BANGKOK, 5 December 2018 – The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened the 2018 Dialogue to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community from 3 to 5 December in Bangkok.

It was the fourth annual dialogue conducted with a view to fostering the realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities in all community pillars of ASEAN.

Focusing on the theme “Accessibility Through Universal Design”, the dialogue gathered participants from ASEAN sectoral bodies, government officials, organisations of persons with disabilities, national human rights institutions and experts on disability rights. Participants exchanged views and shared experiences in the application of universal design as key to achieve accessibility in various spheres beyond physical environment, including in financial services, access to justice and access to information.

The dialogue commenced with the launch of the “ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” in conjunction with commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

In his opening remarks, delivered through a video, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha welcomed the launching of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan which aims to make the region an accessible and inclusive community for all.

General Anantaporn Kanjanarat, Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, in his remarks underlined that access to information and technology was key for empowerment of persons with disabilities. The launch of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan was also welcomed by the Executive Secretary of the UNESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Community Hoang Anh Tuan and the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN Kazuo Sunaga.

During the three-day dialogue, participants and resource persons highlighted universal design as precondition to enabling environment and the need for public-private-people partnership with participation of persons with disabilities and organisations of persons with disabilities to ensure accessibility and inclusion. Empowering persons with disabilities to understand and exercise their rights and the use of information and communication technology to enhance accessibility were also highlighted.

The dialogue was organised by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR with support from Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund and the Australian Government.