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Cambodia Congratulated for Work Towards New Disability Law

Phnom Penh: Australia is working with Cambodia on the implementation of the country’s new Disability Law. It has been helping to support Cambodians with disabilities for over ten years. The Australian Human Rights Commission met with the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Em Chan Makara, on Friday morning, who is also Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra.

It was 2009 when Cambodia first promulgated its Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Royal Government is now working on a complete revision of that legislation. Secretary-General of the Disability Council, Mr. Em Chan Makara, says the overhaul of the existing law comes at a time when “the political, economic, social and cultural situation in Cambodia is evolving.”

He says people with disabilities are receiving protection and are guaranteed their full rights and freedoms. The new law would aim to completely eliminate discrimination, most especially in the workplace, respect their dignity and improve their built environment. Consultations have already been held with Cambodia’s development partners, including the United Nations Development Program, NGOs, people with disabilities, and civil society, while discussions are ongoing to ensure the new Disability Law is comprehensive, as well as enforceable.

Australian Embassy charges d’affaires, Mr. Luke Arnold, congratulated Cambodia on the new law, which was bringing its legislation in line with international conventions. He says it’s important that the law suited Cambodia’s own context, but hoped that lessons and experience in improving the lives of people with disabilities could be shared between the two countries.

Dr. Ben Gauntlett, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, joined the meeting virtually. He says he welcomes the opportunity to review Cambodia’s progress towards the new law and has commended the Disability Council for its leadership while saying he looks forward to ongoing consultation.

Mr. Em Chan Makara thanked the Government of Australia for its support of the Royal Government’s efforts in improving the lives of people with disabilities.

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