Executive Summary for the National Conference in Hanoi, 1/9-10/06
National Conference On 7 Year Implementation Of The Ordinance On Disabled Persons Hanoi, Vietnam January 9 & 10, 2006
The Conference, organized by the Committee on Social Affairs of the National Assembly, VNAH, with funding from USAID was planned to achieve these objectives:
To review/evaluate the 7 year implementation of the Ordinance;
To propose recommendations for improvement of the implementation and build a stronger legal framework for disability.
There was consensus that the conference achieved these objectives. This was especially evident during the presentations by many high level government officials including the Vice Chair of the NA, Chair and Vice Chair of the CSA, high ranking representatives from the relevant Ministries ( including the Vice Minister of MOLISA), representatives from local People’s Councils, NGO’s and persons with disabilities.
Government officials expressed their interest in and commitment for improving both the disability related laws as well as the programs and services for PWD. Moreover, opportunities were made available for interested persons to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of the Ordinance and the need to raise it to the level of Law. Many took advantage of this opportunity and provided their respective viewpoints and recommendations. Decision makers listened carefully to each person, took notes and responded to questions and concerns raised.
Specific suggestions presented at the Conference included the following:
- It is necessary that the Ordinance on Disabled Persons be upgraded to a level of Law on Disabled Persons. Doing so will help elevate the legal status of the existing legal framework to support disabled persons. The proposal for upgrading should be submitted by a functioning government body in charge of disability (that is MOLISA). It is expected that Law on disabled persons will be promulgated during the next National Assembly congress (2007-2010).
- More reviews, research on the current legal framework regarding disabled persons should be carried out to see the feasibility and necessity to enact a law on disabled persons. Recommendations to improve the weaknesses and gaps of the current legal framework should be directed to the Government Office for consideration (then propose the new disability law to NA)
- Number of disabled persons will not be reduced at present and in the future as causes of disabilities are not reduced. Therefore we definitely need better programs, policies and institutionalized mechanism to ensure disabled persons enjoy the rights as other non-disabled citizens in the society. An institutionalized, inclusive policy with effective enforcement mechanism will ensure the PWD are not treated as a recipient of charity, but a citizen enjoying the rights as all other non-disabled.
- It is agreed by all workshop participants that the Ordinance on Disabled Persons has improved the lives of disabled persons. The 191 legal documents generated as result of the Ordinance proves the commitment and efforts of the Vietnam Government in supporting disabled persons.
- To support disabled persons effectively, each of the government functioning bodies should be assigned with specific tasks and responsibilities based on the areas that they are working on. The budget for disability program should be allocated and managed by each functioning body.
In concluding the Conference Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu, Chair of the Committee of Social Affairs indicated the support from VNAH and other international organizations have provided strength and commitment to the Vietnam Government to address the issues of disability and to build the Laws and policies to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights as non disabled persons in society. Additionally, since observations and research suggests the number of persons with disabilities may increase in the future and we definitely need a better legal framework and enforcement mechanisms to ensure PWD are included in society. Ms. Thu also indicated that further review and research needs to be done in order to upgrade the Ordinance to the level of Law. It was agreed the government will move forward on this issue and that the Law on Disability may be promulgated by 2010.