| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
THE issue of protecting the rights of people with disabilities according to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was raised by YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam Dato Paduka Seri Haji Hasrin bin Dato Paduka Haji Sabtu, a member of the Legislative Council, during yesterday morning’s session of the 13th Legislative Council.
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, responded that policies are in place for People with Special Needs (PWSN) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to ensure that they are afforded equal rights and opportunities; able to live their lives, be recognised and participate fully in society as normal citizens.
Such provisions also serve to prevent these individuals from being discriminated against, while at the same time raising awareness and educating the public about their rights. “These policies support the objectives of other existing policies in raising the dignity of disabled people so that they too are involved in contributing to the nation’s development,” the minister said.
According to the minister, Brunei signed the CRPD on December 18, 2007 and ratified it on April 11, 2016 as part of the government’s efforts to empower and protect the rights of people with disabilities as well as recognising their rights to be treated as equals to any other normal person. “The ministry is planning to implement the provisions agreed under the CRPD and this will be carried out in stages in accordance to priority and current resource capacities,” he added.
The minister further added that the infrastructure based on the CRPD will be designed based on a realistic national action plan with the cooperation and involvement of various stakeholders from the government agencies, private sectors and non-government associations, as well as members of the public through a whole-of-nation approach. This action plan will be coordinated with the social security strategy under the Brunei Vision 2035 policy and its implementation will be observed by an appointed association.
“In enforcing the implementation of the national obligation under CRPD, the draft of the PWD orders is currently being formulated, and the order will contain four main provisions,” the minister continued.
These provisions are as follows: the appointment of an independent body to assist the government in implementing the requirements of CRPD; the registration of PWDs and the appointment of a registrar, deputy registrar and assistant registrar; the distribution of PWD-identification cards; and the compilation of a list of offences against disabled people together with their corresponding penalties and fines.
Currently, the PWD Draft Order is still under review, and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports will continue engaging in consultations with relevant authorities to ensure that the proposed provisions serve the interests and needs of all parties involved as best as possible, the minister stated in conclusion.