24 March 2005

Jordan Pursuing Equitable Society for All – Regardless of Disability Says Secretary-General, in Message to 2005 Award Ceremony

NEW YORK, 23 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message for the presentation of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award to King Abdullah the Second of Jordan, delivered by Nane Annan, in New York, 23 March:

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be with you for the presentation of this award, which helps bring much-needed focus to disability issues worldwide.  My husband regrets he could not be here, but has asked me to read to you the following message on his behalf:

I am delighted to convey my warmest greetings on the occasion of this year’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award.  Since it was established in 1995, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, this award has highlighted the shared endeavour of governments, the United Nations, civil society and the private sector to improve the lives of disabled people everywhere.

Ten years on, as the UN turns 60, we welcome this opportunity to recall that the enjoyment by all people of all human rights lies at the heart of the work of the United Nations.  Since the adoption of the World Programme of Action on Disabled Persons in 1982, the United Nations has promoted, as a priority in human rights and development, the full participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of the life of society.  And since 2001, the United Nations has been elaborating an international convention on the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities -- a process which has benefited from important contributions by Jordan, the recipient of this year’s award.

Jordan’s overall achievement in the field of disability provides a fine example of a human rights approach combined with leadership at the highest level.  It draws inspiration from a rich variety of material -- ranging from Arab-Islamic tradition to the modern Jordanian constitution and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  Jordanian law stresses the rights of persons with disabilities to have access to education commensurate with their abilities; to have work commensurate with their capabilities and qualifications; to live and work in an environment that allows them safe and secure freedom of movement; and to participate in any decision-making relevant to their lives.

Through media campaigns and school programmes, training facilities and public transport provisions, the Government of Jordan has made further efforts to build a more inclusive and accessible society.  And it has undertaken a number of initiatives in the region and in the international arena.  Just last week, under the patronage of King Abdullah the Second and Prince Raad bin Zeid, delegates successfully concluded in Amman the Arab Parliamentary Symposium on Disability Legislation, the first of its kind in the Arab region, in cooperation with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability. 

In this way, Jordanian society is pursuing the universal goal of creating a just and equitable society for all persons -- regardless of disability.  For these reasons and more, I am delighted to congratulate His Majesty King Abdullah the Second and His Royal Highness Prince Raad bin Zeid, as well as the Government and people of Jordan, on receiving the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award for 2005.  It is richly deserved.  I hope many more will follow your example.

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