HRH launches 3rd Asean Disability Forum
Syazwani Hj Rosli

HER Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah yesterday officially launching the 3rd Asean Disability Forum (ADF), organised by nine Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) in collaboration with the Community Development Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Held at the Rizqun International Hotel, the ceremony began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah led by Deputy State Mufti, Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Suhaili bin Haji Mohiddin, following which welcoming remarks were delivered by 3rd ADF Co-Chairman Dato Paduka Haji Alimin bin Haji Abd Wahab.

In his remarks, Dato Paduka Haji Alimin said, “As disability issues are no longer a question of charity but also that of rights, concern over the empowerment of disabled people becomes central and critical to the achievement of all development goals. The participation of the disabled community in all these can only be realised when we have begun to put in place an inclusive policy framework in development agendas.”

In Brunei, the issue focuses more on inclusive developments with regard to the rights of disabled people, which will be discussed at the forum.

Meanwhile, Ngin Saorath, the co-chairman of the 2nd ADF, pointed out in his speech that the forum will continue to undertake functional cooperation in the fields of people-to-people interactions, cultural tourism, academic exchanges, as well as promotion and protection of human rights and social justice of all vulnerable groups, including women and children.

He explained that information will be exchanged through broadcast, print and electronic media alongside other Asean mechanisms, and that it will also take into consideration the interests of Asean dialogue partners and the relevant United Nations and international/regional agencies, which will work with Asean as it works towards the Asean Community Building by 2015.

Later, HRH delivered a sabda before officially launching the forum.

After a keynote speech on ‘Laws and Policies for Persons with Special Needs’ delivered by UNESCO representative Daniel Luis De Garibay, HRH presented awards to Marthinus Januart Jehalu, the creator of the ADF 2013 logo, and I Kadek Andre Nuaba, both from Indonesia.

HRH then toured an exhibition featuring participating NGOs such as the Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association (PAPDA), Pusat Ehsan, Centre for Children with Special Needs (KACA), SMARTER Brunei, and Child Development Centre (CDC).

The exhibition showcased the activities, programmes and trainings NGOs provide special needs individuals, which, at the same time, hopes to raise public awareness on the lives of people with disabilities.

The two-day forum, themed ‘Reduce Poverty and Enhance Employment Prospects’ is regarded as a platform in realising the national and international policy initiatives towards empowering, developing and involving the participation of special needs individuals.

According to a press release, 10 speakers repre-senting international organisations such as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific, National Commission on Violence Against Women, National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and Indonesia Association of Women with Disabilities, will deliver papers at the forum.

The two-day forum is attended by 200 representatives of the Asean governments and International CSOs, local NGOs, international organisations as well as the private sectors.

Also present during the opening ceremony were Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong; Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman; Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof and members of the 3rd ADF 2013 committee. - Borneo Bulletin (12 December 2013)