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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2010): Community regeneration and development - overseas

Disability and democracy in Cambodia: an integrative approach to community building and civic engagement

D.C. Zook

Disability and Society, vol. 25, 2010, p. 149-161

Cambodia is going through an arduous process of democratic consolidation following the genocide under Pol Pot. One of the crucial elements of this process has been the mobilisation of citizens, as individuals and as members of various communities, into a coherent and articulate civil society capable of civic engagement. One of the common elements in the many variations of strategies of mobilisation in Cambodia is the idea of multi-stage community building. As a first stage of mobilisation to combat discrimination, persons with disabilities have formed themselves into communities such as the Deaf community, the Blind community, etc. These communities then engage in advocacy campaigns to claim rights for disabled people, thus deepening the roots of democracy in Cambodia. This article discusses the demographic composition of disability, the framework of political action that addresses disability issues and the practice of civic engagement and activism by disabled and non-disabled communities in Cambodia.

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