REPORT: Disability in 28 Asian-Pacific Countries

Posted on 28 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Policy & Legislation, Reports, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) was meant to promote a rights-based approach toward disability in the Asian-Pacific Region, in place of the older welfare-based approach. The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF)” was meant to provide countries in the Asian region with a set of principles to help them make the shift. How well has it succeeded?

In 2004, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a part of the United Nations system, conducted a survey to find out. The result is an 87-page publication entitled “Disability At a Glance: Profile of 28 Countries in Asia and the Pacific” (PDF format, 780 Kb), released in 2006. It is meant to provide disability-related data and policy information so that readers can compare definitions of disability; statistics; the implementation of the Biwako framework; and government commitments to disability issues across the Asian-Pacific region. The countries and regions covered in the publication include: China; Hong Kong; Japan; Mongolia; Republic of Korea; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Timor Leste; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Bangaldesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Kazakhstan; Pacific Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; and Solomon Islands.

Each country is represented with a one- or two-page table filled in with relevant statistics and one-paragraph summaries of disability-related legislation and policies in the country. This publication is not the place to seek out in-depth information about the complexities and nuances of daily life for people with disabilities in the Asian-Pacific region. But then, it is not meant to be. It’s strength is that it allows quick and easy comparison of certain specific types of information across many countries within the region. Or, people who wish to gain a broad sense of disability demographics, policies, and inclusion in the Asian-Pacific region as a whole will wish to read the section sub-headed “Key Findings,” starting near the bottom of page 9.

Download the full report (PDF format, 780 Kb) at

People interested in reading reports about disability in the Asian-Pacific region will also want to browse the Social Policy Papers on disability listed on the ESCAP web page at Two examples of additional reports and publications include Focus on Ability, Celebrate Diversity: Highlights of the Asian and Pacific Decade published in 2003, following the 1993 to 2002 decade; and Hidden Sisters: Women and Girls with Disabilities in the Asian-Pacific Region, 1995.

People also may wish to read the original Biwako framework on-line, or read the 2007 “Biwako Plus Five” update on progress since the Biwako framework was written.

I learned about this publication through the AsiaPacificDisability listserver, which people can subscribe to for free.

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JOB POST: General Manager, Intl Programs, Cambodia

Posted on 14 July 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, East Asia Pacific Region, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

POSITION: Asia with Save the Children Australia, Cambodia based
Deadline: July 25, 2008

RESPONSIBLE TO: General Manager, International Programs
LOCATION TO: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
DURATION: Two year position pending visa approvals
Save the Children Australia (SCA) is a non-profit, non governmental, non sectarian organisation dedicated to upholding the rights reflected in UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  Our programs focus on long-term development and promoting children’s rights, to ensure children have the means for survival, receive protection, and have access to nutrition, primary health care and basic education.  Our mode of operation emphasises capacity building and local partnerships, encourages children’s participation and is responsive to emerging trends identified by partners, communities and government agencies in the region.  SCA is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, which is the largest global movement for children.
Save the Children Australia manages child-centred development programs, working in a child rights programming framework, in seven countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea (with SCNZ), Vanuatu and in Australia. Sectoral experience includes: health, education, child protection, child participation, youth development, HIV/AIDS and juvenile justice. 

SCA has been working in the Mekong region for 25 years and in Bangladesh since 1987. We have country offices in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Laos, and projects in Vietnam and Myanmar.  Projects  are diverse and vary in size, with donors including the Asia Development Bank, AusAID, UNICEF, the Global Fund and other member of the Save the Children Alliance, in addition to SCA’s own funds. Current and potential focus areas include child rights and advocacy, child protection, youth outreach, HIV/AIDS, health, basic education and community development.

The Regional Director Asia is responsible for developing and delivering SCA’s portfolio of development programs in Asia to maximise our impact on realising the rights of vulnerable children. A key focus of the role is to lead the strategic direction of the Programs in Asia consistent with SCA’s strategic plan and to develop and enhance strong links with key stakeholders including governments, communities and other SC Alliance members.  In addition, the role will provide strong leadership to the Country Directors (CDs) who are based in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos and the International Program Team based in Melbourne. 

As part of the International Save the Children Alliance move towards one Save the Children presence in each operational country the Regional Director Asia will play a key role in supporting country teams in the transition to Unified Presence.
The position will require regular travel within the region, sometimes at short notice, as well as travel to Australia.
This position is a National Office position based in Cambodia.

Strategic Direction

  • Ensure the SCA organizational strategic plan is implemented in the Asia region.
  • Lead the country strategic and annual planning process in each of the programs and monitor implementation of the plan.
  • Advise on strategic direction for SCA in the Asian region, in consultation with Country Directors, taking into account SCA’s policies and strategic plan and SC Alliance strategic plan.
  • Work closely with other Save the Children Alliance members in the region, fostering collaborative working relationships, and strengthening common program directions.
  • Act as a member of the Country Leadership Group (CLG) in countries where a Unified Presence is implemented and support country teams through the process of organizational change.

