Statement of the Public Defender on Day for Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities

On June 14, Day for Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities is marked in Georgia. The commemoration of the day is linked to adoption of the Law of Georgia “On social protection of persons with Disabilities” on June 14, 1995. Despite the fact that it is the first special normative act in the national legislation that was established for protection of persons with disabilities, its approaches are outdated and not in line with modern standards. Appropriate application of the law and realization of minimal standards guaranteed by it are also problematic.

Marking of Day for Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, first of all, should be aimed at promoting independence and ensuring equal opportunities, elimination of social isolation, establishment of inclusive society.

June 14 is being marked in Georgia for the second time after the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force, though essential changes towards improvement of legal rights of such persons have not been yet conducted. The biggest reason causing these problems is a slow process of implementation of the above convention. A significant challenge is posed also by the low level of public awareness, provision of accessible services and programmes oriented at needs and abilities of persons with disabilities, supporting their fully-fledged and effective participation in public life, and generally, issues of improvement of the level of life that need immediate addressing.

The Public Defender’s Office of Georgia, as the national mechanism for popularization, protection and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, believes it necessary for the state to understand importance and direct appropriate efforts towards realization of international obligations assumed under the convention. At the same time, the process of ratification of the optional protocol to the convention should be fast-tracked in order to create an additional mechanism for adequate realization of rights of these people.

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