Singapore ratifies UN agreement granting equal rights to the disabled

A wheel-chair bound person at the Handicap Welfare Association. Singapore has taken a step closer in guaranteeing equal rights for disabled people here with the ratification of a global agreement on Friday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM 
A wheel-chair bound person at the Handicap Welfare Association. Singapore has taken a step closer in guaranteeing equal rights for disabled people here with the ratification of a global agreement on Friday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM 

Singapore has taken a step closer in guaranteeing equal rights for disabled people here with the ratification of a global agreement on Friday.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities covers areas such as education, health care and accessibility.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, announced this move to towards a more inclusive society, at the launch of an exhibition on universal design at Ang Mo Kio Hub.

Some examples of what the Government is already doing for those with special needs, includes upgrading care and facilities for disabled children and making sure neighbourhoods and public transport are barrier-free.

Mr Chua Chin Kiat, the chairman of the Enabling Masterplan Steering Committee which charts out the national blueprint for disability services, said the ratification was a strong step in the right direction.

"This has many profound implications for us as a society. We've committed ourselves, and need to get behind it whole-heartedly to acknowledge the values that the United Nations have prescribed," he said.

There is still room for improvement, he added, for people's attitudes towards the disabled.

A Building and Construction Authority spokesman also revealed that the finalised changes to the accessibility code would be made known in the coming few months.

Some of the proposed changes includes having a hearing-enhancement system for those with hearing disabilities, and additional supportive measures for the visually impaired.