Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Disability Act, the Muslim Council of Britain was yesterday represented at a day of events and a roundtable meeting at the House of Commons in marking the 40th anniversary of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person's Act 1970. The Act was the first piece of legislation in the UK to recognise the rights of disabled people.
The event organised by the Office for Disability Issues was led by Jonathan Shaw MP, the Minister for Disability in the Department for Work and Pensions and Lord Morris of Manchester who was the architect behind the introduction of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. It was the first piece of legislation not just in the UK, but across the world, to recognise the rights of disabled people. In 1974 he became the first Minister for Disabled People anywhere in the world.
The roundtable meeting included 20 individuals with discussions on society's attitudes towards disabled people, and the transition from education into employment.
The Government has pledged to achieving equality for disabled people by 2025. The commitment that `By 2025 disabled people in Britain should have the same opportunities and choices as non-disabled people to improve their quality of life and be respected and included as equal members of society'.
In 2009, the Office for Disability Issues published a document called 'Roadmap 2025', which defines the vision for disability equality by 2025. It identifies 14 themes that encompass all aspects of disabled people's lives, based on what disabled people have said equality means to them.
Kawsar Zaman, Vice-Chair of the MCB's Youth Committee who represented the MCB said: `disability is a huge issue in our community. The 2001 Census showed the group with highest disability in the UK is in fact the Muslim Community with almost a quarter of Muslim females (24 per cent) and one in five Muslim males (21 per cent) as having a self-declared disability. The Youth Committee have decided to run a campaign to increase awareness of this issue among the Muslim community".
He added: `the real figures are probably much higher, given that the Census was taken almost 9 years ago with many Muslims who did not respond to the Census or those who failed to acknowledge their disability. So the challenges we face in this area are huge and we need start by raising awareness of disability with all relevant Muslim charities and organisations'.
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
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