Public discussion on the process of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the Republic of Uzbekistan
4 December 2019, Tashkent. Today, the Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan and the National Human Rights Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan in partnership with the Regional Office for Central Asia, Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, hold a Public discussion on the process of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as raising public awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities, as enshrined in the Convention, and the significance of this international document for the further promotion and protection of human rights and sustainable development in Uzbekistan.
This event is part of the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which since 1992, has been annually observed on 3 December around the world to promote the rights of people with disabilities in all areas of public life, as well as to draw the attention of the public to the problems of people with disabilities. Both, governance - deputies of the Oliy Majlis, representatives of the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor's Office, the Cabinet of Ministers and individual ministries and departments, the Khokimiyat of Tashkent, and representatives of various civic associations of persons with disabilities were invited to participate in public hearings. Professor Marcus Schefer, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, was a special guest at this event.
“Despite the progress made in expanding access to employment, political participation and the individual mobility of people with disabilities, - said Ms. Helena Fraser, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, - additional measures need to be taken to improve both the legal framework and the eradication of actual barriers in the exercise of their rights by persons with disabilities ... Access to justice remains a challenge.”
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 December 2006, entered into force on 3 May 2008. Uzbekistan has signed the Convention already on 27 February 2009, thereby confirming its agreement with the main goals and principles laid down in this international document. However, in order for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to become mandatory for the Republic of Uzbekistan, it is necessary to complete the process of its ratification.
“The Organization for Security of Co-operation in Europe brings together 57 participating States, including the Republic of Uzbekistan. The OSCE State-parties agreed on protection the human rights of persons with disabilities and taking measures to ensure that such people have equal opportunities to participate fully in society in 1991. Undoubtedly, the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be an important step towards the fulfillment by the Republic of Uzbekistan of these commitments it has undertaken within the OSCE,” said Ambassador John McGregor, OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, in his speech.
Considering the global theme of the International Day of Persons with disabilities in 2019 - "Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda", today's discussion focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development, as provided in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which obliges “not to leave anyone behind” and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issue in its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and, in particular, reflected in those goals and objectives related to education, growth and employment, the elimination of inequality, accessibility of settlements, as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was based on international human rights standards and commitments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Thus, the ratification of the Convention will dramatically improve the system of support of persons with disabilities and strengthen the guarantees for the protection of their rights and freedoms, which in turn will help to achieve greater progress in achieving Uzbekistan's Sustainable Development Goals. The preparation for ratification of the Convention by the Republic of Uzbekistan was provided by the "Program of comprehensive measures to further improve the system of support for persons with disabilities and to strengthen guarantees for the protection of their rights and freedoms" approved by Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated December 1, 2017 No. UP-5270.
In accordance with Art. 7 of the Law "On Public Control", following a public hearing of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan will prepare a final document that will contain recommendations and suggestions to accelerate the process of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This document will be sent to the deputies of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Administration of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Office of Ombudsman of Uzbekistan and the National Human Rights Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as published in the media.
According to official statistics, over 780 thousand people with disabilities live in Uzbekistan. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world's population are people with disabilities. In many countries, persons with disabilities face discrimination, are isolated, their potential is ignored, and their abilities are underestimated. They face many challenges, such as the lack of access to social infrastructure, services and information; difficulties and discrimination in employment; restriction of access to education and socio-cultural and sports needs; stereotypes and stigmatization; isolation of persons with disabilities, institutionalization; lack of comprehensive statistics and data covering all spheres of life of persons with disabilities; limited participation in decision making, development of laws, programs and policies, etc.
To date, 180 out of 193 UN member states have ratified this international treaty, including the CIS countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Turkmenistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation.