BANGKOK, 3 December 2019 – In conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its annual Regional Dialogue on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangkok, Thailand. Representatives of relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, Government Ministries, National Human Rights Institutions, organisations of persons with disabilities, academia, and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the dialogue.

In her opening remarks, Thailand’s Chair and Representative to the AICHR Prof. Dr. Amara Pongsapich highlighted that the dialogue was to discuss actions towards the implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The masterplan focuses on the intersection between disability rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities to ensure priority on their rights in each and every aspect of their life.

In her keynote speech, Risnawati Utami, member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), emphasised that gender equality is a cardinal principle to human rights as it is enshrined in the international human rights instruments.

Noting that all ten members of the ASEAN Member States are signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), this principle must be upheld when it comes to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in ASEAN.

The three-day discussion highlighted issues on policy and political rights regarding women with disabilities, gender perspectives and the justice system, as well as disaster preparedness and management for women and girls with disabilities. Other focal points of the dialogue touched on inclusive education for women and girls with disabilities, and mainstreaming gender and disability rights in business.

The AICHR had an interface with organisations of persons with disabilities and visited the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemoration.

AICHR Thailand hosted the dialogue in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, the ASEAN Disability Network, with the support of the Government of Japan and the Australian Government.