Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) presented the key findings of their recently finalized Joint Submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) to the Government, INGOs, United Nations, and other development partners at a Platform Event.
The Lao PDR is one of 184 State-Parties of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Convention), which commits governments to protect the human rights of persons with disabilities and undertake regular reviews by the CRPD Committee on their progress.
Since ratifying in 2009, the Government of the Lao PDR has made noteworthy achievements in implementing the CRPD Convention, including through the amended 2015 Constitution, Law on Persons with Disabilities, and several other laws and policies on education, healthcare, legal aid, and employment.
In August 2022, the CRPD Committee will review the Lao PDR’s implementation of the CPRD Convention for the first time, together with China, Japan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Republic of Korea.
OPDs play a key role in CRPD Reviews, providing parallel submissions to the CRPD Committee, using data collected by persons with disabilities, and fulfilling the central motto of the CRPD Convention for OPDs: “Nothing about us without us.”
A total of 11 Lao OPDs across 11 provinces contributed to the Joint Submission, representing different disabilities, including persons with sensory impairments, persons with physical difficulties, and those with intellectual disabilities and autism, and their caregivers.
With support from UNDP, the group joined a series of workshops to review national laws, analyze disability data and record the lived experiences of thousands of persons with disabilities on the barriers that continue to exclude them from society.
The UNDP Team Leader for Governance, Mr. Seán O’Connell, remarked, “The OPDs’ Joint Submission to the CRPD Committee signifies the important role OPDs play in ensuring that the unique experiences of persons with disabilities fed into building a more inclusive and sustainable Lao PDR. Today marks a great opportunity for us all to listen to persons with disabilities and understand what is working well and where we can collaborate further to improve their lives.”
At the Platform Event, the OPDs presented their findings, which drew from personal accounts, to draft 78 recommendations to the government across six thematic areas, including law, justice and participation; health; education; work and social protection; rights of women and children with disabilities; and access to public information and infrastructure.
President of the Lao Association for the Deaf, Ms. Phanita Maiphone, said, “the drafting experience has been a great learning opportunity for everyone involved. Not only did each OPD gain a deeper understanding of the Convention, but also of each other and the diverse challenges many persons with disabilities face in the Lao PDR. The process improved our skills in research, teamwork, and advocacy, and we are looking forward to continuing to work together in the CRPD processes.”
International participants commended the government and the OPDs for their positive engagement in their first CRPD Review. The government, OPD, and development partners agreed to work closely together to implement the recommendations made to the Lao PDR under the CRPD in the years ahead.
Source: Lao News Agency