Read more information about this job post at:  

This announcement was recently circulated on the AsiaPacificDisability email discussion group, which focuses on discussion of issues related to people with disabilities in the Asia and Pacific region.

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Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship for Masters or Doctorate

Posted on 25 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Education and Training Opportunities, Fellowships & Scholarships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship for Masters or Doctorate
[The application deadline for this scholarship for people in the Asia-Pacific region is June 30, 2008.]

The Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Scholarships are a component of the Australian Leadership Awards, a regional program under the Australian Scholarships initiative. Australian Leadership Awards aim to develop leadership, build partnerships and linkages within the Asia-Pacific.

They are intended for those who are already leaders or have the potential to assume leadership roles that can influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes, both in their own countries and in the Asia-Pacific region. The ALA program comprises of Scholarships and Fellowships.

ALA Scholarships are academically elite awards offered to high achievers from the Asia-Pacific region each year to undertake postgraduate study (Masters or Doctorate) and a Leadership Development Program in Australia.

Selection for ALA Scholarships is highly competitive, based on leadership qualities and on academic excellence.

ALA Scholarships are an investment in the future of the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, ALA scholars are required to return to their home country or the region for two years after they have completed their studies.

In future years, ALA scholars will belong to a unique group – the Australian Scholarships Alumni Network (ASAN) – that will maintain strong and enduring links to Australia. Managed by AusAID as part of Australia’s overseas aid program, ALA Scholarships are open only to citizens of countries in the Asia-Pacific region with which Australia has a significant aid program.

Objectives of ALA Scholarships
ALA Scholarships aim to:

  • develop a cadre of leaders advancing regional reform, development and governance
  • increase exchange of knowledge and information within the region
  • build common purpose and understanding between Australia and the region
  • build capacity to address priority regional issues
  • build effective networks between Australia and the region
  • demonstrate the benefits of Australian education through the provision of high quality education.

Fields of study
Awards are open to all fields of study, however, study programs that relate to the priority themes of international trade, pandemics, security and climate change (including clean energy) are encouraged. Scholarships are not available for military training, or training in areas related to nuclear technology and flying aircraft.

Levels of study
An ALA Scholarship enables candidates to undertake studies leading to a Masters or Doctorate degree in Australia. It does not include Graduate Diplomas, with the exception of those Masters courses that require the completion of a Graduate Diploma as part of the Masters degree.

Who should apply
Outstanding applicants with:

  • a very high level of academic achievement at undergraduate and/or postgraduate level
  • a high level of English language proficiency
  • demonstrated leadership potential and good prospects to influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes in their home country and in the Asia-Pacific region
  • a commitment to participate ASAN on their return home.

Scholarship benefits
An ALA Scholarship has a total value of up to A$110,000 for Masters degrees and A$220,000 for Doctoral programs, not including provisions for the leadership development program.

Benefits include:

  • return air travel
  • visa support
  • establishment allowance
  • full tuition fees
  • =

  • contribution to living expenses
  • Introductory Academic program (IAP)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of the award (for award holder only).

To be eligible for an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Scholarship, applicants must satisfy the eligibility requirements outlined below.

Applicants must be a citizen of one of the participating countries listed below.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis & Futuna.

Applicants must not have Australian or New Zealand citizenship or permanent residence status, nor be in the process of applying.

Application information
<a href=”Read the following information at the scholarship web site before you apply:

Frequently asked questions
Timeline for applicants
Selection criteria
Terms and conditions of the scholarship
How to apply
Further information

If the material found on website for the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship does not provide the necessary help, please direct enquiries by email to:

More information is available at the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship web site at:

We Can Do received this announcement via the AdHoc_IDC listserv. People interested in the program should please consult the web site for the Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship (click on this link). Any remaining questions not cleared up by their web site can please be directed to the parties involved with the scholarship at, NOT We Can Do.

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RESOURCE: On-Line Handbook Supports Disabled People in Fighting Poverty

Posted on 8 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Inclusion, Poverty, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following press release about a helpful resource for people who fight poverty among people with disabilities in developing countries is being circulated by Handicap International, Christian Blind Mission, and GTZ.

Press release – 07 April 2008

In 1999, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) introduced the concept of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). One of its basic ideas is that highly indebted poor countries develop comprehensive strategies how to reduce poverty within the country. Civil society should participate in the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the poverty reduction strategy (PRS).

