Ms. Metta Thippawong, co-founder of the Disability Mainstreaming Advisory Service (DMAS), representing the Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPD) network of Lao PDR made her statement yesterday in the opening session of the General Debate, which was attended by the UN Secretary General and other dignitaries. It was a proud moment for OPDs from Lao PDR, as DMAS represented the voice of OPD network at the 15th session of the Conference of the State Parties (CoSP) and was one of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) selected to speak during the General Debate.
Metta’s statement was focused on economic empowerment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities, in which she emphasized the importance of developing a disaggregated national database on the employment of persons with disabilities and public-private partnership in creating decent and full employment for persons with disabilities. Metta also emphasized the Importance of reasonable accommodations, digital access, and access to assistive technology.
Last but not the least, Metta skillfully highlighted the importance of ‘legal empowerment’ as a prerequisite for ‘economic empowerment,’ so that persons with disabilities, who are mostly employed in informal sectors, have access to legal rights, property rights, and justice.