From object of charity to subject of law
There are more than 172 thousands of persons with disabilities live in the Kyrgyz Republic today and their number, unfortunately, is continuing to grow. Despite the changes in the legislation in order to improve their rights, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to their participation in society as equal members.
This is the problem of physical access to infrastructure, buildings, public transport, information accessibility problems (lack of materials in Braille, sign language), as well as the problems associated with stereotypes, the lack of a single inclusive education programs and much more. These and other problems, success stories and achievements of people with disabilities were discussed during a conference dedicated to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which is celebrated on 3 December.
Give us a Convention
UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic Alexander Avanessov, in his speech urged the Government to ratify the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “It stipulates that people with disabilities have a right to non-discriminatory treatment and equality in access to justice, education, health, work, family life, cultural and sports activities, and participation in political and public life,” – said Alexander Avanessov.
The conference adopted a resolution, which was signed by more than 50 organizations and was handed to the representative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The resolution discusses the following: “Emphasizing the need for integrated, comprehensive and systematic measures at the state level, noting the increasing scale of disability in the population, calling to fight jointly against discrimination against PWDs, the particular vulnerability of women and children-PWDs, we call on the authorities to expedite the process of ratification of the Convention of Persons with Disabilities.”
“One-time gifts to the persons with disabilities will not solve our problems,” – said the Program Coordinator of NGO “ARDI” Seynep Dyikanbaeva, in her speech – “The best present for us is the Convention!”
Million efforts for a dignified life
Persons with disabilities have to make greater efforts in all spheres of life. Especially when you do not create the appropriate conditions necessary to openly deal with barriers to people, and even the whole society.
“In order to verify the implementation of the law on the rights and guarantees of persons with disabilities, I addressed 74 companies with a request to hire persons with disabilities. Most of the companies refused or didn’t respond. Only 4 companies agreed,” – said the MP of the Jogorku Kenesh Dastan Bekeshev.
Speakers of the conference also noted the achievements of people with disabilities in our country – “I often travel around the regions of our country, and I see how they create organizations, enterprises, jobs, engaged in private business, trying to get out with dignity in difficult circumstances,” – said Gulmira Kazakunova , the Head of “Equality” NGO – “Today, people with disabilities organize their own training courses for different professions, creating rehabilitation centers, inclusive classrooms in secondary schools.”
Breaking stereotypes – Changing concepts
Our society has developed such concepts that persons with disabilities need to be helped, because the conditions in which they live, make them the most vulnerable categories of society. To break the stereotypes it is necessary to create equal conditions, opportunities in which persons with disabilities could learn, work and develop on equal relation with all other members of society.
“According to UNESCO, a quarter of the world’s Nobel Prize winners are people with disabilities, including cerebral palsy,” – said well-known neurologist Nurmukhamed Babadjanov, during the conference – “We should understand that PWDs are not an object of charity but the subject of law. Only such understanding will deliver us from the “extra” members of society and contribute to the emergence of a large number of full-fledged citizens, benefiting for ourselves and for society as a whole.”
The conference was attended by the Minister of Labour and Social Development of the KR Taalaykul Isakunova, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Repubilc Alexander Avanessov, representatives of local self-governments, civil society organizations representing the interests of persons with disabilities from seven oblasts, international organizations, journalists and the media.
The event was organized at the initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of UNDP in the KR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland “Improving access to justice in the Kyrgyz Republic”, in partnership with civil society organizations representing the interests of PWDs.
Meri Bekeshova, UNDP project “Widening access to justice in the KR” Communication specialist?
Photo Credit: Nikita Cherepanov