A charter of demands to include people with disabilities in the social and economic development of Pakistan has been agreed at a shadow disability summit in Islamabad.
The meeting was held as part of preparations for Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming Global Disability Summit in London on 24 July, which will be co-hosted by the governments of the UK and Kenya along with the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
The meeting was organised by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Sightsavers and Pakistani non-governmental organisation Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP), following last week’s consultation workshop. It was attended by disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), government officials and international organisations working in the country.
The agreed charter of demands aims to support action for disability inclusion in four key areas:
- Tackling stigma and discrimination
- Inclusion in education
- Routes to economic empowerment
- Harnessing technology and innovation.
Representatives of DPOs, NGOs, government, media and donors attended the event to discuss measures to improve the lives of those living with any form of disability, before agreeing the charter.
Opening the summit, 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 DFID and the British Council are doing. Today’s summit is an important milestone in ensuring that those with disabilities are included and given opportunities.”
Sightsavers Pakistan Country Director Munazza Gillani told delegates: “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 UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Pakistan ratified in 2011.”