VNAH Helps Advance Vietnam’s First National Disability Rights Law
In 2009 VNAH continued its mission to support the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to develop the country’s first national disability law. This highly visible endeavor is the top priority of the current project, Inclusion of Vietnamese with Disabilities, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The law will greatly expand the rights of people with disabilities in the areas of implementation and enforcement, employment, education, and the inclusion of children with mental disabilities.
The move towards the promulgation of laws aimed at addressing disability rights began in earnest in late 2007 with evaluative and comparative studies on existing policy and its implementation. VNAH provided vital technical support in both supporting the team drafting the disability legislation and gathering public input on the drafts. Significantly, the current draft incorporates the U.N. Convention’s social approach and rights-based principles and, as of October, the draft law (now in its sixth draft) was headed for a hearing by the National Assembly.
In support of this effort, VNAH aided MOLISA by preparing evaluative and comparative law studies, organizing technical workshops, conducting focus groups and regional public consultation conferences, organizing study tours on best practices in the field of disability law and policy, and engaging international experts to review and provide input to drafts of the law.
VNAH’s international technical assistance for this effort was provided by entities and individuals in the U.S.A. and Japan, including: the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, Syracuse University, the United States National Council on Disability, and the World Deaf Federation. These experts shared international good practices, Japanese disability law, lessons learned in implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and principles of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
VNAH and its key partners continue to work to ensure that Vietnamese individuals with disabilities, along with disability-related organizations and advocates in Vietnam, are fully engaged in the development of the new law. It is noteworthy that so many persons with disabilities throughout Vietnam actively participated in discussions, providing input and advising the law’s authors and policy-makers.