On May 22, a round table on the rights of people with disabilities was held at the Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT). Representatives of nongovernmental organizations spoke about the significance of state institutions’ involvement in the resolution of problems of people with disabilities.
Ana Abashidze of the Partnership for Human Rights reminded state institutions and local self-governmental bodies of their responsibilities. “The purpose of today’s meeting was to again remind them how important it is to enable people with disabilities realize their rights and basic freedoms, which are guaranteed under the UN Convention. Unfortunately, representatives of state institutions have not come to the meeting, thus demonstrating their negligence towards the issue. Interesting ideas were presented during the discussion. For example, how to make court more accessible for people with disabilities, and investigation/judiciary process more sensitive. We also spoke about unadapted environment and degrading treatment of people.”
Giorgi Alavidze of the Accessible Environment for Everybody underlined the significance of ratifying the UN Convention on the People with Disabilities. “Short time ago, Georgia ratified the UN Convention and now I see the first problem in this direction – accessibility guaranteed under Article 9 of the Convention that should be necessarily ensured by the state. State shall oblige the private sector to adapt the premises to the needs of people with disabilities; more than 90% of buildings are owned by private companies.t Further issues are employment and medical service. State shall conduct monitoring sessions in order to identify the priorities neededfor the integration of people with disabilities into the society.”
Lawyer Nika Legashvili of Article 42 of the Constitution, argues that the State is obliged to offer a comfortable environment to people with disabilities. “We tried to remind the self-governmental bodies of their obligation to adapt public transport and buildings. Local authorities bear responsibilities under the law to resolve this problem. Due to the urgency of the issue we petitioned the Tbilisi City Hall several times. Based on their replies, we learned that no activities have been planned to fix the problems. . Naturally, procedures for the resolution of problems for people with disabilities require huge financial and human resources. Though, the government can at least adapt part of the services every year.”
Representatives of NGOs hope they will actively cooperate with state institutions on the issue and at least they have the chance to start dialogue with them.