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Cambodia Calls for Balance and Unity as ASEAN Convenes to Address Disability Rights

INDONESIA: Secretary of State for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council, Em Chan Makara, is representing Minister Chea Somethy and leading a delegation to attend the ASEAN High-Level Forum on “Disability-Inclusive Development and Partnership Beyond 2025.” On October 10, he delivered an opening address to the forum along with the accompanying US-ASEAN Forum on the same topic.

In his address to the ASEAN Forum, he thanked Indonesia’s Ministry of Social Affairs for extending an invitation to the Cambodian delegation and expressed his eagerness to coordinate with his ASEAN counterparts in improving the lives of persons with disabilities across the region. “It is imperative for us all to collaborate in ensuring the empowerment of people with disabilities in ASEAN, making their well-being not just appealing but vibrant and investing in their potential,” he said.

He noted that ASEAN members must strive for the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons by making the rights of persons with disabilities a reality in their everyday life; removing barriers and challenging stereotypes; and changing attitudes and mind-sets.

“It is imperative to ensure these agreements remain contemporary, up-to-date, and responsive, particularly concerning their effectiveness for persons with disabilities today,” said the Cambodian Secretary of State.

He went on to highlight some of Cambodia’s success in improving disability accessibility including the provision of sign language interpreters on TV, the development of comprehensive learning materials tailored for persons with disabilities, and the implementation of a recruitment quotas system to ensure inclusivity in the workplace. Cambodia has a fixed 2% quota designated for employing government officials with disabilities, and a 1% quota in the private sector. He also noted the breakthroughs Cambodia had in hosting the Para Games this year, which brought national attention to the vital role persons with disabilities play in society.

Em Chan Makara ended with a call for balance and unity among ASEAN members as they continue to create a more inclusive society for all its members. “We must harmonize our efforts and policies with regional and global initiatives, fostering consistency and unity rather than division,” he said.

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