Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities presented in Kyiv
On 3 May the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were officially presented in Kyiv. The Convention was adopted on 13 December 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007.
As Valery Sushkevych, Deputy Chair of the parliamentary committee on pensioners, veterans and the disabled and Head of the Ukrainian National Assembly of People with Disabilities explained, the Convention adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and is aimed at protecting the rights of people with different forms of physical limitations. There are almost 650 million people with disabilities and their rights have up till now not been stipulated in any single international legal document.
He added that the Convention contains 50 articles aimed at ensuring the right to work, healthcare, access to justice, personal security, freedom of movement, full participation in social life, etc.
Of the 81 countries which have thus far signed the Convention, the only post-Soviet republics are Armenia, Lithuania and Moldova.
With regard to Ukraines moves in this direction, Mr Sushkevych was doubtful as to whether Ukraine would soon be able to join the Convention. “I predict a difficult task ahead in signing the Convention.” He added that the main problem was that Ukrainian legislation with regard to disabled people is “consistently not applied” and protection of such rights is “inconsistent and unsystematic”. In connection with this he stated that he had addressed a call to the President to support recognition and ratification of the Convention, bearing in mind also the fact that the Council of Europe and the European Parliament have declared 2007 “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All”.