The 2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was held yesterday morning, with the theme of ‘The Future is Accessible’ in looking towards a future where the barriers which stand in people’s way no longer exist.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio, the Chairman of the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, delivered an opening remark on the event at the Myanmar International Convention Center-II in Nay Pyi Taw.
The ceremony was also attended by the committee’s Vice Chairman and Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung and Nai Thet Lwin, the Deputy Ministers, members of Nay Pyi Taw Council, Hluttaw members, permanent secretaries, departmental heads, diplomats, representatives from the Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities, the Myanmar Women and Children Life Promotion Organization, the Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, the Myanmar Paraolympic Sports Federation and the Association for Prevention, Care and Protection of Abandoned Children, representatives from local and foreign organizations, the award-winners in contests that mark 2019 IDPD, the delegations of schools and organizations of people with disabilities, and the invited guests.
In his opening remark, Vice President U Henry Van Thio said that the persons with disabilities are experiencing more difficulties than any other ordinary persons in social, health and economic affairs. They would suffer more if they were discriminated on grounds of gender and ethnic minority.
He also said they need to have access to physical and technological environments to reduce inequality among the persons with disabilities in both rural areas and ethnic minority areas, and that appropriate equipment and special programmes will be needed for them.
The 2030 UN Agenda for the persons with disabilities includes three goals in promoting education programmes, easy access to transportation and adapting public spaces for them.
Myanmar signed the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 7 December 2011 and enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law in 2015 and its by-law in 2017. The enforcement of these laws was implemented by forming a national committee, its work committees, the respective committees at State/Region levels and in Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory.
The four meetings of national committee from 2017 to 2019 agreed to implement the projects to help the persons with disabilities with education, employments, healthcare services, social and legal affairs. Meanwhile, the nine sub-committees also carried out their welfares.
The government has developed scripts for the blind to understand conventions on the issues of children, women and the persons with disabilities, and worked with the relevant ministries and the Japan Heart medical care volunteer association in implementing massage therapy education programmes for the blind. Moreover, the government is also conducting sign language courses and training programme, distributing publications of bylaws and manual books for their employment, as well as giving trainings jointly conducted by the Nippon Foundation.
The country will categorize the level of disabilities based on their answers to the questions for the different age levels.
The pilot project of ‘Future We Want’ has been launched in Yangon for easy transportation of people with disabilities, and the second project is being carried out at Myoma Market and the Water Fountain Garden in Nay Pyi Taw.
The Vice President also said that Myanmar delegation attended the First Global Disability Summit in 2018, and could study important processes, including in education, health, employment and access to justice, to implement pledges and projects.
He added the drafting national strategy for 2020-2026 is underway to set a long-term plan for the persons with disabilities, and he also called for creating a future all-inclusive community of individuals in unity.
The Vice President concluded his speech with advice not to neglect the persons with disabilities for the goals of sustainable development.
Ms June Kunugiu, the UNICEF Representative to Myanmar, read out the message for 2019 IDPD sent by the UN Secretary General.
Awards were given to the winners in contests marking the 2019 IDPD by Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Nai Thet Lwin and Dr Win Myat Aye.
After screening of a documentary video about activities of persons with disabilities, General Secretary U Myat Thu Win of Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities expressed thanks for the event.
Myanmar has annually organized IDPDs since 1994, and marked 26th anniversary this year. —MNA (Translated by Aung Khin)