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High unemployment among people with disabilities a major concern

Unemployment among people with disabilities continues to be an unresolved issue, especially in remote areas, according to a report from the Lao Statistics Bureau.
The report noted that Laos has a high rate of unemployment among people with disabilities compared to the overall population.
Unemployment among this group stands at 4 percent, while it is just 1.5 percent in the rest of the workforce, the Lao Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Planning and Investment, noted. 
The figures were reported at a meeting held on Wednesday to disseminate the results of the Monograph Report on People with Disability in Laos, based on data taken from the 4th Population and Housing Census 2015.
The meeting was chaired by the Head of the Lao Statistics Bureau, Mrs Phonesaly Souksavath, and UNFPA Representative to Laos, Ms Mariam A. Khan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mrs Phonesaly said the main purpose of the disability monograph was to sensitise society about the situation of persons with disabilities. Statistics were very useful for policymakers and planners in changing attitudes towards persons with disabilities as well as in developing equitable services for them, she added.
The report identifies critical services needed to enhance inclusivity, education, labour, social protection and disability-related data to ensure persons with disabilities benefit from social, economic, and environmental development.
Accurate disability data are crucial to informing policy-making by government agencies, and to plan needs-based programmes targeting persons with disabilities.
A total of 160,881 people are known to be living with a disability (among people aged five and over) in Laos.
The disability monograph derived from the 2015 Census data indicates that disability prevalence is higher in remote areas (3.33 percent in rural areas without roads, 2.86 percent in rural areas with roads, 2.48 percent in urban areas), and higher among diverse ethnic groups.
The UNFPA supports the collection and analysis of data to identify marginalised groups, including persons with disabilities, Ms Khan said.
The findings show that people with disabilities have significantly poorer socio-economic conditions and fewer opportunities.
Differences are even more significant when analysed by gender, income, and ethnic group. The data allows decision-makers and budget planners to invest in those being left behind.
The government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which spells out the human rights of persons with disabilities.
Several strategies, policies, and action plans targeting persons with disabilities - one of the most deprived groups –have subsequently been adopted in Laos in recent years.


By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
December 17,
2020)


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