In efforts to improve conditions for its disabled citizens, the government yesterday announced that it plans to order the installation of ramps and access signs at all public places.
Speaking at the launch of the government’s disability policy in Phnom Penh, Em Chan Makara, secretariat of the Disability Action Council, said the government would issue an announcement next month calling on all state and private institutions to introduce the facilities.
“First of all, we want to see disability signs at all public places: first, it serves as encouragement [for disabled people]; and second, it shows that disabled people are prioritised,” he said.
“The important thing is that we have to make the owners of hotels, guesthouses, entertainment places and public buildings realise their obligation [to introduce signs and ramps], and after that, we will observe and evaluate later.”
Wheelchair-bound Pich Saroeun, 49, welcomed the changes, explaining that he currently finds it difficult to access many of the country’s state and private buildings.
“Most of the time, I have to drag myself up, and it’s very difficult,” he said. “Even at the bus stop, I have to drag myself up and my clothes are almost ripped off. There are no facilities for disabled people.”
But Ngin Saoroth, executive director of the Cambodia Disability Organisation, was less optimistic about the proposals.
“With the signs, we know that our people don’t obey them, just like with traffic lights,” he said.
“The government, besides the creation of signs, should strengthen the implementation of the law, and set aside a budget for this.”