News / Health

UN Launches Effort to Open Doors for Disabled

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (l) accompanied by General Assembly President John Ashe, addresses the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2013
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (l) accompanied by General Assembly President John Ashe, addresses the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2013
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a dialogue among global leaders to spur action to ensure the one billion disabled people around the world can contribute to the global economy.

Ban spoke Monday at the first high-level General Assembly meeting about persons with disabilities.  He urged the leaders to "break barriers and open doors" for the disabled.

Ban said "far too many people with disabilities live in poverty" and many suffer social exclusion while being denied access to education, health care, and social and legal support,

In opening the meeting in New York, General Assembly President John W. Ashe stressed the importance of a new global commitment to eliminate discrimination and stigma against persons with disabilities.

He called for the disabled to be included in the development of new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to fight poverty and promote equality for 2015 to 2030.

Ashe said many disabled people are hidden from view by others, and robbed of contact, dignity or joy because of poverty, lack of support services, an unwarranted sense of shame or terrible ignorance.

His view was echoed by blind singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, a U.N. Messenger of Peace.  He told the leaders, "We need to make sure that real participation and voices of persons with disabilities are included in everything we do for peace and development around the world."

Wonder said he wishes for a day when technology is available for every blind person or person with disabilities around the world.

The executive director of the World Health Organization office at the U.N., Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, said people with disabilities are twice as likely to find health services inadequate, and three times as likely to be denied adequate health care.

According to the World Health Organization, 360 million people worldwide have moderate to profound hearing loss, but only 10 percent have access to hearing aids.  More than 200 million people need glasses or low-vision devices, but have no access to them, and only five to 15 percent of the 70 million people who need wheelchairs have access to one.

Monday's meeting is a prelude to the annual U.N. gathering of presidents, prime ministers and heads of state that begins Tuesday.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid