Public Defender’s Statement on Neglect of Needs of People with Disabilities at Tbilisi 2015 Opening Ceremony

According to media reports, organizers of the European Olympic Youth Festival Tbilisi 2015 did not take into account the needs of people with disabilities who wished to attend the opening ceremony on 26 July 2015.Those using wheelchairs encountered problems in free entry, movement and attendance at the event held at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium.

Neglecting the special needs of persons with disabilities during sport, cultural and entertainment events is unfortunate practice in Georgia. Non-adapted environment and conditions often become grounds for discrimination of the above-mentioned people.

The Public Defender established a fact of person’s direct discrimination on disability grounds during one of such incidents that took place at Paata Burchuladze’s jubilee event at the Sports Palace on February 12, 2015. Last week the Public Defender addressed an organizer of the event with a recommendation to draw up an internal document (statute/rules/principles), which will provide for principles promoting worthy participation of people with disabilities in a variety of activities.

The Public Defender of Georgia once again calls on all public and private institutions to take into account the requirements of the Georgian legislation and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - ensure physical environment for independent living and full participation of people with disabilities in all areas, as well as equal access to public services and facilities, without discrimination.

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