2019 becomes truly historic for Kyrgyzstan people. The government of the Republic ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which joined 8 years ago, in 2011.
The main feature of the Convention concluded in its suggestion of social and human rights model of understanding of disability. It recognizes the person with disabilities as an equal member of society, does not isolate him, and encourages to self-realization. The main focus is not on a treatment, but on a meeting of needs, elimination of discrimination and also on making of effective mechanisms for protection and realization of the rights and freedoms. In short, after the ratification of Convention the state commits to reviewing of relation to all spheres of disabled persons’ activity.
UNDP actively supported processes connected with ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Huge work was carried out to raise awareness of the society about rights and problems of persons with disabilities jointly with Parliament, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and with civil society.
According to Aliona Nikulita, Acting Resident Representative of the UNDP in the KR, the Convention ratified by the Kyrgyz Republic will be an important legal basis for the most comprehensive realization of human rights and the solution of social and economic issues: “A person with a disability will cease to be an object of charity; they become an equal member of society. We are glad all our work yields the positive results. I am sure both people with disabilities and society in general will benefit from implementation of the Convention”.
“Convention assumes the certain frame conditions referred to that nobody has to be excluded from our society and disabled people should be able to have opportunities to exercise the constitutional rights” – says Member of the KR Parliament Natalya Nikitenko
The Action Plan of implementation of the Convention in Kyrgyzstan was drawn up with technical support of the UNDP project on widening access to justice. Now the Government should adopt a number of secondary legislations in order to make the Convention work in practice.
“We need to make amendments to the laws on labor, education, culture, health care, sport, architecture and construction, and others” – says Dastan Bekeshev, Member of the KR Parliament, -“Laws and rehabilitation programs for elimination of discrimination of PwD should appear. Persons with disabilities as well as ordinary ones want to communicate, to take a bus and public transport, to play sports, to visit the museums and theaters. For this purpose, we need to make a range of amendments to the legislation and have to fight against some prejudices of society”.
Look around: in our streets, we meet persons with disabilities quite seldom. It does not mean that there are few of them. It occurs because our streets, settlements and cities are not adapted for their needs at all…
Present conditions in which live persons with disabilities completely turned them into preferential social group of the population who needs support. Therefore, the opinion that they need to be helped is deeply rooted in society.
“The Convention is ratified and now state and social policy will be directed to a changing of approach to disability-related issues, that is, from medical one prevailing as always, to social and legal approach”-notes Tolkunbek Isakov, Chairman of the Social Fund «Provision of Legal Aids for Persons with Disabilities»
From the medical viewpoint, a disability of the person considered as disease, pathology and the main barrier for full-fledged life of activity.
According to Ainura Alymbekova, manager of UNDP and MFA of Finland project "Towards sustainable access to justice for legal empowerment in the Kyrgyz Republic",
we must change our attitude and switch to a social-legal model, where we consider people with disabilities as full members of society who can also work, benefit the country's economy, pay taxes.
If previously state policy focused on payment of benefits, retirements and compensations of any privileges, forming of any closed institutions, then now it will be changed completely.
Should to know «accessible environment» is not only long-suffering ramps. The simplest example is the news. Ideally, every TV-channel has to have a sign language interpreter and subtitles. Or let’s take the bank sphere. Banks while releasing of cards still do not provide an opportunity to learn a PIN code for those who will not be able to read it in other confidential way. Improvements should allow using all necessary infrastructure independently and without assistance.
When Kyrgyzstan will start implementation of the ratified Convention step by step, persons with disabilities should not fight with barriers any more. They will become full members of society. They will be able to work, to raise and provide families, to bring benefit – in general will be able to do that things seems an ordinary and habitual for each of us.
Meri Bekeshova UNDP project specialist