Australia provides support to accessible public services for persons with disabilities in Cambodia

Australia provides support to accessible public services for persons with disabilities in Cambodia

On 12 August 2021, the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, with the support from the Australian Government, inaugurated twenty-two accessible ramps in five provinces (Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kratie), and additionally launched five educational, animated videos on technical standards for physical accessibility infrastructure for persons with disabilities.

HE Em Chan Makara, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) and Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council Secretariat General (DAC-SG), and Mr Andreas Zurbrugg, Deputy Ambassador of the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, were both in attendance for the inauguration and provided welcome remarks to 125 participants including representatives from key line ministries, provincial Disability Action Councils (DACs), commune authorities, representatives of persons with disabilities and ACCESS Implementing Partners (IPs).

The five educational videos will serve as practical examples and contribute to raising awareness on the creation of inclusive environments across various sectors, including health, education and employment. The accessible ramps will not only be beneficial for persons with disabilities, but also for other individuals, including the elderly, pregnant women and those with mobility limitations.

Mr Andreas Zurbrugg acknowledged the achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) through the strong stewardship of DAC in promoting the rights of women and men with disabilities in Cambodia. He added: “The Government of Australia remains committed to supporting our long-standing partners and promoting resilience of the people of Cambodia, especially the most vulnerable groups. Ensuring that optimum accessibility levels are achieved, especially in common public places, is everyone’s responsibility. Together we can build a better world for all, as we provide a platform to achieve a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 landscape.”

Ms Sieng Sokchan, Director of the Women with Disabilities Federation (WWDF) in Battambang expressed her appreciation to DAC and the ACCESS program for their achievements, noting that these accessible ramps will contribute to ensuring that the commune hall is accessible for persons with disabilities. On behalf of persons with disabilities in Battambang, she thanked the Royal Government of Cambodia and, the Australian Government and related partners for their commitment towards inclusive development in Cambodia.

HE Em Chan Makara expressed his appreciation to the Australian Government for supporting the disability and gender sectors in Cambodia through the ACCESS Program. He also thanked the RGC and the Australian Government for strengthening the collaboration, through the ACCESS Program, between government counterparts and Implementing Partners including UN agencies, NGOs, civil society, and other organisations, and for amplifying the voices of persons with disabilities. This inauguration marked an achievement resulting from collective action towards inclusive services in Cambodia.

The ACCESS Program is a five-year Australian Government initiative. For the last three years, the Program has been working in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and IPs to improve the sustainability, quality, and inclusiveness of services for persons with disabilities and women affected by GBV.