Poverty is a cause and a consequence of disability. Although this is evident, people with disabilities had to realise that PRSPs and the proposed measures did not regard their needs and interests so far. In addition, people with disabilities and their organisations rarely have the possibility to participate in the formulation and implementation of PRSPs.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Handicap International, the Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German Technical Cooperation) implement pilot projects in Cambodia, Tanzania and Vietnam to address the shortcomings of the PRS processes. These projects are based on the handbook “Making PRSP Inclusive”, published by Handicap International and CBM in 2006, initiated by the World Bank and financed by a German Trust Fund (with financial support of the German government). New experiences made in the projects in 2007 contributed to the revision and update of the handbook.

The key experiences from the projects show that capacity development and networking of local organisations of and for persons with disabilities are crucial for the inclusion of disability in PRS processes. For this reason “Making PRSP Inclusive” introduces subjects around disability and PRSP and at the same time includes basic techniques like project management and lobbying. The handbook also offers a toolbox with participatory methods for the implementation of workshops and projects. In addition it presents case studies from Honduras, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The updated version is available as online-handbook at The medium internet offers the opportunity for continuous updating. The website has an accessible design for persons with visual impairments. The handbook is currently available in English; the French translation will be published in a few months.

The organisations:
Handicap International is an international charity working in 60 countries worldwide in the fields of rehabilitation, inclusion of disabled people and in disability prevention. Handicap International stands up for the rights of people with disabilities and is also engaged in the framework of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) is an independent, interdenominational Christian relief organization committed to help people with disabilities to live as independently as possible – in more than 1,000 projects in developing countries. Medical help, rehabilitation and integration into society are the main goals, for instance through the support of eye hospitals or hospitals with eye departments, schools for blind persons and special programmes for hearing impaired and physically disabled people.

As an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations, the federally owned Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH supports the German Government in achieving its development-policy objectives. It provides viable, forward-looking solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development in a globalised world. Often working under difficult conditions, GTZ promotes complex reforms and change processes. Its corporate objective is to improve people’s living conditions on a sustainable basis.

The three organisations are members of the World Bank imitative “Global Partnership for Disability and Development” (GPDD).

Ursula Miller, Handicap International, +49 8954 76 06 23,
Andreas Pruisken, Christoffel-Blindenmission, +49 6251131 307,
Andreas Gude, GTZ, +49 6 196 79 1517, andreas.gude@gtz,de
Dorothea Rischewski, GTZ, +49 6 196 791263,

Handicap International e.V.
Ganghoferstr. 19
80339 München
Tel.: +49 89 54 76 06 0
Fax: +49 89 54 76 06 20

Christoffel-Blindenmission Deutschland e.V.
Nibelungenstraße 124
64625 Bensheim
Tel.: +49 6251 131-0
Fax: + 49 6251 131-199

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg 1-5
65760 Eschborn
Tel.: +49 6196 79-0
Fax: +49 6196 79-1115

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EVENT/NEWS: Asian Festival of Inclusive Arts

Posted on 5 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Arts, Cross-Disability, Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Events and Conferences, Inclusion, Mobility Impariments, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Dear Friends of Epic Arts,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to SPOTLIGHT An Asian Festival of Inclusive Arts.

For the first time ever, disabled and able-bodied artists from across Asia come together in Cambodia to present an exciting festival of performance, film, music and visual arts with a SPOTLIGHT on the abilities of all people.

Check out the website for more information on how you can join in the fun. The website is constantly being updated with news and images and will be up in Khmer towards the end of next week, so keep checking! The website will also serve as an archive of SPOTLIGHT after all the excitement has ended and hopefully as a communication tool for all the artists / organisations / individuals working in Inclusive Arts in Asia.

So forward this email to all your friends and colleagues and encourage them to come and participate in this truly exciting event.

Kind regards
Hannah & The SPOTLIGHT team

Hannah Stevens
Production Manager
Epic Arts/Cambodia
(+855) 12 454 935

We Can Do received this text via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD) mailing list.

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NEWS: World Association of Sign Language Interpreters Conference Report

Posted on 6 November 2007. Filed under: Deaf, Events and Conferences, Interpreting, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The email further below comes from the secretary of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) regarding their recent conference in Spain. Some sign language interpreters from developing nations were among the participants.

At the WASLI web site (, you can see a daily newsletter from the conference (in English at top, in Spanish if you scroll down the page). You will also find text on topics such as developing a code of ethics for interpreters (see the link to the code of ethics in Kenya); mentoring sign language interpreters; links to information about deaf interpreters; and more.

Their “WASLI Country Reports 2007” (PDF format, 2.8 Mb) presents recent information about the situation of sign language interpreters or Deaf/deaf people generally in dozens of both industrialized and developing nations around the world. Some of the developing nations represented include: Botswana, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Cambodia, India, Peru, and Mexico.

