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June 23, 2018

The world’s largest minority group

Do you know which group is the world largest minority group? Disabled people group are the world’s largest minority. The United Nations estimates that over a billion people live with some form of disability and they are disproportionately represented among the World’s poorest and at greater risk of suffering from violence, disaster, poverty, and many other hardships. Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, according to the UN Development Program (UNDP). 2014 National Census result showed 4.6 % of the Country population is living in disability in Myanmar and females have higher rates of disability than males and disability prevalence rate is highest in Ayeyawaddy region followed by Chin state.
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. They are vulnerable and they face many barriers in their daily life. Disability affects hundreds of millions of families in developing countries. The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged. Dr. Amartya Sen pointed out in his keynote address at the World Bank’s conference on disability, the poverty line for disabled people should take into account the extra expenses they incur in exercising what purchasing power they do have. A study in the United Kingdom found that the poverty rate for disabled people was 23.1 percent compared to 17.9 percent for non-disabled people, but when extra expenses associated with being disabled were considered, the poverty rate for people with disabilities shot up to 47.4 percent.
In terms of education, disability rates in the population are higher among groups with lower educational level in the countries of the OECD, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In the OECD countries, students with disabilities in higher education remain under-represented, although their numbers are on the increase, says the OECD. On average, 19 per cent of less educated people have disabilities, compared to 11 per cent among the better educated. Ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, says UNESCO.
From human rights perspective, there is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This Convention was adopted on 13 December 2006 during the sixty-first session of the General Assembly by Resolution A/RES/61/106. CRPD ensures people with disabilities around the world can enjoy their human rights. It does not create new, special or different human rights for people with disabilities and it helps country how to act to assure people with disabilities are guaranteed human rights.
The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. And this Convention recognizes that the importance of accessibility to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, to health and education and to information and communication, in enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
According to UN treaties collection, 164 countries are state parties of CRPD today. Myanmar acceded CRPD on 7 December 2011. Since then the government of Myanmar has taken some legislative and policy steps that indicate commitment to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. These steps include enacting disability rights law on 5 June 2015, establishing national committee for the rights of people with disabilities chaired by Vice-president, forming Myanmar council of persons with disabilities. Moreover, Educational Rights of People with Disabilities were taken part in the National Education Law. These are the kind of efforts to promote support for disabled people and encourage an understanding of disability issues.
Despite having progress nowadays not only in Myanmar but also worldwide disabled people still facing many barriers and having impact more or less. Barriers include attitudinal, communication, physical, social, policy and transportation etc. Although they face different kinds of barriers in their daily life, luckily today understanding of disability with a view from society is improving in comparison with over the last decade. In order to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being, International day of people with disability is annually held on December 3. People from many countries worldwide participate in various ways to promote the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  However there are many things still need to improve and need more understanding from society.  We need to change our perspective form charity perspective to human rights perspective.
It is important to see that disabled people are the people same as you. They do have dignity and rights same as you. We must respect their dignity and rights as you respect to able persons. Furthermore we have to make sure that disabled people are fully inclusive and equally living with in society as others.
Government alone cannot do and also people to overcome the various issues related to disabled people. We all need to work together. We need to cooperate with NGOs, CSOs, UN and other international organizations and also organizations of disabled people. We do also need good and sustainnable policy for disabled people and must implement effectively with cooperation and understanding each other. Here, bear in mind that we have all obligations for our society.
Remember you can be a disabled person any time and it can happen anywhere. So be kind to, respect and understand disabled persons anytime, anywhere. You must not discriminate against them. Let them do what they can. Let them participate how they can. Let them say what they want to say. They have all rights like you. We have to encourage them all to participate in every affair.  I do believe if the disabled person flourish, family will flourish, if the family flourish, society will flourish, if the society flourish the country will flourish. Last but not least, I do always pay respect to disabled people and I do pay respect to their slogan of disability rights movement, “Nothing about us without us”. I wish all of you feel the same to me.


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