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The Disabled Call For End To Discrimination  Tapol
 Jun 28, 2011 04:06 PDT 

From Joyo


The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Disabled Call For End To Discrimination

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite her hearing problems, Angkie Yudistia has disproved everyone
who doubted that she could excel academically.

The 24-year-old woman recently completed her Masters degree at the
London School of Public Relations. “I have proven to my doctor, who
had discouraged me from going to college due to my hearing disability,
that he was wrong,” she recently told a discussion on disabled people
in Jakarta.

Graduating from college with flying colors, however, is no guarantee
that disabled people will receive equal treatment at work.

Shortly after completing her degrees, Angkie worked at a multinational
company, but felt that she was underestimated because of her
disability. “I was given a job that even a high school student could
do. When I requested another more challenging job, the manager
refused, saying that I could not talk on the phone.”

She resigned immediately.

Angkie is not alone. The Indonesian Association of Disabled Women said
that Wuri Handayani, a cum laude graduate from the Airlangga
University accounting department in Surabaya was not allowed to apply
for an accountant position in a government institution because she
used a wheelchair. “This is nonsense. An accounting professional
requires a brain, not only physical activities. The disabled have
rights to apply for the job,” association chairperson Ariani Soekanwo
said.

According to Ariani, government departments still refer to an outdated
health ministry regulation that requires civil servant candidates be
mentally and physically healthy. She said that the government had
issued another regulation in 1998 that stated applicants to both
private and states companies, including civil servants, only had to be
mentally healthy. “The regulation also says that a one percent quota
of job vacancies should be reserved for disabled individuals. However,
even today, not all companies are willing to implement the
regulation,” Ariani said.

Ariani emphasized that the government is responsible for providing
equal access to all disabled individuals, because in addition to
respecting equal intelligence and rights, the country already had
regulations to facilitate access.

“They only need to start implementing goodwill and understanding.
Unfortunately, the government is simply lazy in truly helping the
disabled,” she said.

According to her, the goodwill and understanding could be implemented
in various sectors.

She said that regular schools should accept disabled students. “Unlike
what happens nowadays, I enrolled in a public school when I was a
child. The teachers welcomed me, even though they did not have
facilities to support my weakness. But they had a strong will to help
me,” Ariani said.

She welcomed the fact that Indonesia is planning to ratify the United
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “The document
is already with the President. After being ratified, the possibility
to accept the diversity of human beings might improve. Humanity and
accessibility must be achieved,” she added.

Farhanah, the managing editor of mini-magazine Change, which focuses
on disabled individuals, said that the country has tried to change the
meaning of the word disability itself by encouraging equality for
disabled and non-disabled individuals alike.

Indonesia used the words blind, deaf and mute through the 1950s in
reference to disabled individuals. In the 1960s, the country
introduced euphemisms such as “tuna netra” for the blind, “tuna
wicara” for the mute and “tuna rungu” for the hearing impaired. Tuna
means loss in Javanese.

The term disabled appeared in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, this
changed to “special needs”. “But it was criticized for being too
general,” Farhanah said.

Visually-impaired Indonesian activist Mansour Fakih invented the word
“diffable” in 1996 as an acronym for “differently able”. “It became
slightly more Indonesian by citing it as diffable,” she said. (fem)

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