Public Defender’s Statement on the Day of Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is observed in Georgia on June 14.

The Public Defender annually speaks about the rights of these persons, which has remained a challenge in Georgia for years. Among the challenges is the establishment of an institutional mechanism responsible for implementing and coordinating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Despite the recommendations developed through the involvement of an international expert, the mechanism has not yet been established. The process of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention is also delayed.

Among the problems are realization of the right of persons with disabilities to health and social protection, provision of adequate rehabilitation/habilitation services for children and adults with disabilities, realization of reproductive and sexual health rights for women/girls with disabilities.

An important challenge is access the physical environment. It is problematic for persons with disabilities to enjoy public facilities, educational institutions, municipal transport or road infrastructure throughout the country.

More efforts are needed to ensure full involvement of children with disabilities in the educational process, to ensure opportunities for getting quality education in a safe and secure environment, as well as continuity of education.

Protection and implementation of the right of persons with disabilities to work is still problematic.

Participation of women with disabilities in the political and public life of the country is low. They are less involved in the decision-making process.

It is important to raise public awareness regarding the rights of persons with disabilities and change wrong attitudes towards these persons.

The grounds for criticism are also the issues related to the rights of persons with disabilities according to the Government’s Human Rights Action Plan (2018-2020), including the absence of financial support for the measures envisaged by this document, which raises questions about its effective implementation.

The Public Defender once more urges the authorities to timely and effectively resolve the existing problems in order to ensure adequate protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and their involvement and equal participation in the public life.

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