REPORT: Disability in 28 Asian-Pacific Countries
The Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) was meant to promote a rights-based approach toward disability in the Asian-Pacific Region, in place of the older welfare-based approach. The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF)” was meant to provide countries in the Asian region with a set of principles to help them make the shift. How well has it succeeded?
In 2004, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a part of the United Nations system, conducted a survey to find out. The result is an 87-page publication entitled “Disability At a Glance: Profile of 28 Countries in Asia and the Pacific” (PDF format, 780 Kb), released in 2006. It is meant to provide disability-related data and policy information so that readers can compare definitions of disability; statistics; the implementation of the Biwako framework; and government commitments to disability issues across the Asian-Pacific region. The countries and regions covered in the publication include: China; Hong Kong; Japan; Mongolia; Republic of Korea; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Timor Leste; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Bangaldesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Kazakhstan; Pacific Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; and Solomon Islands.
Each country is represented with a one- or two-page table filled in with relevant statistics and one-paragraph summaries of disability-related legislation and policies in the country. This publication is not the place to seek out in-depth information about the complexities and nuances of daily life for people with disabilities in the Asian-Pacific region. But then, it is not meant to be. It’s strength is that it allows quick and easy comparison of certain specific types of information across many countries within the region. Or, people who wish to gain a broad sense of disability demographics, policies, and inclusion in the Asian-Pacific region as a whole will wish to read the section sub-headed “Key Findings,” starting near the bottom of page 9.
Download the full report (PDF format, 780 Kb) at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability/publications/glance/disability%20at%20a%20glance.pdf.
People interested in reading reports about disability in the Asian-Pacific region will also want to browse the Social Policy Papers on disability listed on the ESCAP web page at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/publications/index.asp. Two examples of additional reports and publications include Focus on Ability, Celebrate Diversity: Highlights of the Asian and Pacific Decade published in 2003, following the 1993 to 2002 decade; and Hidden Sisters: Women and Girls with Disabilities in the Asian-Pacific Region, 1995.
People also may wish to read the original Biwako framework on-line, or read the 2007 “Biwako Plus Five” update on progress since the Biwako framework was written.
I learned about this publication through the AsiaPacificDisability listserver, which people can subscribe to for free.
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