Islamabad: July 9, 2018. (PCP) A commitment on the rights, freedom, dignity and inclusion of people with disabilities was endorsed today in a summit hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). This summit was organised as a satellite event in connection with the Global Disability Summit which will take place on July 24 in London to mobilise global commitments on disability.
The summit was organised in collaboration with the Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP) and Sightsavers. A large number of representatives of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government, media and donors attended the event and discussed measures to improve the lives of those living with any form of disability.
The participants agreed a Charter of Demands as the basis of action for disability inclusion on four key themes; tackling stigma and discrimination, inclusion in education, routes to economic empowerment and harnessing technology and innovation.
Giving the opening remarks, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said; “Disability Inclusion is at the heart of UK’s development agenda. We are strong supporters of Pakistan’s work in promoting disability inclusion through the work that the UK’s Department for International Development and the British Council are doing. Today’s Summit is an important milestone in ensuring that those with disabilities are included and given opportunities.”
Addressing the Summit, Head of DFID Pakistan Joana Reid said; “Now is the time to break down the barriers that hold people back from achieving their potential. I’m proud to endorse the Charter of Demands being presented today, as this is a step forward towards ensuring that persons with disabilities are visible, are listened to and have access to equitable life opportunities.”
Giving his remarks, Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms said; “We have special quotas in the government and are working to provide easy access for people with a disability. Our team at the ministry would like to take forward these Charter of Demands and we hope to take lead in advancing the cause of disability inclusion in Pakistan”
Presenting the charter of demands, the Executive Director STEP Mr Muhammad Atif said; “Many of you may not be aware of the fact that disabled persons in Pakistan do not qualify for insurance. Through this Charter, we will work towards sensitizing the stakeholders to transform their policies for the benefit of people with disabilities.”
Country Director Sightsavers, Ms Munazza Gillani said; “Results speak for themselves and today, we have representation of so many DPOs working very proudly in the development domain in Pakistan in alignment with the UNCRPD that Pakistan has ratified in 2011.”
The summit was attended by the Secretary Ministry of Planning Mr Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Mr Babar Yaqoob Fateh, DFID head Joanna Reid, Country Director Sightsavers Ms Munazza Gillani, Executive Director STEP Mr Muhammad Atif Sheikh amongst other people from various Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs), civil society, government departments and donors.
DFID will co-host the first ever Global Disability Summit in London with a commitment to transform the lives of people living with disabilities in July. The Summit is expected to bring together Government Ministers, heads of donor agencies and civil society organizations and CEOs of private sector companies. The aim is to generate sustainable commitments from developing country governments, donors, civil society, foundations and the private sector.