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Times of India
29 November 2010
Chennai, India

Disabled people and disability rights activists on Sunday held a day–long rally and seminar to mark International Disability Day, which falls on December 3, as well as highlight issues facing the community.

Organised by The Federation of Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations and Trust (TNHFCT), the seminar focussed on the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Over 500 disabled people from across TN participated in the rally which began at 9am at Loyola College. The seminar that followed focussed on disabled people’s right to participation in political, public, cultural life under the UNCRPD.

"Inclusion of people with disabilities in public life and policy issues is a continual effort," said Bryan Dalton, chief of consular services, US Consulate in Chennai, who was the chief guest for the event.

He said that US President Barack Obama appointed a special officer for disability issues for the first time in 2009. He also said that a visually–impaired woman Aruna Devi had been selected to go to the US under the International Visitor Leadership Programme.

G Chidambaranathan, president, TNHFCT, said the voice of the disabled people was yet to be heard in Parliament. "We have won a number of small victories, but we still have a long way to go before the disabled are truly involved in public life," he said.

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