[Excerpt] Globally, the disability rehabilitation scenario today is at an exciting stage. After many years of effort, the International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability is in sight, a major step forward, and binding on governments to protect the rights of their disabled citizens.
At the regional level, the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993–2002) is extended from 2003 to 2012, and the Biwako Millenium Framework promoted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is being followed in the Asian region for programmes for people with disability. The period 2000–2009 was formally proclaimed the African Decade of Disabled Persons in June 2002. The African Decade seeks to replicate the practices of the Asian and Pacific Decade. The Arab Decade of Disabled People was launched in 2004. The Decade of Disabled Persons in the Americas was launched in 2006.
All these international statements focus on rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. To gain a better understanding of the current scenario and their implications for leprosy rehabilitation programmes, a brief summary of the Biwako Millenium Framework of the Asian and Pacific Decade1 is given below.