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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministries discuss long-promised handicap accessibility

Ministries discuss long-promised handicap accessibility

Officials from the ministries of social affairs and urban planning met with the Disability Action Council (DAC) on Monday to discuss issuing a prakas to standardise long-promised handicap accessibility in public buildings, according to a Facebook post by DAC.

The meeting comes seven years after the Law on Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was passed in 2009. The law requires that new public buildings be built with handicap accessibility, and gave current public buildings five years to become accessible. But no authority mechanism was put in place for standardising accessibility or punishing those who fail to abide.

As a result, many buildings have neglected to honour this law, according to Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization executive director Ngin Saoroth, who said the establishment of a standard and an authority mechanism is important, but not enough.

“We must also demand more commitment and a bigger budget,” he said in an interview yesterday.



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John Lowrie's picture

"Better late than never" applies but if there is to be any real practical progress at long last then it is most welcome. However the stakeholders continue to disappoint in too many ways. Disabled people - physical, sensory or psycho-social - continue to be socially excluded. This was seen by the National Election Committee's decision not to improve facilities for them to register and vote. It is seen in every urban location by blocked pavements, businesses extending out on to them; vehicles parked, and even used as additional thoroughfares when roads are busy. Such issues could be addressed easily if there was the will to do so. However paying overdue attention to the needs of people with psycho-social issues requires an even more fundamental change of mindsets. The sad fact is the "feel pity/hand-out" mentality still pervades. Disabled people do not want that. They just want reasonable opportunities to lead equal lives and to achieve their potential, no different from anyone else. Despite decades of considerable donor support to the sector, what they want remains as wants rather than realities. The fact is this sector more than any other in government has not developed professionally. It is still characterised by exploitation of the vulnerable rather than their salvation and by people, Cambodian and Foreign, who are amateurs.

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