South Asia Sub-Regional Report



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South Asia Sub-Regional Report
Regional Training Workshop on

Capacity Building for Persons with Disabilities

Toward Rights-based Society in Asia Pacific Region”



10-14 April 2005, Bangkok.
By

Ghulam Nabi Nizamani (RCM)

Background

The South Asian region it is sometimes called the Indian sub-continent or SAARC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar are sometimes considered part of South Asia, but most geographers place Afghanistan in Southwest Asia and Myanmar in Southeast Asia). This sub region is smaller than the United States 5.1 squire km surface area. It has a huge population 1.5 Billion (more than one-fifth/22% of the world total), which is growing rapidly 1.7% per year. At the same time, and despite rapid economic growth during the 1990s, the region has among the lowest per capita incomes in the world, only 1.97% of world GNP. Average per capita income is $44. The South Asia’s political, religious, ethnic, and linguistic differences are a testament to the diversity of the region. Although rich in diversity, the region remains one of the most disadvantaged areas in the world. More than one-third of its 1.5 billion people live on less than $1 a day, making South Asia home to nearly 42 percent of the world’s poor people. Communication and accessibility means are very poor. Fixed lines and mobile phones are available 40 (per 1000). Personal computers 6 (per 1000) and Internet user are 9 million only. Paved roads are 30% in infrastructure. In these facts more then 10% disabled community is facing more challenges. This region is not disability friendly in meanings of accessibility. On one hand polio eradication campaign is on top of agenda and on other hand local conflicts, landmines, natural disasters, diseases, nutrition, mother care and road/rail accidents are main cause of increasing disability in this region especially land mines in Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Kashmir. In near future Tsunami hits different countries of this region. Indeed, poverty is one fundamental element characterizing the situation in South Asia.




Table 1. Economic and Demographic Indicators for South Asian Countries




Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Population,
2000E
(Millions)

2000E
(Billions of US$ -- PPP*)

Real GDP Growth Rate

Per Capita GDP, 2000E
(US$ -- PPP)

2001 Estimate

2002 Projection

Bangladesh

$203

N.A

N.A.

$1,570

131

Bhutan

$2.3

N.A.

N.A

$1,100

2

India

$2,200

5.5%

5.9%

$2,200

1,029

Maldives

$0.6

N.A.

N.A.

$2,000

0.3

Nepal

$33.7

N.A.

N.A.

$1,360

25.3

Pakistan

$282

3.4%

4.8%

$2,000

145

Sri Lanka

$62.7

N.A

N.A.

$3,270

19.4

Education is also main factor backwardness in South Asia. People don’t know about prevention and early detection. Because of this not only disability is increasing but transmitted diseases are also growing rapidly like, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. According to UNAIDS, over 5 million people in South Asia are living with


HIV/AIDS.

Some legislations are available in South Asia:



Bangladesh: Bangladesh Disability Welfare Act, 2001


Bangladesh National Action Plan for People with Disability, 2002
India: Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995

Mental Health Act, 1987

CPWD Guidelines for Barrier Free Built Environment and Space Standards for Disabled and Elderly

National Trust Act for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities, 1999


Nepal: Disabled Persons Protection and Welfare Act, 1982

National Policy Plan of Action, 1996

Disabled Persons Service National Policy, 1996

Pakistan: Rehabilitation and Employment of disabled persons ordinance 1981

National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2002


Sri Lanka: Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 1996

Afghanistan & Bhutan

In Shanghai DPI Asia Pacific Region’s, Regional council meeting 2002, it was decided that new countries would be promoted to be members of DPI in Asia Pacific Region. Two countries from South Asia sub-Region were also be listed for membership, 1. Afghanistan 2. Bhutan.



1. Afghanistan


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