In September 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:
This is a way to synchronize perception of ASEAN community toward fulfillment of rights of persons with disabilities. I think this is very important, so ASEAN community will be interconnected to each other. They have an agenda, ASEAN has an agenda, people with disabilities also have an agenda, therefore, all must have similar perspective.
ADF [ASEAN Disability Forum] certainly can play important role in endorsing masterplan in the ASEAN region because ADF is one of the main forum where every member-state is able to share ideas, opinions and best practices accordingly, ADF can conveys all of the ideas in the right way into various ASEAN forums.
This masterplan for disability can be utilized to conduct advocacy to all stakeholders, such as government, legislative not only in one country but.to all countries in ASEAN in order to realize the fulfillment and to acknowledge rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN region.
The main challenge we are facing is perspective, there is a different perspective between the needs of persons with disabilities and government ‘needs.' Persons with disabilities want a speed-up process, while government ends based on large numbers of development priorities and available budget in each country.
It is very important that government has a commitment to include person with disabilities in all aspect of life such as in legislative, executive, in education, in government, in judiciary, etc. It is important for every government to provide equal opportunity for persons with disabilities to participate in all sectors.