|U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) attends the event to launch the Accessibility Center at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. (Yonhap News)|
NEW YORK (Yonhap News) ― The United Nations, in conjunction with the South Korean government and Samsung Electronics Co., launched a new in-house assistance center on Wednesday that can improve the international organization’s accessibility to disabled people.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe; President of the Youth Section of the World Federation of the Deaf, Jenny Nilsson; as well as Kang Seong-ju, a director general at South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning attended the event to kick off the Accessibility Center. The new center is located in the first basement level of the U.N. headquarters in New York City, according to the international organization.
Equipped with various assistive tools like computers with enlarged text, hearing aids and even chargers for electric-powered wheelchairs, the center is designed to allow people with impaired vision, hearing and other physical disabilities to easily access all kinds of U.N. documents and participate in meetings at the headquarters.
“Yesterday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Today we prove that we care about this issue all year round,” Ban said during the launching event.
He also thanked the South Korean government for “its generous contribution.”
“(The contribution) turned our vision for the center into a reality,” Ban added.
South Korea’s Science Ministry, on the back of sponsoring from electronics maker Samsung, fully furnished the center with cutting-edge devices.
Various development programs are making progress in the world, but disabled people tend to be alienated from them, Nilsson said, using sign language. She also extended thanks to the South Korean government.
Samsung Electronics played a big role in installing the Accessibility Center, said a South Korean official. The South Korean government has provided assistive equipment to about 500,000 disabled people since 1999.