Conference on International Day of Persons with Disabilities
On 3 December 2019, a conference dedicated to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the fifth anniversary of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Georgia was held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. The event was attended by representatives of state agencies, international organizations and civil society representatives working on the rights of persons with disabilities.
In her welcome speech, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria highlighted the priority issues that underlie the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. According to her, even though 5 years have passed since the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities took effect in Georgia, the rights situation of persons with disabilities has not improved significantly. The main reason for this is the absence of a mechanism responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Convention. No systemic changes have been carried out to harmonize the national legislation with the requirements of the international treaty. Inclusive education remains a challenge. The rate of employment of persons with disabilities is extremely low; access to health services, vicious practice of degrading environments in mental health institutions, non-effectiveness and inefficiency of habilitation/rehabilitation programmes for children and adults with disabilities remain problematic; the process of introducing a social model for granting the disability status is delayed.
The Public Defender of Georgia called on the authorities to take necessary steps as soon as possible to designate an agency responsible for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the highest level of executive government, which, at the same time, should be provided with adequate mandate, human and other resources, in accordance with the requirements of the Convention.
Several thematic sessions were held within the framework of the conference. Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze led the panel, the theme of which was the coordination mechanism under the Convention, health and social policies for persons with disabilities and inclusive education, as well as the importance and status of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked on December 3 every year and is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in all spheres.