Empowering people with disabilities to access their human rights

Stories | September 25, 2018 | Author: Isabella Rigg, Program Officer at CBM Australia

Isabella Rigg, Program Officer at CBM Australia wrote about a CBM partner organisation in Vietnam that empowered people with disabilities to become leaders and advocates for their rights.

“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible” – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Capacity building of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) enabled voice and participation of people with disabilities in advocacy

In Vietnam, CBM’s partner organisation – a DPO and Civil Society Organisation – worked to ensure all men, women, boys and girls with disabilities in Vietnam were well informed of their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – which Vietnam is a signatory – and National Vietnam Disability Law. CBM’s partner worked with smaller DPOs and disability groups to ensure they had the skills and confidence when working with government departments to advocate for their rights and ensure that people with disabilities were not excluded from government programs and services.

Strong and effective leadership paved the way for influencing government

CBM met with the Vietnam Deaf Association whose members were supported by CBM’s partner and Country Office staff to develop their skills for effective leadership, communication and policy and advocacy training on the CRPD and National Vietnam Disability Law. Leaders from the Association shared that the impact of training meant, “empowerment for us to learn about our rights so we can share with Deaf people”. Having strong and effective leadership skills is essential for the Association to influence their organisational strategy to government. The priorities for its members was getting legal recognition of sign language in Vietnam and advocating to government to ensure that costs for sign interpreters were included in government budgets.

Access to information sharing and learning lead to empowerment of people with disabilities  

Huong, an inspiring young female leader of the Vietnam Deaf Association, described the broader impact of informing people with disabilities of their rights:

“Through many training activities and teamwork, I learned and understood a lot about CRPD as well as the contents of other legal documents relating to persons with disabilities in Vietnam. I came to many realisations and better understood my rights…. I felt the need to head out there and teach, share what I knew with other Deaf people so that they could broaden their minds, thereby eliminating any difficulties, challenges, and barriers in life. Information learning and sharing play an important role and bring about many benefits, especially in helping Deaf people realise that they are equal to other society members and fostering their belief in personal success.”

CBM’s partner continued to work closely with the Vietnam Deaf Association to build their organisational capacity, contributing to the growing disability movement in Vietnam and ensuring all people with disabilities were equally able to access their rights.

The project received funding through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and with the generous support of CBM Australia donors.

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