HANOI, December 26, 2012 -- It is an honor for me to represent the U.S. Agency for International Development in this important consultative workshop for the Penalty Decree on Social Protection, with a focus on provisions related to people with disabilities.
I would like to compliment the Government of Vietnam (GVN) and MOLISA, in particular, for their leadership in the development and enforcement of the National Law on Disability and its subsequent policies and programs. Today's effort - gathering input from important stakeholders on the draft Penalty Decree - reflects the continued strong commitment of the GVN to advance disability rights and the inclusion of Vietnamese with disabilities.
USAID is proud to be a partner with the GVN in these important efforts to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Since 1989, the U.S. Government has provided over $54 million in assistance to people with disabilities, regardless of cause. In collaboration with the GVN and partners such as the Vietnam Assistance to the Handicapped, we have been able to contribute to the development of Vietnam's National Law on Disability, Accessibility Codes and Standards for public transportation, public construction and access to information. In addition, we have been contributing to the establishment of the Blue Ribbon Employer Council that promotes employment for PWDs, the establishment of the National Coordinating Council on Disabilities and the Vietnam Disability Federation to promote enforcement of the disability law and policies.
We are here today because there is recognition on the importance of all stakeholders that the disability law and policies need enforcement. We expect that all barriers that obstruct Vietnamese with disabilities from benefiting from the provisions in the Disability Law be removed so that they can reach their full potential and wholly participate in society and in Vietnam's economic development. Therefore, the Disability Law needs strong measures to ward off prospective violators and to penalize those that have violated the law. It needs strong measures for monitoring and evaluation of disability policies and programs to inform what works and what does not work. In addition, we need continued commitment and participation of responsible public and private stakeholders, of disabled people organization and NGOs and donors.
I wish the draft Penalty Decree you are reviewing today will help accomplish this goal and create a society that is inclusive of all citizens.
Thank you and I wish you all success!
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Last updated: March 20, 2015