The 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) towards the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities continued with the convening of the 4th Meeting of the Task Force from 15 to 16 December 2017, back to back with the AICHR Workshop on the Enhanced Access to Education for Children with Disabilities held at the same venue from 13 to 14 December 2017.
With the mandate to develop a regional action plan to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community, the Task Force emphasised on goals-setting, aspiration and shared efforts by all pillars of ASEAN towards an inclusive community by 2025. Correspondingly, the regional action plan aimed to reinforce the on-going efforts by ASEAN under the framework of Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community and the Mobilisation Framework of the ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2011-2020).
At 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, the Task Force 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” to be in line with the ASEAN Vision 2025. The document will put forward goals on disability rights for each Community pillar of ASEAN and will also make reference to ASEAN documents such as the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Bali Declaration as well as international instruments such as the 2030 Agenda, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Incheon Strategy: Making the Rights Real. The ASEAN Enabling Masterplan is aimed to be finalised and submitted for adoption within 2018.
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.