Dis­abled com­mu­nity suf­fer­ing in si­lence

Dis­abled peo­ple suf­fer from ne­glect and so­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion de­spite Myan­mar be­ing a sig­na­tory to the UN Con­ven­tion on the rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - HTIKE NANDA WIN htike­nan­dawin@mm­times.com

DIS­ABLED per­sons in Myan­mar suf­fer from govern­ment ne­glect and so­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion de­spite the coun­try be­ing a sig­na­tory to the UN con­ven­tion on rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of a study to be pre­sented to the global body by year-end.

Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Myan­mar are not given tax breaks and dis­counts in pub­lic ser­vices and are not pro­vided with the op­por­tu­ni­ties and ser­vices ac­corded to nor­mal peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of a joint two-year study by the Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties and Myan­mar Dis­abled Peo­ple Or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties can­not get equal op­por­tu­ni­ties as the re­sult of in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity to pub­lic trans­porta­tion, pub­lic build­ings and places, said the study.

“Mainly, there is de­te­ri­o­ra­tion from ev­ery side al­though there are laws, no­body takes the re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure equal pro­tec­tion and op­por­tu­ni­ties are ac­corded to the dis­abled per­sons,” Ko Zaw Lin Htun, the re­search manager of the re­port, told The Myan­mar Times.

The re­search for the re­port was done in five re­gions and 5 states in the coun­try.

The study also showed that women with dis­abil­i­ties suf­fer from more vi­o­lence and sex­ual abuse than women with­out dis­abil­i­ties.

“More than vi­o­lence and sex­ual abuse, they lose le­gal jus­tice in many cases. Rit­ual be­liefs, tra­di­tional prac­tices and ha­bit­ual at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iours such as degra­da­tion, un­der­es­ti­ma­tion, over-pro­tec­tion leads per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties to be dis­crim­i­nated, and they can­not en­joy the equal com­mu­nal en­vi­ron­ment as per­sons with­out dis­abil­i­ties,” the re­port said.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 cen­sus, the to­tal pop­u­la­tion of Myan­mar is 51.4mil­lion and there are 2.3 mil­lion per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties or about 4.6 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

A Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Sur­vey showed that 52pc of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties do not at­tend school, and only 1pc can ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion.

A UNICEF re­port noted that 67pc of the chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties are out of the for­mal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, and do not at­tend school. Nor­mal school­child­ren drop-out rate is 11pc, thus, there is a sig­nif­i­cant gap be­tween them.

As early as De­cem­ber 2011, the govern­ment has al­ready rat­i­fied the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties.

In 2015, the coun­try en­acted the Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties Law, but since then the im­ple­ment­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions has yet to be re­leased.

As a state party to the UN Con­ven­tion, the ini­tial re­port to the com­mit­tee on the Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, in ac­cor­dance with Ar­ti­cle 35(1) of the Con­ven­tion, was sub­mit­ted by the govern­ment on Novem­ber 17, 2015.

“The govern­ment sub­mit­ted its ini­tial re­port to the UN. We are go­ing to sub­mit our re­port to the UN soon – they will com­pare the two re­ports, and pro­duce rec­om­men­da­tions for the govern­ment,” U Aung Ko Myint, who is vis­ually im­paired and chair­man of the Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion on Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, told The Myan­mar Times.

The Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment, the fo­cal min­istry for the peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, said it has al­ready set strate­gic plans and was ready to come out with the im­ple­ment­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions for the 2015 Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties Law.

Daw Yu Yu Swe, director of the So­cial Wel­fare, has said that her of­fice has al­ready em­barked in ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic about the rights of dis­abled per­sons.

“All peo­ple should also con­sider those with dis­abil­i­ties in ev­ery as­pect of their lives. At present, there is no ac­cess for dis­abled per­sons in pub­lic places,” she said.

U Aung Ko Myint said, “Ev­ery per­son needs to be able to live his or her life fully. I re­quest one thing to the govern­ment and busi­ness own­ers to give ev­ery per­son liv­ing with dis­abil­ity a chance to live a full life just like any other nor­mal per­son.”

Photo: Nyan Zay Htet

A file photo shows a dis­abled man in a wheel­chair try­ing to get on to the pave­ment out­side Ruby Mart on Bo Gyoke Road in Yan­gon. The coun­try still lacks dis­abled­friendly in­fra­struc­ture.

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