Disability Rights Activists Demand Burmese Govt Implement Existing Rights Law

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Rights activists and organizations in Kalay, Sagaing Region marked the International Day of People With Disability on Tuesday by demanding that the Burmese government better implement existing laws to protect their rights.

The event was held at the Mingyi Hotel and attended by disability rights groups, organizations focused on self-reliance, and the Kalay District department of social welfare, relief and resettlement.

Burma passed its Law on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities in 2015, after ratifying the UN Convention on the issue in December 2011.

“We want the government to implement this law,” Yaw Shu, director of the Disabled People’s Development Organization, told Khonumthung News. “We think if government staff understood and got involved in an awareness campaign, the situation on the ground would be better and disabled people at the grassroots level would participate in more activities.”

There are at least 2.3 million people with various disabilities in Burma, or nearly 5 percent of the population. Chin State has one of the highest proportions of people with disabilities in the country.

“We have capability but they don’t give us a chance. If they gave us a chance, we would show our abilities. They have failed to invite us to participate,” Yaw Shu said.

Now in her second year of university, Htoo Htoo Mon, explained to Khonumthung News how the lack of accessibility for and acceptance of disabilities in Burma affects her life.

“A big challenge for me is climbing the stairs at university. On the first day, I looked at the university and felt frustrated because I had never climbed steps that high. I felt I had to climb these stairs to learn. I tried. Some others looked at me. I felt ashamed,” she explained. “Later on, we became friends. They understand me. They have helped me. I have strength. Now I feel better, and happy.”

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