Archipelago

Disabled people demand
equal rights

People with disabilities in Riau recently discussed a number of problems they faced with members of Commission D of the Riau Legislative Council (DPRD), urging it to immediately draft a bylaw to protect the rights of people with
special needs.

The head of the Riau branch of the Indonesian Disabled Women’s Association (HWDI), Rita Romauly S, said disabled people in Riau were subjected to various forms of discrimination, including in education.

“Based on information, nearly all school-age children who are disabled in Riau are unable to pursue an education at state schools, or regular schools, due to their physical disabilities. This should not be tolerated,” Rita told the commission.

“We want disabled people to be regarded the same as other residents. We urge councilors to facilitate this,” she said, adding that Riau had 12,500 disabled people.

She then submitted 10 recommendations from Riau HWDI to serve as input for the Riau DPRD in drawing up a bylaw on the disabled. Among the recommendations were inclusive education, manpower, respect for family rights and understanding of reproductive rights, economic productivity, information and organizational access, legal equality and acknowledgement of the achievements of disabled persons.

“There are many reasons as to why we have further demanded a bylaw, especially one addressing people with disabilities. So far, no regulation protects us, whereas in fact we have long proposed one to the Riau DPRD,” added Rita.

Riau HWDI advocacy affairs coordinator Rina Prasarani said the most pressing issue to be included in the draft bylaw was education.

“According to law, every child has a right to education without discrimination, but it has not been fully realized. The government seems to have provided special schools, but how can we excel if the quality of the schools is not the same as that of regular schools?” she said.

Commission D chairman Bagus Santoso promised he would fight for the issuance of the bylaw on people with disabilities.

“Despite some disabilities, it doesn’t mean that disabled people may be marginalized in everyday life,” said Bagus.

He said his commission, which deals with education, manpower, sports, tourism and culture, had formed a special team consisting of five members to draw up a bylaw.

“Its tasks include studying proposals and drawing up the bylaw. According to the plan, the results of the team will be submitted to the Riau DPRD in early April,” said Bagus.

“The draft bylaw on the protection of people with disabilities has been included in the provincial legislation program,” he added.

Bagus also promised he would summon the education agency to discuss discrimination against people with disabilities.

Paper Edition | Page: 5

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