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Senator Monthian Buntan, champion of disability rights, passes away at 58

Senator Monthian Buntan delivers a statement at the panel discussion, Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
Photo: United Nations ESCAP/Flickr

Senator Monthian Buntan, a prominent figure in the realm of disability rights advocacy, has passed away at the age of 58. His steadfast dedication to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities leaves behind a profound legacy.

His pioneering work not only made him as the first Thai with a disability to serve on the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) but also established him as a beacon of hope and a driver of positive change within the ASEAN region.

Born into a farming family in the northern province of Phrae, Monthian’s journey from a School for the Blind to international advocacy stages exemplifies his determination.

Following his educational pursuits in Thailand and the United States, he assumed roles as a lecturer and contributed to the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) project. His leadership as chairman of the Thailand Association of the Blind since 1998, coupled with his tenure as a senator, prominently demonstrated his commitment to advancing the cause of disability rights.

Monthian’s contributions have had a profound impact on international disability rights policies. Serving on the UN CRPD Committee from 2013 to 2016, he played a pivotal role in shaping global perspectives on disability rights. His relentless efforts garnered recognition through numerous awards, underscoring his influence and unwavering dedication to fostering a more inclusive world.

Senator Monthian’s passing is deeply mourned by many, from those he directly worked to the wider disability community. Nonetheless, his enduring legacy serves as a beacon, inspiring continued action and fostering hope for a future marked by progress and inclusivity.

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