The ASEAN Foundation sees importance of elevating people with disabilities to a higher plane of community life
The Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, Dr. Makarim Wibisono, shared his views on the issue of people with disabilities at the AGENDA Regional Dialogue on “Enhancing the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities – Promoting Election Access for All” held in Jakarta on 2 February 2012. He stated that it is imperative for all ASEAN Member States to emphasize the need of providing accessibility to public facilities to education especially basic education and alternative means of communication including sign language, Braille and the like. He further stated that it is timely for all ASEAN Member States to elevate the existence of people with disabilities to a higher plane of community life including promoting their rights for enjoying the region’s developments in the political-security, economic and socio-cultural sectors.
The Dialogue Forum which was chaired by Ms. Maulani A. Rotinsulu, AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor, also invited Dr. Hasan Wirayuda, former Indonesian Foreign Minister who is now Member of the Council of Presidential Advisors of the Republic of Indonesia. He emphasized the need for ASEAN to promote not only ASEAN economic development but also ASEAN political development involving all layers of the community. Other speakers were Mr. Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia to the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, Mr. M.I. Derry Aman, Acting Director for ASEAN Political Security Cooperation Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Makmur Sanusi, Senior Officer within the Ministry of Social Affairs and lecturer at the Department of Social Welfare of the University of Indonesia.
The AGENDA (General Election Network for Disability Access), an IFES-led consortium, together with other USAID-supported partners of disabled peoples organizations (DPOs) with election civil society organizations including IFES (International Foundation for Electoral Systems) worked to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for people with disabilities in Southeast Asia. The two-day Regional Dialogue held on 1-2 February 2012 was organized to provide a forum for ASEAN persons with disabilities to share experience with each other and their counterparts in civil society, government and academia on political participation and to identity the common barriers faced by them. The Forum was attended by around 150 participants coming from ASEAN Member Countries, Timor Leste, Korea, Japan and various international organizations.
The ASEAN Foundation was established by the ASEAN Leaders in December 1997 during ASEAN’s 30th Anniversary Commemorative Summit to help bring about shared prosperity and a sustainable future to all 10 ASEAN Member Countries, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.