By BOSORINA ROBBY
IT is time for the stigma of having a disability to be removed and ensure that all people have equal opportunities, US Ambassador Teddy Taylor said last Thursday.
He was speaking at the celebration to mark the International Day for Disabled Persons, which in PNG was themed “Making the MDGs inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world’ and the launch of the PNG assembly of disabled persons strategic plan 2010-14.
Mr Taylor said the United States was founded on the principles of equality for all, and its democracy required that the rights of minority populations were protected and preserved through laws such as the US’ disabilities act.
Mr Taylor said this equality was the basis of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that individuals with disabilities were a critical part of the equation in ensuring equal rights for all.
He said an ongoing concern for acceptance and stability was lack of employment opportunities, with the International Labour Office’s estimation of 80% people with disabilities unemployed worldwide.
Deputy Australian high commissioner John Feakes echoed Mr Taylor’s remarks, saying that the public needed to be aware that people with disabilities still had fewer chances of receiving training, employment or other opportunities to participate and contribute to society.