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Empowering the disabled in a post-COVID world

Disability inclusion must be central to the region's response to build back better

| Southeast Asia
A handicapped man walks past in heavy dust storm during nationwide lockdown in Allahabad on May 5: we must ensure that no one is left behind.   © NurPhoto/Getty Images

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and executive secretary of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the exclusion faced by the 690 million people living with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. In initial responses to the pandemic, there was a serious risk that the needs of people with disabilities would be overlooked. Lockdowns and fears of infection left people with disabilities stranded in their own homes without access to essential goods and services.

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