Pre-conditions to advance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Vietnam discussed
14 July 2021
A series of virtual consultation workshops on people and children with disabilities in Vietnam was co-hosted by UNDP, UNFPA, and UNICEF in late June and early July and was supported by the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UNPRPD MPTF).
The participants to these workshops were representatives from the National Assembly Office, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; Government partners, leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities themselves.
During the consultations, the participants shared the knowledge and information on the current situations of the people and children with disabilities and the essential preconditions to disability inclusion. They also reviewed and analysed the existing gaps and challenges as well as proposed strategic and practical recommendations to address these gaps.
The discussion focused on strengthening the alignment of Viet Nam’s legal framework for persons with disabilities with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; enhancing meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in the policy making, implementation and monitoring process; and combatting stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities which were hosted by UNDP.
The participants also discussed community-based services for persons and children with disabilities in Viet Nam which was hosted by UNICEF and sexual and reproductive health and rights for people with disabilities (hosted by UNFPA).
The conclusions of the consultation workshops aimed to provide meaningful inputs to Viet Nam’s Situational Analysis and Full Proposal for a programme to the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UNPRPD MPTF) to promote the rights of persons and children with disabilities, jointly developed by UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA in Viet Nam.
The Fund is a unique global programme that brings together UN entities, governments, organizations of persons with disabilities, and broader civil society to advance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the country level. Viet Nam is one of 26 countries selected out of 110 applications to proceed to the Inception Phase of this programme.
Addressing the consultation workshops chaired by UNDP, Ms Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative for Vietnam emphasized: “A disability should be defined as the combination of individual impairments and social barriers. Without considering social barriers, regulations may be inclined to only foster individual endeavours and functional rehabilitation, which is unworkable and may facilitate the exclusion of PWDs from social life. Legislation should create an accessible and enabling environment for PWDs to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.”
Relating to stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen encouraged the participants to recommend solutions to overcome misconceptions, stereotypes, and stigma among the general population as well as among policy makers, health, education professionals and service providers. To address inequality faced by people with disabilities in various spheres of life, a comprehensive legal framework and inclusive services are needed.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also specifies the importance of quality and equitable access to community-based protection, education, health care and rehabilitation for children with disabilities. UNICEF together with other UN agencies and development partners welcome the commitment of the Government of Viet Nam to implementing the obligations of UNCRPD; the recently approved Master Plan on Persons with Disabilities (2021-2030); and the Sustainable Development Agenda with its aim of leaving no one behind.
Addressing the consultation workshop on community-based services for persons and children with disabilities in Viet Nam, Ms. Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Viet Nam said: “Despite the Government’s efforts, access to quality inclusive education, especially at higher education levels, remains a challenge for children with disabilities in Viet Nam. At the upper secondary level, only one third of children with disabilities go to school at the right age compared with two thirds of children without disabilities. When we look at physical infrastructure for inclusive education, only 3% of schools are fully accessible and only 10% have sanitation facilities for students with disabilities. In addition, the quality of inclusive education for children with disabilities remains modest and the application of technology in inclusive education is still limited.”
Ms. Lesley Miller also highlighted the need for structural and systemic changes to better support persons and children with disabilities in accessing inclusive and quality essential services. For example, to improve inclusive education for children with disabilities, UNICEF is currently partnering with MOET and experts around the world to bring technology to inclusive education such as Augmented Virtual Reality for children with developmental disorders. During the same consultation, Ms. Lieve Sable, Programme Specialist on Children with Disabilities of UNICEF Regional Office for the East Asia and Pacific emphasized the importance of inter-sectoral coordination in improving the community-based services for persons and children with disabilities in Viet Nam.
For his part, Mr. Le Bach Duong, UNFPA Assistant Representative said that UNFPA supports the Vietnamese government to fulfil its national commitment to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention in line with the principles of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The ICPD Program of Action explicitly calls for governments at all levels to consider the needs and rights of persons with disabilities and to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities with regard to reproductive rights and household and family formation.
He confirmed at the consultant workshop to discuss sexual and reproductive health and rights for people with disabilities (hosted by UNFPA), that people with disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged groups, and are often exposed to many risks in terms of sexual and reproductive health, as well as physical, mental and sexual violence.
Mr. Duong said: “A recent estimate shows that about 80% of people with disabilities (PWDs) have never visited health workers for SRH services. About 50% reported stigma and discrimination against their disability status. Young people are particularly vulnerable, as the unmet need for modern contraceptives is high. The workshop’s practical recommendations for interventions on SRH care for people with disabilities, especially the young are very significant to the Viet Nam’s Situational Analysis and Full Proposal for a programme to promote the rights of persons and children with disabilities, jointly developed by UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA in Viet Nam.”
The participants discussed needs for sexual and reproductive health information and care of persons with disabilities, especially young people with disabilities, analysed barriers to realization of their rights, including the right to be protected from violence and abuse, and proposed strategic interventions to support reproductive health/sexual health care for people with disabilities, especially young people with disabilities.
For further information please contact: Ms. Dao Thu Huong, Disability Rights Office, United Nations Development Programme. Tel: +84 24-38500340