Incheon Strategy to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, the participants recognized the importance of disability-inclusive development, especially when disability was absent from the discussion on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
They strongly urged Member States of the United Nations to include the issue of disability in the post-2015 development agenda. The meeting was also a good opportunity to discuss challenges on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to reiterate the importance of participation from civil society.