DILI, 04 december 2023 (TATOLI) – As part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated annually on 3 december under the theme: “United in action to recover and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities, the President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, stressed the need to invest in inclusive education, exemplifying accessible infrastructure and training that enables persons with disabilities to reach their full potential.
Horta recalled that in Timor-Leste, as in many places around the world, people with disabilities face significant obstacles that prevent full access to education, employment, health services, and full participation in society. He said that in this celebration, it is imperative that they recognize these challenges and work collectively to overcome them.
“In the educational field, only 25 percent of people with disabilities in Timor-Leste have access to education, and more than 67 percent have never attended school. The lack of accessibility in schools and the absence of adequate resources create substantial barriers to the development of these individuals,” the Head of State said in a statement.
The President of the Republic emphasized that accessibility to public buildings and transport is another significant challenge that needs to be addressed to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other citizens.
“In addition, the issue of employment is crucial, and we must continue to boost sectors that generate accessible and inclusive jobs. Regrettably, people with disabilities face social stigma and discrimination in our society. As a nation, we must work to eliminate these prejudices, promoting an inclusive culture that celebrates the diversity and unique potential of each individual,” appealed the Head of State.
According to ADTL data from 2015, there are around 98,000 people with disabilities in Timor-Leste, of which more than 14,000 have sight problems, 7,000 have mental disorders and the rest are deaf and/or mute. There are no figures for motor disabilities.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was established by the United Nations in october 1992. The aim is to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in society and their participation in the social, cultural, economic, and political spheres.
Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins