Rights for Persons with Disabilities in Brunei

The 5 Star Sheraton Incheon Hotel is next door to Songdo Convnsia in Incheon
(Photo source and copyright: www.starwoodhotels.com)
Greetings from Sheraton Incheon Hotel in Incheon, Korea. By the time you read this, I will be starting the Senior Officials Segment of the High Level Inter-Governmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of the Disabled Persons 2003-2012 held by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The meeting is held at Songdo Convensia which is next door to the Sheraton Incheon.

I will be making a presentation on behalf of Brunei of what we in Brunei have done and how we are making real the rights of persons with disabilities. For those interested in what we in Brunei have done, this is a very brief summary of Brunei's efforts (I am only given maximum 4 minutes as there are 53 nations who will be doing their presentations as well) which I will deliver:

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Haji Mohd Rozan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
delivering Brunei Darussalam country statement during the Senior Officials Segment
of the High Level Intergovernmental Meeting on Disabled Persons in Incheon.
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me congratulate and thank the Government of Republic of Korea for successfully organizing this meeting and for the warm welcome and hospitality in this beautiful city Incheon.

Excellencies and Distinguished delegates,

I am pleased to share with you the progress by Brunei Darussalam on the implementation of Biwako Millennium Framework for Action and Biwako Plus Five towards an Inclusive Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

The building and enhancement of a caring society including the promotion and the protection of the rights of PWDs is a top priority. Policies and programs are initiated to foster the caring society spirit. The Special Committee on the Elderly and PWDs established in 2008 shows our commitment in promoting an enabling environment and strengthening effective mechanisms for policy formulation and implementation. Brunei Darussalam signed the Convention on the Rights of PWDs on 18 December 2007 and will soon enact a ‘Disability Order’ that will reinforce right-based approach to disability issues.

To protect the rights of PWDs, voluntary and non-profit NGOs have supported the government by looking after their members’ interest and promoting public awareness on their needs and rights. NGOs jointly organized International Day for the Disabled and Special Olympic Games. On policies concerning PWDs regular GO-NGO consultations are held.

To help NGOs, civil servants can opt for voluntary pay deduction to contribute to any PWDs associations with the government providing grants for their operation. The government plans to build a multipurpose complex with athletic and swimming facilities and sites to house PWDs buildings.

The Health Ministry provides early detection and prevention of disabilities by optimising pre-natal and post-natal care; High Risk Clinics follow up infants and children who are at high risk of developing disabilities; and Early Intervention Clinics and Programs for children identified as already having developmental problems with therapy provided early to minimize the progression of the disability and improve prognosis.

In education, there is equal access of facilities for all including an inclusive education with no segregation of schools for special needs with specialized teachers and Centres of Excellence for special needs students who excel in their studies through Model Inclusive Schools.

PWDs are given skills training and job attachments programs which have increased their employment in public and private sectors.

The Development Ministry’s new Building Control Order provides for disabled friendly access to built environment. The Communication Ministry’s 5 year road map provides disabled-friendly accessibility for public transport and information technologies.

For PWDs’ welfare, the government provides a non-contributory and non means tested disability allowance to PWDs and their dependents under the Old Age and Disability Pension Act. The government also provides micro credit financial assistance for income generating projects. Other assistance includes wheel chairs, walking aids, Braille and prosthetic limbs.

Excellencies and Distinguished delegates,

Brunei Darussalam has always placed great importance in the promotion and protection of the rights of PWDs. The government is moving forward with the right based approach and encouraging more NGOs, private sectors and community in promoting an enabling environment for PWDs so that they can contribute to the economic and social development of the country.

Thank you.

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