Thank you Julia,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The films we will see today have an important role to play in achieving both goals.
I commend Nova Employment and its CEO, Mr. Martin Wren, for using the power of film to challenge beliefs and perceptions about the lives and abilities of persons with disabilities around the world.
I would also like to thank Ms. Julia Feeny, Permanent Representative of Australia to ESCAP, for bringing this screening to a broader audience in Thailand as well as Asia and the Pacific.
The Focus on Ability Short Film Festival has been elevating the voices and visions of filmmakers with disabilities for the past decade. Thank you to all who contributed to this year’s Film Festival. To the 2021 winners, please accept my heartfelt congratulations.
The films depict the real lives of persons with disabilities, with their own stories, voices, emotional and spiritual depth, humour, sensibility and wisdom.
These films also portray the resilience of the protagonists in dealing with ignorance, aggression and exclusion in the course of daily life, challenging conventional mindsets and misperceptions.
We are delighted to collaborate with the Australian Embassy to provide a wider platform for the films with the hope that they will have an impact on transforming social norms and policy actions --- in favour of dignity, equality and the human rights of girls and boys, women and men of all ages with diverse disabilities.
Since 1993, ESCAP been working towards promoting the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities through the regional Disability Decade initiative.
The third Asian and Pacific Disability Decade, which started in 2013, has been guided by the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. The Incheon Strategy was grounded on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
In line with the Convention (CRPD) and the Incheon Strategy, governments are expected to work with the media, the private sector, communities and civil society to support persons with disabilities and uphold their rights.
The forthcoming conclusion of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities in 2022 is an opportunity for reviewing achievements, remaining gaps and reflecting on how to move forward.
We look forward to receiving the responses from Governments in the Asia-Pacific region on the actions taken to ensure inclusion. One noteworthy, good practice is Australia’s Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
This comprehensive five-year process involves diverse means of listening to the direct experiences of persons with disabilities for strengthening laws, policies, structures and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society.
Such efforts would allow gathering information from a wide range of stakeholders to provide an accurate and in-depth understanding of the experience and conditions of persons with disabilities.
Let us celebrate Human Rights Day 2021 by reaffirming our collective commitment to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities in the region.
Thank you very much.