Photo Credit: UNICEF Bhutan

Political parties pledge support for Persons with Disabilities

All of the five parties present distinct visions for the future. A common thread runs through their respective manifestos, a deep commitment to supporting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT)

DTT’s manifesto reflects a holistic approach to addressing the needs of PWDs. The party recognizes the diverse challenges faced by the group encompassing the mentally challenged, physically challenged, and those who are legally challenged. Their commitment is underpinned by two key initiatives: establishing three Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools and one Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) SEN institute.

Furthermore, DTT aims to ensure the quality of life for people living with disabilities and chronic diseases by establishing a Rehabilitation Centre for Mental Health and Disabilities. This approach acknowledges the importance of not only education, but also physical and mental well-being.

DTT also proposes special employment schemes for both PWDs and the LGBTQ+ community, underlining its commitment to inclusivity and diversity in the workforce.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT)

DNT’s manifesto places a strong emphasis on disability prevention and management. The party is committed to tackling the root causes of disabilities and providing essential rehabilitation services to PWDs. Their focus on prevention acknowledges the importance of addressing underlying factors contributing to disabilities.

Moreover, DNT introduces the concept of micro-insurance, designed for low-income individuals. This innovative approach offers protection against risks such as illness, disability, and death. In addition to micro-insurance, DNT advocates for social insurance, a system that provides benefits to members in cases of unemployment, sickness, disability, or retirement, ensuring a comprehensive safety net for PWDs.

DNT’s pledge to dedicate lines and procedures for senior citizens, monks, retired armed force personnel, and people with special needs demonstrates a pledge to provide equitable access to services.

Regarding children with disabilities, DNT prioritizes their education and skill development, advocating for improvements in special needs schools, dedicated teacher training programs, and support for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working with children with special needs.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

PDP envisions an inclusive society that not only recognizes but also actively advocates for the rights and requirements of people with special needs. Their policy and support measures reflect this commitment.

PDP’s commitment to actively implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) aligns with international standards for the rights and well-being of PWDs.

The party places significant importance on creating a disabled-friendly infrastructure, strengthening health check-up services to detect and prevent potential disabilities in infants, and providing employment and business support to PWDs. The introduction of special loan schemes and skills training demonstrates PDP’s dedication to empowering PWDs economically.

PDP also aims to increase the number of schools for special needs children to ensure uninterrupted access to education.

Notably, PDP supports parents of PWDs by pledging the introduction of flexible working hours, supporting the employment of domestic helpers, and providing specialized training to care for children with disabilities, acknowledging the holistic support system required by PWDs and their families.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP)

BTP’s manifesto focuses on holistic support for PWDs and the elderly, highlighting their commitment to optimizing the quality of life and reducing suffering among these vulnerable groups.

BTP introduces palliative care for individuals with terminal illnesses, movement difficulties, and the elderly. The convenience of contacting the home health care unit showcases BTP’s dedication to ensuring quality care reaches those in need.

In a forward-looking move, BTP adopts a Social Security Policy that includes the provision of allowances for the elderly, differently-abled individuals, and other vulnerable groups based on need. The introduction of universal basic income for non-pensioner senior citizens and differently-abled citizens is a bold initiative that seeks to provide financial security and support.

Moreover, BTP pledges priority support to SEN schools and the introduction of differently-abled people-friendly public infrastructure, recognizing the importance of physical accessibility.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)

DPT’s approach to supporting PWDs revolves around empowering CSOs, recognizing their vital role in promoting good governance and social justice.

DPT’s manifesto underscores the need for effective government-CSO collaboration, ensuring operational freedom for CSOs. Their commitment to working with CSOs to develop policies and programs that address critical societal issues such as poverty, education, health, and the environment emphasizes the importance of these organizations.

Bhutan’s political parties, in their journey for leadership, share a common vision of inclusivity and support for persons with disabilities. While their approaches may vary, the underlying commitment to enhancing the lives of PWDs and creating a more equitable society is a unifying theme.

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