On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reaffirms its strong commitment to protecting disability rights, encouraging leadership and participation of persons with disabilities and assisting Georgia to build an inclusive and equal society.
As Georgia strives to address the economic and social crisis brought on by the pandemic, re-open the economy and build forward better, International Day of Persons with Disabilities serves as a reminder that a more inclusive society will see a swifter post-COVID recovery. People with disabilities must be empowered to be fully represented at all levels of this process.
Ongoing harms of the pandemic are especially evident for people with disabilities as the disruptions in education, healthcare and social services have been amplified. People with disabilities still lack full access to information about COVID protection measures introduced by the Government to contain the spread of the virus and promote timely vaccination. In many cases, they also lack opportunities to be part of vital decisions and engage in concrete actions undertaken amid the pandemic.
UNDP urges decision-makers and society at large to address these challenges and ensure that people with disabilities are at the center of the pandemic response and recovery.
Georgia’s strong legal commitments and the encouraging transformation of public attitudes over the past ten years hold a promise that the country is on the right track to building an inclusive and equal society. However, substantial gaps in implementation mechanisms and the state and social practices still prevent people with disabilities from being fully engaged in society and having a voice and agency in economic, political, and social life.
UNDP urges the authorities and public agencies to include persons with disabilities and organizations of people with disabilities in all decisions that may affect the implementation of their rights and freedoms in full compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the spirit of its main message – “nothing about us without us.”
UNDP welcomes the establishment of the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee as a National Mechanism responsible for the CRPD implementation in Georgia.
This critical mechanism is expected to play a decisive role in promoting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring their participation in society.
UNDP reaffirms its support to the Committee in establishing a participatory and inclusive working process that will ensure the engagement and leadership of people with disabilities.
We look forward to a fruitful collaboration for inclusive and equal Georgia where no one is left behind.