The Director-General opens exhibition dedicated to promoting “A World for Inclusion”

On Thursday 24 May 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened at UNESCO Headquarters an art and photographic exhibition dedicated to promoting “A World for Inclusion”.

Jointly organized by the delegations of Costa Rica, Finland and Kenya, the exhibition was devoted to all those unable to exercise their basic right to education, in particular persons with disabilities. It followed an afternoon of roundtable discussions during which the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr Vernor Munoz, presented his report on the right to education for persons with disabilities.

“Achieving the right to education is the foundation for building a truly inclusive society, where all people learn together and participate equally”, said Mr Matsuura in opening the exhibit. “Yet today”, he went on, “over 77 million children are not enrolled in school and more than 781 million adults are deprived of literacy”. The Director-General underlined that such exclusion was particularly acute among persons with disabilities. “About 97% of adults with disabilities do not have basic literacy skills. Estimates of the number of disabled children attending school in developing countries range from less than 1% to 5%”. He made it clear: “we cannot achieve the Education for All Goals or the MDGs without taking into account the special needs of the estimated 650 million persons – 10% of the world’s population – with disabilities”.

Mr Matsuura pointed to two key aspects of this challenge: developing effective legislation and policies, and awareness-raising. The latter, the Director-General said, was well illustrated by the present exhibition. “It is through art that we can begin to dialogue and question our own perceptions about difference. These tactile, visual and sensory approaches spark our imagination, enabling us to better understand the worlds of others”.

During his intervention, Mr Matsuura also drew attention to the work of the EFA Flagship initiative on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities. Among its many activities, the Flagship was involved in negotiations for the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities. This new Convention was signed by over 80 Member States on March 30th, 2007, making it the first human rights instrument of the 21st century.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 071-2007
  • 25-05-2007
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