VP U Henry Van Thio highlights progress on implementing PLWD rights

Vice President U Henry Van Thio addresses the fifth meeting of the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA
Vice President U Henry Van Thio addresses the fifth meeting of the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

The fifth meeting of the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday and National Committee Chairman Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivered a speech.
Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye, Deputy Ministers Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe, U Aung Hla Tun and U Tin Myint, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Aung Myin Tun, regional and state ministers for social affairs, permanent secretaries, directors-general, officials from the Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities, representatives from organizations affiliated with persons living with disabilities (PLWDs), and other officials.

Purpose of National Committee
The Vice President first delivered a speech. He said people living with disabilities are not disabled, should get the same rights as all citizens and society should evolve into an inclusive environment, which is why, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Myanmar has enacted The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law (2015) and its related bylaw (2017).
He said the National Committee was formed on 14 September 2017 to better enforce the law and bylaw and has reached its second and a half year in 2019. He said all this time, the committee has been working in coherence with directives from the Union Government to ensure the rights of disabled persons in line with international standards and current situations.

Forming subcommittees
The Vice President said this is why there is sustainable evident improvement and success regarding rehabilitation, development and rights of PLWDs. He said they are working on forming nine subcommittees to assist the National Committee and working committee and they will focus on education, health, labour affairs, research, monitoring and evaluation, affairs of disabled women and children, smooth transmission of information, natural disasters and other emergency situations, and judicial rights.
The Vice President said these subcommittees need to draft policies and action plans that incorporate inclusive development of all society in each sector and to draft the strategic plan (2020-2025). He hopes the six areas of the strategic plan will fully support the development of PLWDs. The six areas are healthcare, education, employment, social protection, natural disasters and other emergency situation management, and ease of access.

National index
The Vice President said the Union Government is working to implement a disability index and PLWD identity registration system in order to provide sustainable solutions in meeting the needs of PLWDs. He said in doing so, the Union Government has marked the start of the eight month long pilot project in September 2019 and is implementing the first phase of forming the disability index by the different levels and forms of disability, registration, awareness training, and field conduct in the project areas of Hlinethayar, Yangon Region, Hpa-an, Kayin State, and Nyaung Lay Pin, Bago Region.
The Vice President said they have already formed a technical group for designating the second and third phases of forming the disability index with medical specialists from the Ministry of Health and Sports, medical specialists from different fields and members from the Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities, and is chaired by the Deputy Minister for Health and Sports. He said they are also cooperating with relevant ministries and organizations.

Cooperation between concerned entities
The Vice President said the committees formed on different levels to implement the objectives of the National Committee in Nay Pyi Taw Council and the states and regions and the state/regional PLWD organizations need to cooperate with the focal ministry, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and government departments and affiliated organizations.
The Vice President said there must be systematic records of PLWD men and women lists, PLWD demographics, needs of the different demographics, and the needs of their education, healthcare and employment sectors. He said the SWRR Ministry and Central Statistics Organization must lead the designing of comprehensive tables.
The Vice President said an important sector for PLWDs is natural disasters and other emergency situations. He said while implementing these efforts, PLWDs should not be left out and should be allowed to cooperate so that their needs can be accurately addressed.

PLWD sustainability
The Vice President said they are cooperating with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to collect information on the number of PLWDs, and is working in line with The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bylaw’s Article 67 to compile a PLWD census, by conducting four technical trainings with 100 trainees each time, and is providing technical assistance to the SWRR Ministry from October to December for the Washington questions on PLWD information.
The Vice President said creating an obstacle-free world for PLWDs is fulfilling the sustainable development of PLWDs and in line with that thought, ‘The Future We Wish to See in Yangon Seminar’ was held from 10 to 11 September 2019 in Yangon City Hall. He said the seminar produced results such as better awareness on disabilities, creating new perspectives for accessibility for all in city development matters, raising awareness on national building code, and an accessible Yangon City through the media.
Pilot project, funding
The Vice President said they are implementing accessibility for PLWDs and a barrier-free environment in Nay Pyi Taw Myoma Market and Water Fountain Park through the cooperation of SWRR Ministry, Ministry of Construction and Nay Pyi Taw Council. He said this pilot project will be done as a role model to draw standards to, and they will continue to implement similar projects in other states and regions.
The Vice President said the initial outlay fund of K3 billion for the rights of PLWDs will be available as capital, and to increase and sustain this fund systematically, they will form fund management, budget sourcing and fund preservation groups.

Myanmar delegation to CRPD Session
The Vice President said a Myanmar delegation attended the 22nd Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Geneva, Switzerland from 28 to 29 August 2019. He said they discussed forming an Independence Monitoring Mechanism, enabling full rights of ethnic people with disabilities, freedom from violence, and reviewing the PLWD law as seen fit. He said National Committee members must cooperate to fulfill these recommendations.
The Vice President concluded his speech by urging the attendees to cooperate in their respective sectors to ensure more effectiveness in the implementation of the assigned tasks of the National Committee.
Dr Win Myat Aye’s speech
Next, National Committee Vice Chairman Dr Win Myat Aye explained ensuring adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, completed tasks related to rights of PLWDs, protection of mental and physical aspects of PLWDs, equal rights for PLWDs, increasing awareness raising on dangers of explosive mines, cooperation on technological and information access for PLWDs, setting a strategic plan for PLWD health protection, generating more employment for PLWDs, formulating more ways for PLWDs to be involved, increasing cooperation in PLWD rights matters for Nay Pyi Taw Council and states and regions.
General discussions
Next, National Committee member and Director-General of Rehabilitation Department U Win Naing Tun explained the completed and ongoing implementation of the decisions made during the fourth meeting of the National Committee.
This was followed by National Committee members Deputy Minister Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe, U Aung Hla Tun and U Tin Myint, Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Aung Myin Tun, regional and state ministers and meeting attendees explaining and providing suggestions on the implementation of PLWD rights in relevant areas and departments.
Afterwards, National Committee Joint Secretary and General-Secretary of the Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities U Myat Thu Win spoke words of gratitude and Vice President U Henry Van Thio provided coordination where necessary. He then took a documentary photo with all in attendance and concluded the meeting. –MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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