Rights Situation of Persons with Disabilities
On June 13, 2016, the Public Defender of Georgia presented a chapter on the rights situation of persons with disabilities of the parliamentary report 2015 to the state agencies, international and non-governmental organizations.
The report emphasizes that in 2015 significant challenges in the realization of the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities were related to the limited opportunities of education and employment, availability, independent living, health and social care. According to the Public Defender, one of the main problems was proper implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention. Analysis of the situation shows that the body in charge of implementation of the Convention was practically not functioning and therefore, the implementation process was significantly delayed.
The report reviews the physical environment, availability of transport and infrastructure for people with disabilities. Particular attention is paid to significant shortcomings in legal regulations, namely to the inexistence of execution and supervision mechanism. Equal access to information was still problematic. In particular, the Public Broadcaster did not provide adapted movies, news, entertainment and other types of TV programs for people with disabilities.
Neglect of special needs of persons with disabilities in sports, cultural and entertainment activities, as well as the frequency of statements containing hate speech, stigma and abuse was an unfortunate practice in 2015. The Public Defender called on all parties, especially high public officials, to refrain from making statements containing stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities.
Social protection, adequate housing and employment of persons with disabilities were the most important challenges. The state has not developed any employment policy, relevant legal framework or programs for them, which prevents their independent living and inclusion in the society. The abovementioned is also proved by the fact that there are only 112 persons with disabilities among 53 109 people employed in the public sector.
Drawbacks were reported in the inclusive education as well. Important part of children with disabilities, especially in the regions, was not involved in the process. The quality and continuity of teaching were also challenges.
Full realization of the right to health remained a problem. Public health programs for persons with disabilities were functioning, though their special needs were not taken into account; provision with medicines was also a problem.
The Public Defender has prepared recommendations for relevant state departments for the elimination of the above-mentioned problems and effective implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities.