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Empowering disabled people

Update: October, 24/2014 - 08:38
Cashiers receive payments from patients in Quang Nam. All medical centres in the province have signed contracts with the Social Insurance to ensure benefits and rights for those who have medical insurance. – VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS) — National Assembly deputies yesterday listened to reports on Viet Nam's preparation for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The convention, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006, aims to promote, protect, and ensure full and equal rights and freedoms for people with disabilities and to find ways to help them lead dignified lives.

Viet Nam signed the convention on October 22, 2007, but has yet to ratify it. Globally, 158 countries signed the document.

The ratification of the convention is crucial role for Viet Nam since it would support the country's relationships with other countries and international organisations on human rights, President Truong Tan Sang said.

Sang added that the ratification would be a strong political commitment.

The Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, said the ratification of the convention would also help improve Viet Nam's legal system on people with disabilities and create more opportunities for them to find better jobs and "own their own lives".

However, in return, it would require VIet Nam to ensure people with disabilities have access to public transport and information. This means it would have to reform its transport infrastructure and information and communications system.

Basically, Viet Nam's laws are in compliance with the convention. Yet several amendments need to be made, of which the most important is the repair of residential buildings, offices and public infrastructure for better access for the disabled. Support for staff and teachers involved in rehabilitation education is also needed.

Cruelty concerns

On the same day, NA deputies also listened to a report on the UN Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments.

Head of the NA Committee for External Affairs Tran Van Hang said the ratification of the convention would help Viet Nam ensure basic human rights in compliance with the new constitution.

The ratification would also create an opportunity for Viet Nam to re-examine and amend its legal system so that it complies better with the convention and other international norms on human rights.

Hang said the committee agreed with the Government's proposal that Viet Nam would not directly apply the convention in Viet Nam and that the country would defer some contents of the convention.

The application of the convention would have to be in line with Viet Nam's Constitution or based on the country's bilateral or multilateral agreements.

Also in the morning, deputies discussed the draft insurance law.

Many agreed with the draft law on requiring labourers with contracts lasting from one to three months to have compulsory insurance.

Deputies also presented detail opinions on pensions and how to balance the social insurance fund.

While the NA Standing Committee said that those holding impermanent positions at commune, ward and township level should join voluntary insurance, many deputies disagreed, saying that they should have compulsory insurance.

Deputy Nguyen Trung Thu from Long An Province said most of these people, while holding temporary positions, had many years of experience and held important positions at these levels.

He said if there were differences in social insurance among those holding impermanent and those holding permanents in the same commune or ward staff would be discouraged.

Currently, there are nearly 230,000 people holding impermanent positions at communal level nationwide. If all were to join compulsory insurance, the Government would have to support VND443 billion (US$20 million) per year.

Regarding pensions, the NA Standing Committee suggested adjustments would take place from 2018. Each person's pension would be equal to 45 per cent of his or her monthly income before retirement. Each year, the rate would increase by 2 per cent until it reaches 75 per cent.

Many deputies agreed that social insurance organisations be given inspection tasks. This would help them heighten their responsibilities and protect workers' rights. — VNS

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