The Lao PDR is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRDP). This Convention sets down the rights of all people with disabilities. By knowing your rights you can help to raise awareness amongst disabled and non disabled people and promote a more inclusive society in Laos.
Listed here are some of your rights that influence the way in which you live your life, everyday:
- accessibility – people with disabilities have the same rights as non disabled people to access all aspects of society including the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, and other facilities and services provided to the public (Article 9)
- education – people with disabilities have a right to education without discrimination…(and ) can access an inclusive, quality and free primary and secondary education in their own community…(and) provide reasonable accommodation and individualised support to maximise academic and social development (Article 24)
- health – people with disabilities have the right to the highest attainable standard of health…(with) measures that are gender-sensitive and (that) ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same range, quality and standard of health care that is available to everyone else and which are close to people’s own communities (Article 25)
- work and employment – disabled people have the right to:
- access to vocational and continuing training
- work in an environment that is safe, open, inclusive and accessible
- equal remuneration for work of equal value (Article 27)
- participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport – people with disabilities have the right to take part in cultural life on an equal basis with others, including access to cultural materials, performances and services, and to recreational, leisure and sporting activities.
Underlining the importance that the Lao Government places on protecting the rights of people with disabilities, in 2014 it signed the Decree on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Listed below are Articles of the Decree that protect and promote your rights in relation to access to health, education, vocational training and employment and your entitlements to reduced or zero fees to use these services:
Article 16. Provisions for Medical Care
Persons with disabilities have the right to disease preventative service, medical examination and treatment, health care, and functional rehabilitation in hospitals, health centers and clinics as mentioned in the medical laws.
Fees: Service and treatment fee for persons with disabilities including poor, homeless, and helpless persons with disabilities is stipulated by regulations.
Article 17. Provisions for Rehabilitation
Persons with disabilities shall receive physical rehabilitation according to modern medical rules in combination with traditional medicine. In addition, persons with disabilities shall be supplied with orthopedic services, equipment and aids in functional rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation shall be carried out in hospitals or in rehabilitation centers in combination with the participation of communities and assistance from families of persons with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities and their families shall be guided by medical agency in healthcare, functional rehabilitation and the use of orthopedic aids. Persons with disabilities and their families, particularly those living in rural and remote areas shall be supplied with information related to rehabilitation and to places providing instruments and assistive devices.
Fees: Service and rehabilitation fees, and costs for instruments and orthopedic aids for persons with disabilities including poor and helpless persons with disabilities are prescribed in regulations.
Article 20. Inclusive Education
The State promotes the development of an inclusive education system for persons with disabilities as following:
- Persons with disabilities shall have the right to education and self-development in State or private educational premises, on equal opportunity with others in society.
- Schools and educational institutions admitting persons with disabilities shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to them, including:
– Classrooms and educational premises;
– Curriculum appropriate to level of disabilities;
– Teaching and learning materials and other necessary items supporting teaching and learning processes for learners with disabilities.
- The State shall promote research on curriculum for persons with disabilities and produce instruments for teaching, enhancing the level of teachers of persons with disabilities.
- Teachers of persons with disabilities shall be trained in teaching techniques for persons with disabilities and caring for persons with disabilities.
Article 21. Special Education
The State shall be responsible for building special schools for learners with mental, visual, hearing and speech disabilities, and for promoting private entities to contribute to this undertaking.
Curriculum, teaching and learning materials for special education shall be appropriate to the level of disabilities.
Article 22. Expenditure on Education for Persons with Disabilities
Fees: Students with disabilities shall be considered by State and private schools and educational institutions for reduction or exemption of school fees and other expenses. Students with disabilities with outstanding learning shall be considered as beneficiaries of scholarships in accordance with State regulations.
- Vocational training
Article 23. Vocational Training for Persons with Disabilities
Vocational training for persons with disabilities is implemented as follows:
- The State shall encourage vocational training institutions and skill development centers of State and private entities to admit persons with disabilities in general vocational training.
- These institutions and centers shall be equipped with appropriate assistive instruments and devices when admitting persons with disabilities for vocational training. This includes premises, instruments, curriculum, methods and a teaching-learning timetable.
- Staff working on vocational training and giving professional guidance to persons with disabilities must be trained and have the level of their knowledge, skills and teaching techniques enhanced.
- Vocational training centers for persons with disabilities shall satisfy levels and standards prescribed by the State.
- The State shall encourage the private sector and social organisations to build the vocational training center, develop curriculum and instruments to contribute for the vocational training and skill development for disable people. The State shall have the appropriate policy on finance, tax-duties and other for building and developing the vocational training center for disable people.
Article 24. Promotion of Vocational Training
Fees: 1. Persons with disabilities have right to receive funding, credit, exempt or reduced training fees, training instruments prices and accommodation fees.
- 2. The State shall establish the office to provide guidance on the choice of jobs appropriate with their own capacity and needs of the work market. This service is free of charge.
Article 25. Jobs for Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities, irrespective of the cause of disabilities, shall have the right to work in all State and private sectors according to their capacity and on equal basis with others without any discrimination, such as application for employment, acceptance, salary, rank promotion, compensation, job determination, right to enhancement of skills, and other.
The employers must provide facilities for working to persons with disabilities
The State shall promote the private sector to employ persons with disabilities more than a certain number specified by the State, by considering tax reduction or exemption, priority to borrow money, utilize or leased land at the appropriate places.
Article 27. Self-Employment
Persons with disabilities who provide jobs for themselves are eligible to borrow capital at an incentive interest rate, reduce or eliminate tax and/or other regulatory costs, are assisted by the local administration in technology transfer, guided in production techniques and in marketing their products.
The State shall encourage and promote the establishment of the co-operative and collective organization of persons with disabilities or gathering them for collective work in an allocated place for determined production or services such as handicrafts of persons with disabilities, traditional massage by the blind, and other activities.