war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

18. Rights of People with Disabilities



    General information

    In Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Social Policy, as of January 1, 2013 the number of persons with disabilities was 2,788,226, or 6.1% of the total population, compared with 5.3% in 2006. Hence, the number of people with disabilities as of January 1, 2013 was 293.000 higher compared with the number of people with disabilities on the same date 2006 (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Dynamics of the total number of people with disabilities in Ukraine at the beginning of 2006–2013, in ths (according to the Ministry of Social Policy)[2]

    However, it should be noted that these figures do not reflect the real situation. The discrepancy of statistics is caused by the absence of continuous monitoring and imperfect data collection on the part of public authorities, as well as the reluctance of most people to get the status of “disability” because the bureaucratic system design and operation of medical evaluation boards. A number of medical diagnoses do not give the right to the status of disability: cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and so on[3]. The level of state protection of persons with disabilities is a reflection of the level of development of the society as a whole. It is the duty of the state to create conditions in society to ensure easy living environment for people with disabilities and other people with limited mobility.

    The World report on disability among the main barriers that prevent disabled persons from feeling as other people enumerates as follows: inadequate measures, policies and standards, negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, lack of services and problems with their provision, insufficient funding; lack of unhindered environment; inadequate information and communication; lack of consultation and inclusion in social life; lack of experience and data.

    For the purpose of recognition of equal rights of people with disabilities to full-fledged life in society, Ukraine, in December 2009, ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[4] (hereinafter CRPD). In particular, Ukraine committed itself to respect human rights of this group of citizens. According to Article 9 of the CRPD, the states should take appropriate measures to create unhampered access to the physical environment, transportation, information and communication, as the participation of people with disabilities in social and meaningful processes is impossible without adequate access to necessary social facilities.

    The main normative regulations that are intended to provide people with disabilities the right to a full-fledged life and create for people with limited mobility the barrier-free environment include the Law of Ukraine of 05.11.2009 no. 1704 -VI “On building specifications”, Law of Ukraine of 17.02.2011 no. 3038 -VI “On regulation of urban planning”, Law of Ukraine of 20.05.1999 no. 687 -XIV “On architectural activity”, Law of Ukraine of 21.03.1991 no. 875 -XII “On basic principles of social protection of the disabled of Ukraine” SBN V.2.2- 17 : 2006 “Buildings and constructions. Accessibility of buildings and facilities for people with limited mobility”. Also, on July 29, 2009 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine passed a Regulation no. 784 on action plan “Ukraine without Barriers” for creating unimpeded living environment for people with disabilities and other people with limited mobility for 2009-2015 and the Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers Ukraine from 01.08.2012 no. 706 approved the State special-purpose program “National action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” for the period up to 2020.

    In addition, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered the bill no. 3351 “On technical regulation of houses, buildings, structures, linear units of engineering and transport infrastructure and building products”. Under the provisions of the bill, the buildings and structures as a whole or parts of them should be suitable for its intended use as required by applicable state building norms and regulations regarding safety of human life over the service life of buildings. Moreover, the buildings and structures should be designed and built taking into account their accessibility and use by persons with disabilities.

In addition to specific legislation, the rights of persons with disabilities are also dealt with in other laws, including the Civil Code of Ukraine, Laws of Ukraine “On the Election of the President of Ukraine”, “On appeals by citizens” and so on.

    However, the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (hereinafter - the Convention), which upon ratification became part of the national legislation of Ukraine, is the most universal legal act in the field of human rights and disability in legislation of Ukraine.   

    The problem of architectural accessibility

    In order to fully provide an independent way of life for people with disabilities, the government should create a barrier-free environment. Today, the architectural environment is not easily accessible, and in some cities of Ukraine completely inaccessible to people with disabilities, especially in the settlements with old housing stock and rural areas.

    In this context it is important to note that the current legislation of Ukraine contains provisions on the need to ensure adaptation to the needs of persons with disabilities of information, buildings, roads, transportation and other objects of the physical environment.

