The ILO technical consultation “Employment of People with Disabilities: A Human Rights Approach” was held from 18 to 20 January 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of an ILO project “Promoting the Employability and Employment of People with Disabilities through Effective Legislation.” This project, funded by the Government of Ireland through Irish Aid, is being implemented by the ILO in four countries of Asia - China, Mongolia, Viet Nam
and Thailand; and several countries of Africa -Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The project aims at enhancing the capacity of national governments in these countries to implement effective legislation concerning the employment and training of people with disabilities.
The technical consultation brought together representatives of governments, employers, workers and disabled persons from the four participating countries, as well as observers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The meeting, which marked the start of phase two of the project, examined the training and employment of persons with disabilities from a human rights perspective, drawing on ILO Conventions and other international human rights instruments, as well as exemplary legislation at national level. Key elements of a rights-based approach are contained in ILO Conventions concerning employment in general and persons with disabilities in particular. Of particular relevance are the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention,
1958 (No. 111) and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention, 1983 (No. 159) that are based on the principles of equal opportunity, equal treatment and non-discrimination.
Through a combination of formal presentations and working group sessions, participants had the opportunity to learn from other members of their own delegations, as well as those from other countries, and to become familiar with the main elements of rights-based disability laws and policies.
The consultation was a contribution to the objectives and activities of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons from 2003 to 2012 and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. In relation to legislation, the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action calls upon member States of Asia and the Pacific region to review and amend all legislation that impacts negatively on the lives of people with disabilities, to
pass and promulgate enabling disability-related legislation aiming to promote equal opportunity, and to amend bills of rights to include a non-discriminatory clause on the basis of disability. The Plan of Action also calls on member States to protect and promote the human rights of people with disabilities.
Following the consultation, project support will be provided to participant countries, in the form of national-level technical guidance upon request, a training programme on disability-related laws and policies, and support to a media campaign to challenge negative images of disabled persons at work.