Vietnam is home to 6.7 million people with disabilities, accounting for 7.8 percent of its population, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam told participants in a Hanoi conference on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on September 24.

The convention, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006, aims to promote, protect, and ensure full and equal rights and freedoms for people with disabilities, and to find ways to help them lead dignified lives.

Spanning 50 articles, the convention’s eight main principles include respect for inherent dignity and individual autonomy; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; equality of opportunities; accessibility; equality between men and women; and respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Vietnam signed the convention on October 22, 2007 but has yet to ratify it. Globally, 158 countries signed the document and 147 others approved it.

Co-hosted by the National Assembly Committee for External Relations, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund, the conference looked at the possibility of adopting the convention and weighed up its pros and cons.-VNA