Public Defender’s Statement on National Accessibility Standard
The Public Defender of Georgia welcomes the adoption of Technical Regulations for National Accessibility Standards by the Government of Georgia on December 4, 2020. It is important that the document is based on universal design principles and defines technical criteria of accessibility of buildings, land and other elements. In addition, the needs of persons with various disabilities are taken into account.
The Public Defender has consistently emphasized the importance of ensuring accessibility, including the need for amending legislation, which has contributed to the changes and active steps in this direction. In particular, a special report on “Gaps in Accessiblity to the Physical Environment for Persons with Disabilities” was draw up in 2018 and relevant recommendations were reflected in the annual parliamentary reports of the Public Defender of Georgia. It should be noted that representatives of the Public Defender were actively involved in the process of drafting the document, in coordination with all relevant agencies, and written opinions have been repeatedly submitted.
Notwithstanding the positive changes, the Public Defender considers it necessary to continue continuous efforts to ensure accessibility, inter alia:
- To conduct an information campaign on the legislative changes implemented and the regulations and obligations laid down in technical regulations prior to March 1, 2021, when the National Accessibility Standards shall take effect, so that to properly inform the public and responsible entities;
- To train the staff of relevant architectural and supervisory services as soon as possible;
- Develop a national accessibility plan in a timely manner, with maximum involvement of persons with disabilities and organizations working on the rights of persons with disabilities. Inter alia, the plan should set reasonable deadlines for the fulfillment of obligations.
The Public Defender continues to monitor issues related to accessibility, as well as the oversight of the introduction and practical implementation of the national accessibility standard.