Persons with disabilities demand accessible public infrastructure in Georgia

Built Environment, Europe, News, June 27 2017

Persons with disabilities held a protest rally on Saturday asking for proper infrastructure in the streets and in public transport, as well as for more involvement in social processes and decision-making.

wheelchair userThe protesters gathered at Rustaveli Metro station and marched in the direction of the old Parliament building.

The demonstrators claim that their rights are violated and ask for proper fulfillment of the United Nations (UN) convention, ratified by the Georgian parliament in 2013.

“We are protesting the violation of our rights…We are the most invisible community at present,” protester Giorgi Akhmeteli stated.

The protesters also say that the life of disabled people is even harder in villages and remote regions.

The movement of students – Auditorium 115 – also joined the rally.

“It is necessary to allocate funds in order to let the disabled move freely in the streets, get education and find work,” said Levan Lortkipanidze, Auditorium 115 member.

Improper living conditions of the disabled were raised by the Public Defender of Georgia, Ucha Nanuashvili, last week.

During the presentation of his special Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Nanuashvili said that independent living for the disabled is not promoted in Georgia.

“We do not have an effective mechanism of implementation of the UN Convention. Georgia joined this convention but it is not being executed,” he said.

He also spoke about systemic problems that significantly hamper the inclusion of the disabled in society.

“The main problem is that these people are isolated from society. There are problems in terms of infrastructure, transport and access to the physical environment and information,” the Ombudsman said.

Furthermore, Nanuashvili’s report says that participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the decision-making process at various levels of government was low. Some barriers were also observed during the voting process.

He negatively assessed the measures taken by the State in terms of employment of persons with disabilities, adding that in 2016 the number of disabled people employed in the public sector was 52 while in private sector only 32 disabled people were employed.

The Ombudsman called on the government to take proper measures in order to solve the problem.

Source: Georgia Today

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