On 1st to 3rd December 2015, the ASEAN Intergovernmental on Human Rights (AICHR) successfully convened its first Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community with the support of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). The regional dialogue was led by the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot. The event was also conducted in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December), with its theme of “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”.
The regional dialogue was one of the three activities on persons with disabilities in the ASEAN region. It aimed to raise awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities and find common regional approaches and strategies towards mainstreaming these rights both at the ASEAN and ASEAN Member States (AMS) levels. The regional dialogue highlighted the structural challenge of mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the three pillars of ASEAN.
It was attended by distinguished guests and expert speakers, which included the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, H.E. Koichi Aiboshi, ACWC Representatives, SOMSWD Representatives, AICHR Representatives, Attached to the Secretariat of Prime Minister Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ms Anusree Tubsuwan, Member of the Legislative Assembly and Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Mr Monthian Buntan, and General Manager of Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD), Mr. Ryuhei Sano. The regional dialogue was also attended by representatives from Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), social welfare ministries, lawmakers, universities, UN bodies, media practitioners, and from the private sectors from ASEAN Member States.
The three-day regional dialogue discussed topics pertaining to good practices and lessons learned in mainstreaming the promotion and protection of the rights persons with disabilities, national responses to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, making the rights of persons with disabilities a reality, and gender perspectives in realising the rights of persons with disabilities. The expert speakers from ASEAN member states and overseas including Japan shared national experiences in promoting an inclusive and productive society for persons with disabilities.
In 2016, the AICHR is planning to conduct the next two activities to follow up on the success of the Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community. The activities will focus on the development of Regional Plan of Actions or Guidelines for the Mainstreaming of the Rights of PWDs, including Training on the Rights of Persons with Disability for ASEAN stakeholders.