Upon ratification of the Convention, the country will have to adopt a number of laws to create a physical accessible environment in the buildings and structures, to introduce inclusive education, to create an accessible cultural, educational, informational and economic sphere. The Convention itself is a road map, a guideline we will need to follow to realize the rights and freedoms of the persons with disabilities.
Currently, there are about 180 thousand people with disabilities living in the Kyrgyz Republic, and their number is still growing. They currently face the barriers as the equal members participating in the society.
These are problems of infrastructure physical accessibility, buildings, public transport, problems of information accessibility, the lack of a unified program for inclusive education and much more.
Funds are annually allocated from the republican budget for the social benefits and provision of the social services to support the persons with disabilities. Social expenses has been steadily growing in recent years.
At the same time, the amounts of payments have not been revised for many years and remain at a very low level, for example, the monthly social benefit for disability ranges from KGS 1 thousand to KGS 3 thousand per month depending on the group of disability.
Civil society actively supports the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to take complex, comprehensive and systemic measures at the state level.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006. Currently, more than 160 states have ratified the Convention, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, and Azerbaijan. Kyrgyzstan signed the convention in 2011, however has not yet ratified it. Only Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have not yet ratified the Convention in the former Soviet Union.
The main feature of this document is that the Convention offers a social and human rights model of understanding disability, which:
- recognizes a person with disabilities as an equal member of the society;
- does not isolate, but stimulates him/her to personal fulfillment,
- the main focus is brought on meeting the needs of such persons, on eliminating discrimination, and on creating effective mechanisms for protecting and realizing their rights and freedoms, rather than on treatment.
There is a medical model existing and operating in our country, where disability is considered as a disease, pathology.
This approach is developed to treat the persons with disabilities as the persons who should be treated and helped, and who must stay at home or study in the specialized educational institutions and be treated separately.
The human disability itself is considered to be the main obstacle in this medical approach, meanwhile unadjusted environment is the main obstacle in the social and human rights approach.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that the Convention does not require instant changes in all spheres of life activities from the member-states, it only calls for taking actions and systematically integrating persons with disabilities into the society.
Its main idea is that the persons with disabilities have the full range of human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination. In this regard, the Convention contributes to the full participation of the persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, discrediting the traditions, stereotypes, prejudices, harmful practices and stigma affecting the persons with disabilities.
There is an opinion that a country cannot ratify the Convention, as there is no money in the budget for its implementation. Currently, the persons with disabilities are funded on a residual basis. Funds can be allocated if they are available, if funds are not available, the budget deficit is referred to.
Currently, we exclude a very large number of people from the opportunity to work, create and maintain their families, earn money and benefit society, to contribute to the development of the country.
Generally, the government greatly eases the burden of the state and society and will assist in establishing a healthy society by creating conditions for the persons with disabilities.
UNDP and MFA of Finland project on widening access to justice actively promotes the process of ratification the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2014.
Meri Bekeshova, Communication Specialist of the UNDP project