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Georgia Marks Day of Persons with Disabilities

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, June 15
On June 14 Georgia marks the Day of Persons with Disabilities. The Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria stated that the rights of these persons remain a challenge for Georgia.

“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,” the Ombudsman stated, adding that despite the recommendations developed through the involvement of an international expert, the mechanism has not yet been established.

The main problems of persons with disabilities according to Lomjaria are realization of the rights 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 their access to physical environment. It is problematic for persons with disabilities to enjoy public facilities, educational institutions, municipal transport or road infrastructure throughout the country,” she said.

The Public defender believes that 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.

“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,” she added.

The Public Defender urged the authorities to timely and effectively resolve 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.

Moreover, several NGOs working on human right protection have issued a joint statement, calling for implementation of a subprogram for rehabilitation of adult disabled persons.

“We call on the state to plan and implement an effective policy that will replace the extreme isolation and exclusion of people belonging to this group with real possibility of independent life and proper integration into the society,” the NGOs say.

Although the Parliament of Georgia has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013 (CRPD), the NGOs say that nothing has changed substantially in the last 4 years in terms of improving the rights of persons with disabilities living in Georgia.

The organizations claim that among the necessary and vital steps to be taken under the Convention, which the State has not taken yet, it is necessary to set up the body responsible for assessing needs of people with disabilities.