Burma’s premier national-level body for disabled rights is soon to be formed, following a national conference on disability held in Rangoon on 12 June.
The 21-member Myanmar [Burma] Council of People with Disabilities will work towards implementing nationwide policies to protect the disabled.
“We will work to adopt a law to protect disabled people and to implement the UNCRPD [UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities],” Min Soe, one of the appointed council members, told attendees of the conference.
About 500 people attended Thursday’s conference, where the council was conceived and board members voted in. Hearing-impaired Yadanar Aung, deputy-principal of the Mandalay School for the Deaf, was appointed as the council’s chairman.
“I will work to the best of my ability to bring rights to disabled people in Burma,” said Nay Tun, another council member representing the mentally impaired.
Aung Myo Min, director of Equality Myanmar, urged the council to focus on fighting human rights violations committed specifically against disabled people, especially in terms of increasing the group’s influence on Burmese authorities to enforce protective measures for the disadvantaged.
“Disabled people are Burmese citizens, and the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has a mandate to address human rights violations in the country. But the response from government authorities in regard to those complaints? Not satisfactory,” said Aung Myo Min.
Burma’s Department of Social Welfare estimated that approximately 2.3 percent of the country’s population — amounting to about 1.3 million people — are living with disabilities.