Vice President U Henry Van Thio yesterday urged ASEAN countries to step up cooperation as they work to ensure people living with disabilities (PLWDs) in the region enjoy their full rights, and highlighted the existing challenges on this front.
“Our ASEAN countries need to effectively work for providing full rights to PLWDs in ASEAN region, and we need to cooperate each other when we work for that,” said U Henry Van Thio, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD) at the 4th Regional Disability Rights Dialogue in Yangon yesterday.
The 10-member ASEAN has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites-UNCRPD.
The opening ceremony of the dialogue was attended by Chairman of the Union Election Commission Chairman U Hla Thein, Chairman of the Myanmar Human Rights Commission U Win Mya, Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung, Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe, Hluttaw representatives, ambassadors, departmental officials, representatives of the non-governmental organizations and Civil Society Organizations.
Out of 90 million of PLWDs in the South East Asian regional countries, about 1.2 million are from Myanmar.
Myanmar ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities-UNCRPD on 7th December 2011 and enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law in 2015 and the rules of the law in 2017 and laid down the strategy for development strategy for persons with disabilities in accordance with the UNCRPD.
In his opening address, the Vice President said that according to the estimation of the World Health Organization, 15 per cent of the world’s population are persons with disabilities, and of them, about 60 per cent are women.
“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,” said the Vice President.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the world, taking new approaches and new views, has been working to better understand rights of the persons with disabilities, making commitment to full participation and equality for persons with disabilities.
The rights for persons living with disabilities have come under the spotlight by the UN agencies and international organizations as they experienced chronic loneliness due to poor level of public understanding, negligence, prejudice and fear.
To effectively implement the law, rule and strategy, a national level committee, work committees, states/regions and Nay Pyi Taw Council committees and sub-committees were formed.
The national level committee laid down the policies and has been implementing the tasks to bring about the rights and development of PLWDs.
The theme of the 2018 International Day of Persons with Disability is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” laid down the UN is aimed at promoting the capacity of the disabled people for the inclusive and equitable development of all disabled people envisioned in the sustainable development goal of the 2030 scheme.
The Global Disability Summit made seven pledges: to review policies, inclusive education, to promote capacity of the disabled for doing businesses, to create suitable environment for the disabled at work sites, to bring the opportunities for getting access to information technology to the disabled, to carry out survey, to lay down and implement national-level polices on development of the disabled and to work for protection and aid the disabled in the time of disasters and their rehabilitation.
One of the barriers faced by the persons with disabilities is ‘the right for participation in politic”. Hence, the General Election Network for Disability Access-AGENDA drafted the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025 and released it on 3 December 2018 and it becomes the regional policy.
In his concluding remarks, Vice President U Henry Van Thio urged the participants of the forum to discuss focusing on participation of the persons with disabilities in ASEAN region based on the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025. Afterwards, UEC Chairman U Hla Thein delivered a key- note address saying that the forum is a bridge to tackle obstacles and to make cooperation between the persons with disabilities and the election processes. He continued to say that the two-day forum would produce good results for helping the persons with disabilities to get more opportunities for participation in elections and for promoting their rights.
Myanmar considered the rights of the disabled is playing an important role in development of Myanmar, said U Hla Thein.
Afterwards, U Nay Lin Soe, Executive Director of the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), and Mr Jeremy, Charged d Affair Affaires of the Embassy of Australia, delivered key not speeches before the forum.