Empowering people with disabilities to access their human rights

Vietnam Deaf Association group

Isabella Rigg, Program Officer at CBM Australia writes about a CBM partner organisation in Vietnam that is empowering 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) enabling voice and participation of people with disabilities in advocacy

In Vietnam, CBM’s partner organisation who are a DPO and Civil Society Organisation, are working to ensure all men, women, boys and girls with disabilities in Vietnam are 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 are working with smaller DPOs and disability groups to ensure that they have the skills and confidence in working with government departments, to advocate for their rights and ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from government programs and services.

Strong and effective leadership paving the way for influencing government

CBM recently met with the Vietnam Deaf Association whose members have been 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 means “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 are getting legal recognition of sign language in Vietnam and advocating to government to ensure that costs for sign interpreters are included in government budgets.

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

Huong, an inspiring young female leader of the Vietnam Deaf Association, describes the broader impact of people with disabilities being informed 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 realizations 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 is continuing to work closely with the Vietnam Deaf Association in building their organisational capacity, contributing to the growing disability movement in Vietnam and ensuring all people with disabilities are equally able to access their rights.

Photo: Leaders of the Vietnam Deaf Association (from left to right): Viet, Huong, Lam, Linh

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

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