On June 25, General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) Disability Rights Advisor, Tolhas Damanik, spoke at the ASEAN civil society organization (CSO) Townhall Meeting on “ASEAN Member States’ Accountability on Human Rights: During and Post COVID-19”. The event was organized by Forum Asia and supporting partners, including ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Solidarity for ASEAN People’ Advocacy (SAPA), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), ASEAN Studies Center (ASC) and Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA) in parallel with the 36th ASEAN Virtual Summit meeting.
Damanik shared the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities and outlined how the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities can be used as an approach for implementing inclusive response measures. The meeting resulted in several recommendations which include strengthening collaborations among CSOs and stakeholders to raise concerns regarding the promotion and protection of human rights by ASEAN during and post-pandemic and enhancing marginalized groups’ participation in planning and implementing COVID-19 responses and recovery measures. As requested by the organizer, Damanik together with ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) chair, Lim Puay Tiak, also created a four-minute video on COVID-19 and persons with disabilities.