MANILA — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said an enabling master plan to push further the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) is expected to be concluded and submitted for adoption in 2018.
In mid-December, the bloc – a joint initiative by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare Development (SOMSWD) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)v—continued with the convening of the 4th meeting of the task force on the mainstreaming of the rights of PWDs.
This is back-to-back with the AICHR Workshop on the Enhanced Access to Education for Children with Disabilities.
The task force, which is mandated to develop a regional action plan for the PWDs, emphasized on goals-setting, aspiration and shared efforts by all pillars of ASEAN towards an inclusive community by 2025.
During the meeting, the task force had an interface with an expert from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) to exchange views on the zero draft of the regional action plan.
After deliberation, it adopted a structure for the draft regional action plan entitled “ASEAN Enabling Masterplan for an Inclusive Community by 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
According to ASEAN, this will be in line with its ASEAN Vision 2025 and will put forward goals on disability rights for each Community pillar of ASEAN and will also make reference to major documents such as the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, and the Bali Declaration.
“The ASEAN Enabling Masterplan is aimed at finalizing and submitting for adoption within 2018,” it said in a statement.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to the AICHR and Undersecretary Florita Villar, SOMSWD Focal Point of the Philippines and Vice-Chair of SOMSWD, with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
The next meeting of the task force is scheduled in January 2018.
The data collected in the 2015 UN ESCAP Disability Survey showed that persons with disabilities are consistently less likely to be employed than persons without disabilities. In the Philippines alone, UN ESCAP said among its population, there are more than 1.4 million PWDs registered last 2015.