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Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles

Cambodia

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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (29 April 1996)
General policy

The officially recognized disability policy is expressed: in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government, in policy adopted by political parties, and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: prevention, accessibility measures, anti-discrimination law, rehabilitation, individual support.

Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has conveyed the message of full participation, through the inspections made by the Ministry of Social Affairs in the provinces and municipalities.

Legislation

The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. There is a Governmental body (administrative) for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: employment, political rights, right to privacy. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and socio-psychological assistance, financial security, employment.

Accessibility

There are laws and regulations ensuring accessibility of the build environment requiring that public places, i.e. schools, hospitals, clinics, community centres, rehabilitation centres, theatres etc., are made accessible. No responsible body exists for observing accessibility in the build environment. No measures have been promoted by the Government in order to facilitate accessibility in the build environment. There is no special transport system. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: economic/budgetary factors, technical factors, lack of legislation and regulations, lack of planning and design capacity, lack of knowledge, research and information, lack of user participation, lack of co-operation form other organizations/institutions, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.

Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status. It is neither used as the first language in education of deaf people nor recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. The Government has taken measures for encouraging media to make their information services accessible, but there are no measures to make other forms of public information services accessible. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille, and news magazines on tape/Braille.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization. All the associations/organizations of persons with disabilities are represented in the umbrella. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. No support is given by the Government to organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government and political parties but to a great extent in NGOs. They do not at all participate in legislature and judiciary. The disabled persons' organizations in Cambodia have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures and contribute to public awareness.

Co-ordination of work

The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Social Affairs. The committee includes representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities, and other NGOs. The Government expects the co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes in the disability field, improved legislation, a better dialogue in the disability field, and more effective use of resources.


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