Ainur Rohmah and Arya Dipa, Semarang/Bandung – Thousands of disabled persons celebrated 2014 International Disability Day at Temanggung regency square in Central Java on Wednesday.
Despite the scenes of celebration, communities of disabled persons still suffer from a lack of basic rights and access to public facilities.
Sight-impaired Haryanto said access was lacking in several areas, but especially in transportation, communication and education. He said improving access in these fields would help combat discrimination and increase employment prospects for disabled persons.
"Public facilities, especially those catering to the needs of the disabled, are still very limited. I hope the government will pay more attention to this matter in the future," Haryanto said in Semarang.
Haryanto, 28, said it was difficult to find a job due to his lack of skills, access and capital. He is currently unemployed despite being trained as a masseuse. He is finding it difficult to start a business.
Separately, Central Java Social Services Agency head Budi Wibowo said the obstacles faced by the disabled community should abate after the Provincial Bylaw No. 11/2014 on the rights of the disabled takes effect next year.
The bylaw stipulates that disabled persons working for government institutions or in the private sector must account for at least 1 percent of the total number of employees.
The provincial bylaw is consistent with article 14 of Law No. 4/1997 on disabilities, which says that employers must hire at least one person with a disability for every 100 employees.
"All government institutions, the private sector, as well as city or region-owned enterprises [BUMDs] must adjust themselves to the bylaw. They must be prepared, especially regarding public services," said Budi.
He said that once the ordinance was implemented, government institutions and BUMDs would be required to provide facilities to support the disabled – both physical and non-physical. Physical facilities will include special facilities on public transportation, offices and sidewalks.
"Access to non-physical facilities includes education, jobs and access to healthcare," he added.
He expressed optimism that persons with disability could become independent if were granted ample access to jobs and public services.
Meanwhile, in Bandung, West Java, around 40 members of the Sight-impaired Litigation Forum staged a rally to commemorate International Disability Day, demanding friendlier public services for the disabled.
They kicked off the rally by walking from the Wyata Guna Special School for the sight-impaired on Jl. Pajajaran. They also protested in front of City Hall and the West Java Council office, where no one greeted them.
Forum spokesman Suhendar criticized the West Java administration and the provincial council for poor implementation of the Provincial Bylaw No. 10/2006 on the disabled.
"Public facilities have not improved from the moment the ordinance was issued until now," said Suhendar.
Diyono, 33, one of the protesters, said sidewalks for the disabled were only available on a few streets. "I once fell on Jl. Pajajaran [in front of Wyata Guna]. There has been no meaningful change," said Diyono, who works as a masseuse.
Based on 2011 data from the Health Ministry, the total number of disabled persons stood at around 6.7 million people, or 3.11 percent of country's total population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Indonesia is home to more than 10 million disabled people.