On 10 December, a day-long event at one of the most popular shopping centers in the nation’s capital, Pondok Indah Mall in South Jakarta, attracted hundreds of holiday shoppers to view art displays and listen to musical performances by persons with disabilities.
Activities were also included in the commemoration, such as painting, caricature drawing and musical performances by disabled artists -- including local groups Diferensia Band, Jamaica Cafe, Anton, and Teguh -- as well as Unisexx dancers and the singer Angel Simbolon.
To promote the right of persons with disabilities to be included in decision-making processes, the event was organized by Thisable Entreprise -- a local non-profit organization – with the support of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Jakarta, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Discrimination against persons with disabilities in Indonesia is prohibited by several laws, but many of the provisions of these laws are not fully implemented, say disability rights advocates.
“Everyone should be given equal rights and access to enjoy a better life,” said Murdaya Widyawimarta Poo (Chairman of Disaster Resource Partnership Indonesia, CEO of Pondok Indah Mall and former Chairman of the Special Committee on Anti-Ethnic and Race Discrimination at the Indonesian House of Representative) in his opening remarks. “ With the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” he added, “Indonesia has started to change its paradigm towards disability rights -- which hardly existed before.”
The Secretary-General’s message on Human Rights Day was delivered by the Director UNIC Jakarta, Michele Zaccheo. Before reading the Secretary-General’s message he spoke in Bahasa Indonesia to urge participants to “strive to achieve the goals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Indonesia ratified last year, to eliminate discrimination and exclusion, and to create societies that value diversity and inclusion.” Also present in delivering remarks was Charaf Ahmimed, Head of Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO Jakarta.
Michiko Miyamoto, Deputy Director of ILO Jakarta, spoke of the ILO’s efforts to bridge relations between employers and persons with disabilities in order to promote their greater inclusion in the work force in Indonesia. The ILO’s “Better Work Indonesia” programme provided a photo exhibit showcasing persons with disabilities making their contributions in the workplace. Ms. Miyamoto was joined in a talk-show by Eva Rahmi Kasim from the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and Angki Yudhistia, CEO of Thisable Enterprise, both successful professional women with disabilities.