Rights Ignored For Indonesians With Disabilities
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 2, 2002
JAKARTA, INDONESIA--Ten percent of the Indonesian population has a disability, according to the World Health Organization.
But many are not allowed to prove what they are capable of doing, because the public and government are not aware of disability issues and laws. Government ministries do not even agree on the number of people with disabilities in the country.
Fikri Thalib, a member of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), said on Monday that only a few ministries were familiar with the 17 laws and rulings that they should follow to ensure the rights of disabled persons.
"The fact that we have a disability does not mean that we have no capability at all. We are people with different abilities," he said. "The blind can be tutors, lecturers, or even politicians."
Fikri told the Jakarta Post that 2.3 million blind people across Indonesia have the right to vote but could not be elected as a legislator under current laws.
"The blind are not illiterate because they are able to read and write in braille. However, the internal regulations of the MPR stipulate that a person who is eligible to be elected as legislator should be able to read and write in the Roman alphabet."
Some people with disabilities who have graduated from Teacher's Training College (IKIP) have been rejected by the Ministry of Education to teach at formal schools on the grounds that they are not capable.