In August 2018, the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), a creative partnership of disabled people's organizations (DPOs) and election-focused civil society organizations in Southeast Asia founded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), conducted interviews with disability rights advocates who attended a meeting of the Task Force on Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities. The Task Force, which is organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission (AICHR), is drafting an action plan to mainstream disability rights in ASEAN sectoral bodies. AGENDA is providing support to the Task Force with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
A transcript of the interview is available below:
It is very deeply and important, because this is our opportunity for us as person with disabilities to be more empowered and it could strengthen us, all disability groups in every ASEAN member states, will improve the life of everyone, every person with disability.
For us DPOs, we need from leaders, who are knowledgeable of all different frameworks, the Incheon Strategy, the UNCRPD, the SDGs, they can take part and contribute more, to explain in detail if any questions placed, make sure that we work together as a team, for us to be recognized. whatever the problems that will be happened or encountered during the process, we should be supporting each other for the better future.
First there should be a training prior, and whatever we learn from a different framework, whether international, national, or ASEAN, we implement it in a different country, collaborate, engage, and copy probably the best practices, of course monitor, always relate and collaborate with our government, with our respective government, regardless gender, religion, ethnic group.
Most in general probably financial or budget, budgetary concepts. of course, we still have an attitudinal barrier that the society will find difficult to see from our eyes, people will understand how we feel, we don’t need their charity or their mercy, we are people, an independent people, which important that we collaborate and strengthen each other, as perfectly people.
I believe that because as you said that ASEAN and all ASEAN member states today already ratified the UNCRPD, that we have the SDGs, and of course that again we will have the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025, it is important that everyone is accountable, we work together, we find ways to discuss, work together, and listen to each other. We will have a better future, we have a better life, not just for us but also for students we remember that we started with difficult, more challenging facilities, before there are more barriers, and our voice is not listen, in poverty, we want to have better mind, and end up with a better society.