By Sai Kyi Zin Soe, HRGS and Disability Coordinator, ActionAid Myanmar
Action Aid Myanmar has participated in “Advocacy for Disability” on 30th June 2013 in Naypyitaw together with partner Disabled People’s Organizations; Myanmar Independent Living Initiative, Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association, Myanmar Association for the Blinds, Myanmar Autism Association, Intellectual Disabled Children Family Network, Disabled People Development Organization, and Yangon Deaf Association.
Program was started with participation in 9th Day of 7th Upper House (Pyi Htaung Su Hluttaw) Parliament Session, where we were allowed to observe the session and later we were called by the speaker of the Upper House, but unfortunately we were not able to meet with him as he was hosting the Speaker of the House from England. Instead, we were hosted by member of People’s Affair Development Committee, U Tin Maung Oo (Rtd. Col).
Later in the evening, dinner was hosted for members of parliament where 50 members participated. The dinner program was started with an opening speech by Thura U Aye Myint (Vice Chairman of USDP Party) where he committed 5 million kyats from party as well as promise to put Disability Agenda in the National Budget. After that Thura U Aung Ko and Dr. Myat Oo gave a welcome speeches where both of them reconfirmed the Vice Chairman promises.
It was then followed by a series of presentation from Disabled people’s organizations including AAM. The presentation was organized in;
- Appreciating Government’s commitment on Disability through UNCRPD ratification (MNAB)
- The RIGHTS understanding on Disability (Eden)
- Disability World Movement & International Commitments (MILI)
- Inequalities due to Disability (AAM)
- Needs and Challenges (DPDO)
- Disability Laws & its benefits (FSN)
- Q & A
It was the very first kind of advocacy movement in Myanmar especially where disability activists were able to express their concerns and challenges directly to parliament members in concise messages honestly and openly based on Human Rights perspective. It was a very successful program with Understanding on Rights of Person with Disability/Citizenship/Human Rights, full commitment on promoting/protecting the rights of person with disability, promises given to provide fund both from USDP party as well as to allocate in National Budget.
Later in closing session, Thura U Aye Myint stated that Government still falls short in protecting the rights of person with disability and provision on promoting their rights in every sector where his party will strive to develop laws, legislations and policies for them and also to mainstream Disability in every process within the Parliament sessions.
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