India is doing a "commendable job" in providing accessible environment to disabled people, but a "lot more need to be done" to improve the scenario, especially in providing them education and skills, a top official of the UNESCO said Monday.
Al-Amin Yusuph, Advisor for Communication and Information, UNESCO India office here, said this on the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons, a United Nations sanctioned day, which aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of such people and celebrate their achievements and contributions.
"We congratulate India for the steps taken, be it political, legislative or social for improving accessibility for them in various public spaces and enhancing their lives in general. But, much more need to be done in India, and around the world," Yusuph said.
This year's theme for the day focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which pledges to "leave no one behind".
"We need to increase awareness, whether politically, socio-economically or culturally. People with disability are more likely to face adverse socio-economic outcomes than those who do not have any, like less education, poorer health outcomes, high poverty rates," Yusuph said.
The UNESCO official, at an event here, also urged the media and other stakeholders to play a constructive role in improving the scenario.
"I strongly emphasise that many times, including in the media, promoting people with disability in a positive way is often portrayed as charity or sympathy. We all need to work together and it is not a matter of charity but human rights," he said.
In his address, Yusuph also highlighted that besides improving accessible environment, work also needs to be done on education and skill of the disabled people.
If we take the 2011 census of India, one can compare the situation, a large number of those who were disabled were illiterate, and many were not working, he said, adding that training and vocational activities are important activities that need to be taken up.
Yusuph, later interacting with PTI on the sidelines, said, "India has done a commendable job when it comes to working on providing accessible environment to disabled people, but there is still room to do more, including in areas of education and skilling activities."
International Day of Disabled Persons is being observed since 1992 and the UN in a statement said governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a "team" to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"I am very happy to be part of this event. Through my life, I want to bridge the gap between ability and disability," she said.
Four disabled youth from Bangaluru-based Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled did a special dance performance 'Sunadha' during the event and a few short thematic films were also screened.
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