Welcome to the 2nd World Congress of the CBR Global Network (CGN) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2016.

A call from the disability sector has been for high level leadership across countries to ensure a coordinated and collective approach.

I am proud to announce that Malaysia is committed to elevate the status of PWDs through various efforts, one of which is the hosting of this timely and vital World Congress of the CBR Global Network with the theme “CBR: Empowering and Enabling

This congress will help us foster a dynamic and innovative disability sector that is responsive to the needs of people with a disability — a vision for which we all share responsibility.

It is widely reported that PWD are excluded from education, health, and employment and other aspects of society and that this can potentially lead to or exacerbate poverty (WHO 2011). This exclusion is contrary to the essence of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is an international human rights instrument of the UN intended to protect the rights and dignities of PWD (UN 2008). This Convention calls upon all countries to respect and ensure the equal rights and participation of all PWD to education, health care, employment and inclusion in all aspects of society.

Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) can be used as a means to restore human dignity to PWDs. CBR need to be implemented from a pragmatic point of view and the CRPD is what policy makers must do from a legal and normative point of view.

Working together; placing value on relationships and adopting a focus on sustainable, positive outcomes are the way to go forward. We embrace the possibilities that are in abundance to form a society which values everyone and a society which encourages and enhances full participation in the richness of life.

Now, once again, an excellent opportunity for all of us to get together to share and deliberate on good practices of CBR in realising the UNCRPD is created at this congress. There is a plethora of resources in this congress that provides governments and civil society with a comprehensive overview of approaches towards inclusion supported by examples of good practices from around the world.

Once again, on behalf of the Malaysian Government, I would like to welcome you to participate and be part of the guiding force of empowering and enabling persons with disabilities. It is an opportune time to put forward views and policy recommendations to the relevant authorities in our countries, media and the international community at large so that positive change is achieved at the global and local levels.

Let me end with this powerful quote:

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Nelson Mandela