Every citizen is entitled to the same inherent rights

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  • There are still places on earth where discrimination exists. As long as prejudice and ignorance are present in the minds of people, discrimination will prevail. Isolation, prejudice, and negligence can make people lonely and cause mental health issues such as insecurity and depression.
    There are many groups of people who fall prey to discrimination, and one of these groups are people living with disabilities (PLWDs). Since the start of the 21st century, the world has begun adopting new approaches to better understand the rights of PLWDs. People are now making a commitment to ensure PLWDs full participation and equality in the world that we all coexist in.
    Out of the 90 million PLWDs living in Southeast Asian countries, about 1.2 million are from Myanmar. According to the World Health Organization’s estimate, PLWDs make up 15 per cent of the world’s population, and of them, about 60 per cent are women. All PLWDs face numerous hurdles in integrating into society.
    The rights of persons living with disabilities have come under the attention of the UN agencies and international organizations. Myanmar and other ASEAN countries have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and are working together to uphold them.
    People living with disabilities are facing difficulties and obstacles in their daily life not because of the disability itself, but because of their surroundings, physical and mental attitudes, and other barriers. The truth is society has the obligation to cultivate empathy and willingness to help and protect each of its members, including PLWDs.
    While people living with disabilities are normally ignored by society, they usually have a greater will to accomplish things than ordinary people. They have the tenacity to improve their selves and their surroundings. All they need is recognition and cooperation from the rest of the society.
    In the present times, PLWDs enjoy more inclusivity than they used to, and the motion to include them in the political sphere is a welcome move. The General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) drafted the ASEAN Enabling Master plan 2025 and released it on 3 December 2018, making it a regional policy. We believe this will create more opportunities and increase inclusion of PLWDs.
    We see that the role of PLWDs in society is steadily increasing as the world continues to encourage and embrace them. We believe that in the not so distant future, PLWDs will have a greater involvement in the sustainable development goals for 2030.
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