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Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (with photos)

     A delegation of some 60 representatives from 10 member states of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), Mainland China and the Macau Special Administrative Region, arrived in Hong Kong today (December 17) for the third and final leg of a seminar-cum-field study programme - the South-South Cooperation Programme on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (the Programme). Before arriving in Hong Kong for the three-day programme, the delegation completed some programme activities in Guangzhou and Macau.

     An opening ceremony for the Programme was conducted late this afternoon, at which the Director of the Social Development Division of UN ESCAP, Ms Nanda Krairiksh, the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Miss Annie Tam, and the Chairman of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee (RAC), Mr Herman Hui, delivered speeches on promoting accessibility for persons with disabilities.

     In her speech, Miss Tam pointed out that the overall recurrent expenditure for rehabilitation services in Hong Kong has surged 60 per cent from $16.6 billion in 2007-08 to $26.6 billion in 2014-15. Miss Tam also gave a brief account of the Government's efforts in building and improving a barrier-free environment, such as a comprehensive retrofitting programme to upgrade barrier-free facilities in some 3 500 government premises and 240 properties or facilities in housing estates; the Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities, under which elderly persons aged 65 or above and eligible persons with disabilities only need to pay a concessionary fare of $2 per trip for travelling on the general Mass Transit Railway (MTR) lines, public franchised buses and ferries; the Web Accessibility Campaign, and more.

     Earlier today, the delegation paid a field visit to the MTR's Austin Station to see the user-friendly facilities such as lifts and a series of wheel-chair enabling facilities. In the next two days, they will visit Hong Kong Disneyland, Domain, Yau Tong Estate and Ko Shan Theatre to learn about the accessibility features at these places.

     Delegation members will also join seminars at which the Commissioner for Rehabilitation, Ms Joyce Tam, will introduce the overall policies and legislation governing accessibility for persons with disabilities in Hong Kong, while officials from the Transport Department, the Highways Department, the Buildings Department, the Architectural Services Department and the Housing Department will talk on the Government's efforts in providing a barrier-free environment. The Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Dr York Chow, will introduce to participants the Commission's work in regard to accessibility.

     The Hong Kong component of the Programme, which is being held from December 17 to 19, is jointly organised by the UN ESCAP, the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the RAC and the Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities.

Ends/Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:08


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