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Sunday, December 19, 2010



Regional Conference on ASEAN and Disability
1-2 December 2010, Jakarta, Indonesia

We, the representatives of different sectors from 14 countries participating in the Regional Conference on ASEAN and Disability in Hotel Bidakara Jakarta, Indonesia from 1-2 December 2010, which is co-organized by Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific and Persatuan Penyandang Cacat Indonesia and funded by the Nippon Foundation:

Appreciating the support of the Indonesian Government and its disability community for successfully organizing this event and welcoming the leadership of Indonesian Government as the next chairing country of ASEAN Summit,

Recognizing that the member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, are moving ahead towards the creation of ASEAN Community in 2015,

Showing expectation that Timor Leste will be the 11th member state of ASEAN in the near future and will implement the policies of ASEAN,

Appreciating ASEAN’s initiatives that its Strategic Framework on Social Welfare, Family and Development (2011-2015) addresses disability issues,

Mindful, however, that 60 million persons with disabilities living in ASEAN are still largely marginalized in society due to the physical, informational, attitudinal and systemic barriers,

Recognizing the important roles of ASEAN Secretariat in facilitating the governments and civil society,

Recognizing the necessity of mainstreaming disability perspectives in ASEAN human rights mechanisms such as ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) , as well as three Blueprints, namely ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint, ASEAN Economic Blueprint and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Blueprint,

Reaffirming the significance of all international and regional documents on disability, in particular, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF) and the Biwako Plus Five, the supplement to the BMF,

Recognizing that the two Decades of persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific since 1993 have made a lot of achievements and that a new decade to implement the CRPD from 2013 is being considered,

Also, recognizing the significance of the theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2010, "Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond",

Welcoming more different stakeholders, including government sector, civil society, media and business sector, which begin to pay more attention to disability issues in ASEAN region,

Urging the ASEAN member states to sign, ratify and implement the CRPD,

Lastly, recognizing the central role of persons with disabilities in decision making and the need to further build the capacity of persons with disabilities,

Hereby unanimously agree to declare as follows:

1.      ASEAN Disability Forum should be established as a joint effort of multi-stakeholders, including ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN member states, international development agencies, civil society organizations (CSO), media, business sector, academic groups, disability related organizations and disabled people’s organizations (DPO) and their family organizations.

2.      ASEAN Disability Forum will organize its inaugural meeting in 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand and will have annual meetings with the participation of multi-stakeholders.

3.      ASEAN Secretariat should play its important and active role in facilitation of the governments and other stakeholders towards the successful ASEAN Disability Forum, as mentioned in the ASEAN Charter.

4.      ASEAN Secretariat should encourage all member states to lead the observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in the region.

5.      ASEAN member states should be encouraged to mainstream disability perspectives in their development policies through supporting and promoting ASEAN Disability Forum in collaboration with other stakeholders, especially DPOs.

6.      ASEAN human rights mechanism should be encouraged to mainstream disability perspectives in its structure and activities in order to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

7.      ASEAN member states, in collaboration with other stakeholders including DPOs and CSOs, should promote the policy to ensure the access to society of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others through promoting the independent living of persons with disabilities, inclusive social development, information and communication technologies (ICT) and assistive technologies.

8.      Media, regardless of its scale and coverage, should be encouraged to promote the accurate image of disability and persons with disabilities in ASEAN. 

9.      All the efforts to empower and protect women and children done by the ASEAN human rights mechanism, governments, civil society and so forth should include the needs of women and children with and affected by disabilities.

10.  International development agencies and other international/regional institutes should support the implementation of the disability policies described in the ASEAN Strategic Framework on Social Welfare, Family and Development (2011-2015).

11.  ASEAN member states, in collaboration with DPOs, CSOs, academic groups and so forth, should develop a methodology to support persons with disabilities in the affected areas by natural disasters and implement it.


The participants of this conference also made the following specific recommendations to ASEAN Community:

1.     Empowerment and Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities
  •  ASEAN Secretariat should encourage the member states to adopt and promote the disability policies in the 2nd Strategic Framework for Social Welfare, Family and Development (2011-2015), especially those related to independent living.
  •  ASEAN member states should implement the 2nd Strategic Framework for Social Welfare, Family and Development in order to develop the systems for community living of persons with disabilities, including personal assistance system and other supports to establish independent living centers in each country.
  • ASEAN member states should recognize sign language as a language and the development of national sign language should be done by the deaf community of respective countries.
  • ASEAN member states should meet and network to share good examples in policies and successful implementations.
  • ASEAN member states should realize the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities into the implementation of their policies, by working closely with DPOs.
  • DPOs and CSOs should collaborate to develop the human resources, especially personal assistants, to support the system for the community living of persons with disabilities.
  • DPOs should network each other at ASEAN level and develop themselves to provide peer support and other necessary services.
  •  DPOs should raise their voice and do advocacy and lobby government for the rights of persons with disabilities.
2.      Inclusive Social Development
  •  Persons with disabilities have human rights and equal rights like others, including the right to education as stipulated further in the CRPD;
  • Increased and continued support should be given to the inclusive education. Furthermore, special education should also be provided for the children with the special needs.
  • A good networking among DPOs at the grass root level of ASEAN member countries should be made and encouraged.
  • Support should be given to the existing government policy on the inclusive education. Further advocacy is needed to promote more understanding and awareness on the importance of inclusive education.
  • Awareness-raising should be conducted among various element of the community, including among the parliament members of the ASEAN countries, the parents, families, teachers and other members of community.
  • The involvement and advancement of persons with disabilities are crucial in achieving the vision of ASEAN 2015.
  •  In this regard, ASEAN Secretariat should encourage the member states to adopt and promote the disability policies in the 2nd Strategic Framework for Social Welfare, Family and Development (2011 – 2015), especially those related to inclusive social development.
  • ASEAN member states should develop the system, including inclusive education system, to implement the 2nd Strategic Framework for Social Welfare, Family and Development (2011-2015) to realize the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities in social development.
3.      Accessible ICT/Assistive Technologies and Media
  •  In order to exercise more independent and quality life on an equal basis with others, persons with disabilities should have access to assistive devices which meet the needs of their disabilities. Those assistive devices should be distributed in affordable price for any persons with disabilities.
  •  In terms of “accessible ICT”, the ones who have the biggest challenges are persons with visual impairment. In order to get access to ICT, persons with visual impairment need screen reader software.  However, it is the fact that advanced screen reader software produced by commercial companies is not affordable for such persons living in developing countries.
  • Therefore, efforts should be made to lower the price of the software through research and development.  Beside that, the development of “open source software” would also be encouraged as the best solution to cope with this challenge.
  •  Efforts to make assistive devices more affordable for persons with disabilities should involve multi-stakeholders, including government, university, research agencies, DPOs as a pressure group and a service provider, business sector, mass media and so forth.
  • In order to make ICT more accessible for all, “web accessibility” should be promoted and implemented; and this concept should be supported by government policy.
  • For persons with hearing impairment and/or the deaf, the usage of ICT that combines audio, visual and text is very helpful to take part in the mainstreamed communication.  As well, there is a need to add sign language interpretation on the TV screen in order to make available information more accessible for the deaf.
  • Mass media should have strategic roles to promote and mainstream disability issues within the community.  Therefore, DPOs should involve mass media/journalist in the disability movement in ASEAN.
  • DPOs should work closely with media practitioners in the development, implementation and monitoring of “the media guidelines on reporting on disability and persons with disabilities”.
  • In order to make mass media publicize disability issues in more accurate way, DPOs should develop strategies how to develop long term relationship with mass media and journalists as well.  This strategy should include selection of the target, training of journalists to be more sensitive toward disability issues, approaching and attracting mass media & their journalists productively and learning how mass media work in society.
4.      Human Rights Mechanism and Disability
  • The remaining 6 ASEAN member states should be encouraged to ratify the CRPD and implement it.
  • DPOs need to build the capacity on ASEAN human rights mechanism such as AICHR and to use AICHR as regional mechanism in order to mainstream disability in human rights perspectives.  
  • Disability should be a part of the five-year plan of AICHR and the priority issue in its 2012’s work plan.
  • AICHR should be encouraged to request information to ASEAN member states on the situation on the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities.
  • DPOs are encouraged to contribute to the current discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Rights that is AICHR’s priority issue of 2010 and on Migrant and Asylum Seekers for 2011.
  • DPO network in this region should be strengthened and work with CSOs to bring disability issues into the mainstream of ASEAN Human Rights mechanism. 
  • The 2nd ASEAN Disability Forum should be organized again and Human Rights and Disability workshop should be organized to educate participants on AICHR.
5.      Women and Children with Disabilities
  • The promotion and protection of the rights of women and children with and affected by disabilities is necessary. (gender equality)
  • Women and children with and affected by disabilities should be protected from abuse, exploitation and violence. (sexuality, reproductive health and rights)
  • Other women and children movements should include issues of women and children with and affected by disabilities.
  • DPOs should include children with and affected by disabilities in their movement. (visibility in the movement)
  • Approaches of the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) and child perspectives should be incorporated in the work of those both with direct and indirect contact with children.
  • Capacity building focusing on understanding and implementing CRC and human rights should be promoted at local, national and regional levels.
  •  Participation and empowerment of women with disabilities in society through recreation, leisure and sports should be promoted.
  •  ACWC should adopt the rights of persons with disabilities as one of the priority areas in its 2011-2013’s work plan.
6.      Situation of Persons with Disabilities in Natural Disaster
  • ASEAN member states should mainstream disability issues in disaster management policy at regional, national and community levels.
  • Persons with disabilities, regardless of types of disability, should be mainstreamed in the stage of preparedness, immediate respond, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.
  • In the preparedness stage, ASEAN member states should provide information on natural disasters in accessible formats covering persons with all types of disabilities.  Information tool may be delivered in digital format and audio/visual format and through human resources.
  • In case of evacuation or rescue, the authority should provide disability-related needs, such as accessible shelter for the refugees with disabilities, sanitation and food
  •  In the rehabilitation and reconstruction stages, persons with disabilities should have important roles as peer supporter and also as advocate.  DPOs also should be involved in the mainstream of the process to effectively cope with the problems.
  • Training program for cadres in disaster management should be made disability sensitive one.

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