Country Background

Viet Nam has a population of 93,448,000 people (UNESCAP 2015), and UNESCAP report 2015 indicated that a total of 7.8%, there are an estimated minimum of 6,074,543 people with disabilities living in Viet Nam.

In Viet Nam, more than six million persons age 5 or older, or approximately 7.8% of the population, have a disability according to the 2009 Census. However, recent statistics based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework, known as the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), showed that disabled persons accounted for 15.3%  of the country’s population.

A vast majority of people with disabilities in Viet Nam, or 75%, live in rural areas and attend school at rates far below those of non-disabled persons. Literacy rates are much lower for adult persons with disabilities (76.3%) than those without disabilities (95.2%).

In the world of work, few people with disabilities have stable jobs and regular incomes. Many remain outside of formal employment systems. As a group, they have lower labour participation rates and higher unemployment rates in both rural and urban areas than people without disabilities. In urban areas, disabled persons are three times more likely to be unemployment than persons without disabilities (4.3% compared with 14%). With low levels of education and training, most people with disabilities cannot cover their daily expenses.  As a result, they and their families face numerous difficulties. Approximately 80% of disabled persons in urban areas and 70% in rural areas depend on their families, relatives and social allowances.

International Agrrements

The Government of Viet Nam has adopted and implemented a number of laws, policies, standards and initiatives pertaining to people with disabilities, including their right to productive and decent work. The main ones are listed below.

• The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam was adopted in 1992 and amended in 2001 by the   National Assembly. The protection of people with disabilities is enshrined in Articles 59 and 67.

• The Labour Code (2012). Section III of the Code contains regulations on the employment of people with disabilities.

• The Viet Nam National Law on Disability (2010) includes the establishment of the inter-agency National Coordinating Council on Disability (NCCD), the enactment of the barrier-free access code, standards for public construction and for public transport, and several disability inclusion provisions in the Vocational Training Law.

• Decree 28/2012/ND-CP provides guidance for a number of articles of the Law of Persons with Disability.

• The Barrier-Free Access Code & Standards (2002) establishes national accessibility standards for construction.

• The National Action Plan to Support People with Disabilities for 2012-2020, approved in August, 2012, will provide vocational training and suitable jobs to 250,000 working-age persons with disabilities. The project works on various issues such as accessibility to public buildings and transportation, early intervention, inclusive education, medical services, and legal services.

• The Vocational Training Law (2006) includes tax provisions for organizations providing training for people with disabilities.

• Inclusive Education by 2015 aims to provide inclusive education for all children with disabilities by 2015.

By ratifying, Viet Nam has committed to work for inclusion and to address the many barriers still faced by children and adults living with disabilities.”

The CRPD is a key international human rights treaty as it is groundbreaking in the way it shifts our perception of people with disabilities as being dependent, to becoming key actors and decision-makers in their own lives. It transforms people with disabilities into “rights holders” and “subjects of law” – able to participate fully in all aspects of social, political, economic and cultural life. By ratifying the CRPD, Viet Nam joins the 151 countries that have taken this important step.

Today, organizations of persons with disabilities, businesses, governments and the community will come together across Viet Nam to mark this historic occasion. As we celebrate ratification of the CRPD, however, we must now focus on the many actions that are required to make the rights ‘real’. According to 2006 Household Living Standards Survey, 15.3 per cent of Viet Nam’s population is living with some form of disability. People living with disabilities, with the vast majority living in rural areas, are today some of the most vulnerable members of society. Children with disabilities are by far the largest group, nearly 1.3 million children disabilities are among the most stigmatised and marginalised members of society and are often at risk of being abandoned, neglected, victims of violence, abuse and exploitation.

As the UN we will help Viet Nam to meet its commitments. In particular, the UN will help the Government and disability organizations to work together to continue strengthening the legal framework, advocate for the setting up of an independent monitoring mechanism in which organizations of persons with disabilities will play a strong role and continue helping Viet Nam to implement the policies and programmes that are needed to promote a fully inclusive society, including those with disabilities.

Implementation's Right of Persons with Disabilites

As of March 2013, USAID/Viet Nam’s disability portfolio consists of three projects:

• One project, implemented by CRS, focuses on improving the quality and access to education for children with disabilities (CWD) and reducing barriers to secondary and higher education. It is piloting assistive technologies to support CWD’s education, provides IT training and employment assistance for young people with disabilities. This activity will end in 2014. 

• A second project, implemented by Vietnam Assistance to the Handicapped (VNAH), focuses on the development and enforcement of Vietnam disabilities policies, particularly in the areas of social work and employment. This activity will end in 2014. 

• The third and most recently awarded project, implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), focuses on the development of a social worker implemented case management system to ensure PWD’ access to comprehensive, integrated quality service. The project seeks to develop a set of comprehensive and integrated activities that can be replicated throughout Vietnam. The regional focus is Da Nang, Dong Nai, Binh Dinh, Hue (birth defects activities), and possibly other regions where there is a high disability burden and the need is great. The performance period for the DAI-implemented project is from 2012 to 2015.

Advocacy Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) is based in Dong Hoi, the capital of Quang Binh province in central Vietnam. The province has a population of 853,000. AEPD’s works in two districts, Dong Hoi and Bo Trach.

AEPD’s mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities (PWDs) through economic and social empowerment and access to health care. The Association was set up in 2003 as the Viet Nam member of the Landmine Survivors Network, which shared the 1997 Nobel Peace prize for its contribution to the global campaign to ban landmines. In 2010 LSN-Vietnam broadened its mission and changed its name, in recognition of the fact that landmines are only one cause of disability. Vietnam has a population of 88.5 million people. By some estimates as many as 15.3% may be affected by a disability.

AP has sent Peace Fellows to AEPD since 2008 and is helping AEPD to design a long-term program on Agent Orange (video left). AEPD and AP surveyed 500 victims of Agent Orange in Quang Binh in 2014 and identified their needs. The partners will now seek funding to provide services.

Climate change is another issue that could benefit from AP’s international advocacy. AEPD is one of the few advocacy groups to argue that climate change will have a dire impact on people with disability, and agencies like the World Bank need to know about this. Meanwhile, AP and AEPD have produced an advocacy quilt that describes the threat from climate change. AP uses the quilt in promoting AEPD’s unique and important program.

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