Land ministry will enforce new disabled law, director says

Land ministry will enforce new disabled law, director says

THE government's construction office has not yet assessed the impact on the sector of a new disability law passed last week but a senior ministry official said the law would be enforced.

"We must be responsible," said Im Chamrong, director general of the construction department at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.  

"The Ministry of Land Management will require that all buildings have disabled access for disabled people."

He acknowledged Monday that he was not aware the law had been passed Friday by the National Assembly but said he was confident that most developers already considered disabled access. It was also among the criteria considered by the ministry when approving developments, he said.

However, Ngin Saorath, executive director of the Cambodian Disabled People's Organisation (CDPO) told Prime Location last month that 95 percent of public buildings in Cambodia did not have disabled access. There are more than 550,000 persons with disability in Cambodia, according to the CDPO.

The law, which was passed after more than 10 years of discussion, requires equal access to public places, including buildings, for people with disabilities.

Public places are defined as "areas, buildings, premises and transportation means owned by state, public or private entities which are open to general public such as ministries, departments, institutions, roads, resorts, cultural centres, sporting places, recreational places, educational establishment, hotels, hospitals, health centres, restaurants, transportation systems, etc".

Handicap International said in a media statement it was pleased to see the goverment was taking its responsibilities to protect and promote the rights of persons with disability seriously.

"This legislation is a landmark accomplishment that will serve to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Cambodian persons with disability and, by extension, improve the lives of all Cambodian people," the statement read.

Ngin Saorath said CDPO would keep a close eye on the government to ensure the law would be followed.

"We will observe the government to ensure it implements the law," he said.

"If not, we will give the government more ideas for protecting the rights of disabled people to a better life."

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