Indonesia needs a national commission to deal with the rights of people living with disabilities, an activist said on Thursday.
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires states to do several things, including forming a national mechanism to monitor and protect the implementation of the convention,” Enny Suprapto, who is heavily involved in disabled issues, told a national conference.
Enny, a former member of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said the UN convention required states that had ratified it to appoint a body in the government to implement the convention. This body would coordinate with all the necessary bodies and organizations to ensure the mandates of the convention were properly executed.
He said it could be a new body or one of the existing non-action commissions formed by the government, including Komnas HAM, the National Commission on Women, the Commission for Child Protection and the Ombudsman Institution.
“People with disabilities are a vulnerable group along with women, children and the elderly, and these vulnerable groups require additional treatment and facilities,” Enny said.
However, he said that if the monitoring and implementation of the convention had to be handled by one the existing four commissions, they would be unable to focus on the issue of the disabled because of their other work.
“That is why it would be good if the state, through a law, could establish a new commission to protect the rights of the disabled so that it the commission could remain focused on the issue,” he said.
According to the convention, the commissions appointed to monitor its implementation should be given the authority to summons people.
The convention was issued in 2006 and Indonesia became a signatory in 2007 and ratified it on Nov. 30, 2011.
Meanwhile, Heppy Sebayang, a deputy chairman of a center fighting to ensure the disabled are fully involved in elections, said none of the candidates in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election had offered any clear policies on how they would ensure the rights of the disabled.
“We never heard any of the candidates defending the disabled while they were still their other positions,” Heppy said.
He said that whoever was elected governor, whether Fauzi Bowo or Joko Widodo, should make sure that public facilities were accessible to the disabled. The city budget, he said, should also include allotments for people-empowerment programs, including those for the handicapped.
Heppy did, however, give the city a good grade for its efforts to ensure that people with disabilities were able to cast their ballots in Wednesday’s election.