Ekkamol Phaetthayanan: Thailand Association of the Blind TAB

Updated: September 2018

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:


What is your perspective about the ASEAN Enabling Master Plan?


I see this masterplan is a coordination and collaboration among government officers, international organization like ASEAN as. I hope that the masterplan will improve the life of person with disabilities and expect that the masterplan will be valuable in the implementation in the future.


What role do you think DPOs can play to support the implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Master Plan?


I think disabled people organization can provide very important inputs into the masterplan disabled people organization can work as a partnership with the regional body and the government sector and after we finalize the masterplan, DPOs in each country will bring the plan into the implementation in each country.



How will DPOs use the ASEAN Enabling Master Plan 2025 to advocate for greater inclusion of people with disabilities?


DPOs will use the masterplan as an instrument to partner with government bodies and private sectors in their countries to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in their own countries. Probably they can bring the content in the masterplan to formulate the domestic law in each country in line with the masterplan. But I have to see the masterplan first until we can use can use the masterplan in the practice.


What challenges do you think DPOs and government stakeholders will encounter when implementing the Master Plan?


As the masterplan may not have reinforcement mechanism like international masterplan, so we need to have a consensus between the government officials and the private sectors as well as the DPOs so it can really work in each country. I think this is a very challenging because after we draft the plan, we still don’t know yet in the implementation process how much we can achieve according to the message we put into the plan.



What improvements or changes you would like to see happen to ensure persons with disabilities are being included in all aspect of life?


I really hope that disability issues will be included into the mainstream development it means that disabled people can enjoy their rights to live, a… enjoy their political rights, enjoy economic rights and enjoy their social rights in the inclusive society that everyone live together in happiness. Disabled people can go to vote without barriers, to elected in the parliament. Can access to the capital to start and run their business, can travel from one place to the other place without any discrimination. With this masterplan and with cooperation from all partners, with the successful implementation of the masterplan it says in 2025, right? I am sure that the quality of life of disabled people will be much improved from today. Thank you.