People With Disabilities in Burma Face Range of Barriers

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By Larnun – The International Day of Persons With Disabilities was commemorated on Monday in Kalay, Sagaing Region.

The event was organized by the Disability Development Initiative (DDI) at Shing Hong Hall with the theme that for all rights to be realized, those with disabilities must be empowered.

Although a law has been passed protecting the rights of people in Burma with disabilities, many such individuals face difficulties due to a lack of implementation of these statutes.

“We have many barriers. We don’t have freedom,” Salai Yawshu, DDI’s assistant director said.
“There are many barriers in many places in our country. There is the barrier of policy. There are barriers for us concerning buildings, roads, communication. If those barriers are not removed, we can not say we have freedom.”

DDI, which is based in Kalay, is working toward the development and advancement of rights for those with disabilities; many see Burma as lagging far behind other Asian nations in terms of accessibility, humane policy, and education for people living with disabilities.

Aung Hein Oo, who lives with cerebral palsy, attended Monday’s event and said that the discrimination he typically experiences has slightly decreased after the law passed, but that many challenges remain.

“I had faced discrimination in the past. After imposing the law and by-laws for disabled persons, discrimination has been reduced. We have seen the protection and promotion of the rights of disabled people but there are many necessary things left to do,” Aung Hein Oo said.

According to Burma’s 2014 census, there are more than 2.3 million people with disabilities in the country. Chin State has the second largest population of people living with disabilities in Burma.

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