WASLI also published a similar report two years earlier, WASLI Country Reports 2005 (PDF format, 1 Mb). The low- and middle-income countries represented in this report include: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Limited summaries of the WASLI website is available in other languages in PDF format by clicking on “About this website in other languages” WASLI’s left-hand navigation bar. Languages include Arabic, Brazialian Portuguese, Italian, Kiswahili, Japanese, Thai, French, Cantonese, Indonesian, Spanish, and Russian.

Email From WASLI Secretary

From: Zane Hema WASLI Secretary
Subject: WASLI
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2007 00:44:55 -0000

WASLI is committed to developing the profession of sign language interpreting world wide

Greetings Friends

2007 has been an important year for WASLI primarily because it was the year that the 2nd WASLI Conference took place in Segovia, Spain 13-15 July 2007.


The WASLI 2007 page on the website has been devoted to the WASLI 2007 Conference in Segovia.  It has been updated to include:

A photo gallery,

Minutes of the General Membership meeting,

Scenes from Segovia (Conference Newsletter)

Messages of Greetings

Countries Report

Update on the WASLI 2007 Conference Proceedings

… with more information to follow


Total number of participants – 255 (197 women and 58 men) from 41 different countries.  (This figure does not include working interpreters, companions and an individual from Press purposes)

159 were members of an interpreter association.

20 delegates were sponsored (8 people who were sponsored did not come)

Spain had the highest number of participants at 102

Regional Representation

Africa – 6 countries represented

North America – 3 countries represented

Europe – 14 countries represented

Balkans – 3 countries represented

Australasia & Oceania – 2 countries represented

Asia  – 8 countries represented

Transcaucasia & Central Asia – 1 country represented

Latino America – 4 countries represented

More news to follow shortly …


WASLI Secretary

We Can Do received the above email via the Intl-Dev email distribution list, which circulates information of interest to international development professionals and others with an interest in the field. The other information about WASLI and its country reports was gathered from the WASLI web site. Neither We Can Do nor Intl-Dev are associated with WASLI–individuals interested in their organization should follow the link to review their web site directly.

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Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs UN CRPD

Posted on 2 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release was put out yesterday by Rehabilitation International (RI); We Can Do has made some modifications to RI’s text.

Gabon and India Ratify, Cambodia Signs the UN Disability Rights Convention:

Rehabilitation International (RI) Urges Governments to Continue Momentum Toward first 20 Ratifications

(New York , United States , October 1, 2007): RI applauds the Governments of Gabon and India for ratifying, and Cambodia for signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as part of the UN Treaty Event that began last week. In addition, Cambodia also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

“The ratifications by Gabon and India further build momentum toward the 20 ratifications required for the treaty to become international law. It is estimated that in India alone there are over 100 million people with disabilities — the fact that India has ratified has an enormous impact on the world’s disability community,” said RI President Michael Fox.

After receiving this press release, We Can Do received word that Japan was to have signed the CRPD; however, I have not yet seen a press release (in a language I can read) or any other official confirmation. I will make an announcement here when I know more.

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI continues to urge all countries to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol as soon as possible and without reservations, understandings or declarations.

“I am very pleased that there has been so much interest in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol during the UN Treaty Event. Several countries have come forward to sign the treaty, and I am especially pleased that two States — Gabon and India — deposited their instruments of ratification today. I very much look forward to the rapid entry into force of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol,” said Mr. Nicolas Michel, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Shantha Rau, RI Senior Program Officer, said, “RI recognizes the hard work of NGOs at the national level, who continue to work tirelessly to promote the equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities. In fact, RI is set to launch a new initiative to implement the Convention in India , together with Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre. This project seeks to empower women with disabilities in eastern India through training in disability rights and assistance with micro-credit enterprises.”

The CRPD was open for signature on March 30, 2007 and to date, 117 countries have signed the Convention, 66 have signed the Optional Protocol, seven states have ratified the treaty and three states has ratified the Protocol. CRPD signatories form the majority of the 192 United Nations member countries. The CRPD is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted.

You can read the original text of the convention in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, or Chinese at A “plain language” version of the convention is availabe at We Can Do at The plain language version rewrites the official version of the convention into easier English for use with people who have difficulty understanding legal language, or for people who wish to use it as a resource in translating the convention to other languages. You can find out if your country is among the signatories at

If you wish to become involved in encouraging your country to sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD then you may find it helpful to consult the ratification and implementation toolkits developed by DPI) at Both toolkits are available in English, Spanish, and French and can either be read on-line or downloaded in Word document format. The ratification toolkit explains why it is important for countries to not only sign but also fully ratify the CRPD. It guides advocates through the process of persuading their governments to both sign and ratify the CRPD. After your country has ratified the CRPD, the implementation toolkit guides advocates through the process of helping your governments put the CRPD into real-life practice.

About RI

Founded in 1922, RI is a global network of organizations of persons with disabilities, government agencies, service providers, researchers and advocates promoting and implementing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 96 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

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