Situation in Malaysia
There are 445,006 people with disabilities registered In Malaysia as of 2012. However, as registration is voluntary, it is not reflective of the real numbers in the country.
Malaysia's has taken an important step to protect the rights of people with disabilities by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2010.
The Government has also adopted the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 and provides social protection services in areas such as health, rehabilitation and education for children with disabilities guided by the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities and the National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities.
Towards full inclusion
The challenge ahead for Malaysia is to transform its approach from a welfare perspective to a human rights one.
The Government will be better positioned to protect and promote the rights of People with Disabilities by withdrawing its formal reservations to the CRPD concerning the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment (article 15), the right to liberty of movement and nationality (article 18) and its declaration limiting the government's legal application of the principles of non-discrimination and equality.
Additionally, the Government should sign and ratify the CRPD's Optional Protocol, which allows individuals to send complaints of human rights violations to an international monitoring body. These steps will guide the country in implementing policy and legal frameworks fairly, reducing disparities in access to essential services and coordinating multisectoral efforts more effectively.
Moving forward, Malaysia should also provide equal access to social and health services, collect adequate statistical data for the development of policies and programs, as well as increase community-based rehabilitation programs, as recommended by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
These efforts will help ensure that above all, children with disabilities have the right to be included in, and contribute to, Malaysia's development.
More information visit: http://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/