Roundtable zooms into the rights of persons with disabilities
Tashkent hosted a workshop that discussed the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its practical implementation in Uzbekistan. The seminar was attended by representatives of the Senate and Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, ministries and departments, the National Centre for Human Rights of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Women's Committee of Uzbekistan, the Association of NGOs of the Disabled, the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor's Office.
Participants of the seminar raised concerns on that fact that persons with disabilities, who make up about 15% of the world's population, are still considered to be "objects" of social, charitable and medical assistance, and do not enjoy the rights and privileges as the majority of the world's population. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in order to ensure the protection of their rights and freedoms. Since its adoption in 2006, the Convention has become the most quickly ratified human rights instrument, and to date it has been ratified and acceded by 177 countries. Uzbekistan is among the countries where the ratification of the document is still pending.
Addressing the seminar participants, the UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan Sascha Graumann noted: “It is time to address the attitudinal, cultural and environmental barriers which exclude, discriminate and prevent people with disabilities from full and meaningful participation in public development”.He also stressed that the ratification of the Convention in Uzbekistan will help achieve the goals of sustainable development, which are based on the global task of leaving no one behind the development process.
The seminar-training was facilitated by the expert of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Xenia Siminciuc from Moldova who shared her experience in the implementation of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held a presentation on approaches to disability, a short review of the Convention, and also answered participants' questions. She stressed that existing medical and charitable approaches infringe rights and impair the dignity of persons with disabilities, and only a solid human rights based approach is the most appropriate method for providing opportunities for their full-fledged integration into the life in society.
The seminar was held in an interactive format: presentations and reports, case studies and examples of participants were actively commented on and became subjects of lively discussions. The seminar participants called on various government agencies and civil society to unite efforts to eliminate numerous barriers to people with disabilities as well as joining hands in pushing for the timely ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Uzbekistan.