Recommendation on Ensuring Availability of Metro University for Persons with Disabilities
On October 28, 2015, the Public Defender addressed the Municipal Development Fund with a recommendation to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities and the principles of “universal design” are considered in the project of University metro station, so that all components of the station (underground and aboveground buildings, escalators, stairs, etc.) are accessible for persons with disabilities.
Construction of the University metro station resumed on 28 July 2015, though the project does not provide for accessibility of the facility for persons with disabilities, which is mainly motivated by the fact that some of the tunnels have already been constructed according to soviet norms and it is problematic to change their geometric parameters.
Persons with disabilities are not able to enjoy, on an equal basis with others, one of the most financially affordable means of transport - the subway, and thus they are discriminated. The state does not care about complex solution of the issue, i.e. to adapt the infrastructure of metro stations for people with disabilities. Moreover, the Government does not plan to consider the needs of persons with disabilities in the construction of a new metro station, which is violation of their rights. In addition, adaptation of the infrastructure of the metro station in the future will require additional finances.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities obliges the state to provide availability of any, especially new/refurbished, buildings, transport and communication for people with disabilities through intensive use of the principles of “universal design”. The Public Defender considers that by neglecting its obligation, the state violates one of the provisions of the international agreement and disregards basic human rights, which cannot be justified by referring to any technical and/or financial problems.