Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International met H.E. María Fernanda EspinosaGarcés, president of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in Beijing on June 20.
Zhang welcomed the visit of Espinosa’s team stating that the United Nations (UN) has devoted a great deal of attention to the issues of persons with disabilities and played an important role in promoting their rights and interests. With the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, protecting the equal rights and improving the integration development of persons with disabilities has become a matter of common consensus and joint actions of the international community. Zhang expressed appreciation and support for the UN’s efforts in constructing a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities.
Zhang said RI is committed to advancing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities, with member organizations in over 100 countries and regions.The internationally applied Symbol of Access was designed by RI in 1968 and donated to the international society. In recent years, RI has established Global Disability Development Fund and Africa Fund, with financial support from the Chinese government. The funds are supposed to encourage disability-related programs worldwide, especially in developing and least developed countries and regions. Up to now, 13 projects have been approved, 11 countries in 5 continents are benefiting from RI’s global influence in disability affairs.
Espinosa highlighted the role of RI in promoting the affairs of persons with disabilities in the world, and appreciated Zhang’s achievements in literature of women with disabilities and in her job in disability course.
Espinosa later posted about her meeting with Zhang on her twitter account, saying it was one of highlights of her visit to China.