    It should be noted that in Ukraine there are no effective means of monitoring compliance with the laws relating to the creation of unhindered living environment for people with disabilities on the stage of design[5].

    Simplification of obtaining permits for construction of structures of I-III category of complexity (which makes 98 % of the total construction of public buildings in the country) makes it impossible to monitor their construction and reconstruction. From designers and developers are not required to conduct examination and completion of project development.

    According to the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Social Protection of the Disabled in Ukraine” planning and development of settlements, forming neighborhoods, designing, construction and reconstruction of the physical environment without adaptation for the use by the disabled are not allowed. Persons found guilty of violating the provisions of this Law bear prescribed by law financial, disciplinary, administrative or criminal responsibility (article 42).

    Unfortunately, in Ukraine there are no laws that would regulate the implementation of NGO’s control with participation of people with disabilities of all stages of creating barrier-free environment enumerated above.

    The building specifications have solved at long last the problem of normative regulation of urban development projects allowing for the needs of persons with disability; however, the acute problem of adapting existing building stock is still there. The experience of recent years shows the facts of violations of the requirements of existing regulations during the reconstruction and re-equipment of existing projects, making irrational decisions related to the lack of practice of providing necessary conditions for people with disabilities or reluctance of some investors to tackle these problems, disregard of local authorities, and, sometimes, too formal approach. One of the reasons for hampering the creation of barrier-free environment is the absence of tolerance in the majority of the society towards people with disabilities, awareness of their problems and wants and the need to adopt appropriate measures[6].

According to NGOs, in the presence of legal and normative acts on the accessibility one of the causes of the real inaccessibility is the lack of effective monitoring of compliance with these regulations and lack of understanding by the officials of social and economic benefits of implementation of the principles of accessibility and universal design.

Moreover, in addressing issues of physical accessibility due attention is not paid to the safety of persons with disabilities in the provision of emergency evacuation.

In addition, NGOs have noted that the state does not take appropriate measures to influence private business concerning the creation of an accessible environment for people with disabilities. The banks, shops, hotels, movie theaters, sports facilities and canteens for the most part remain physically inaccessible[7].   

As for the judicial protection of the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure accessibility, it should be noted that in Ukraine there are only a few positive judicial results in these matters. However, some positive examples still occur. One such example is the case of Dmytro Zhary. So, on December 11, 2012 the Dnipropetrovsk Court of Appeal ruled an unprecedented decision for our country on the claim of Dmytro Zhary (citizen who moves on wheelchair) versus pharmacies that were not equipped with ramps and ordered the State Service of Pharmaceuticals to condition the issuance of licenses for pharmacies on their ensuring the rights of people with disabilities to live in the accessible physical environment. Dmytro Zhary went to court and obtained a ruling that can stop the shameful practice of building unusable ramps.

We may conclude that, despite the adoption in recent years by the central and local authorities of a number of measures aimed at ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities to residential and public premises, the environment and all types of public transport remain inaccessible for people with disabilities. There are still obstacles and barriers both inside and outside places of public accommodation. The sidewalks, curbs, pedestrian crossings, traffic stops, etc. are not suited for the free movement of people with disabilities. The elevators and intercoms in buildings are not equipped with a video or other devices for a deaf person to send a text message while communicating with a visitor or dispatcher.   

    The problem of accessibility of the courts

    The Ukrainian courts are virtually inaccessible to people with limited mobility; such was the conclusion of the coordinators of the All-Ukrainian campaign “Justice without Barriers”, who published the results of monitoring of 72 courts in 16 Ukrainian oblasts[8]. Besides physical barriers, there are many meaningless rules and restrictions that make it difficult for the citizens to realize their right to a fair trial.

    Over 50 % of our fellow citizens experience movement complications. In other words, the issue of accessibility (architectural, information) relates to every other citizen of Ukraine. And there are no families which at least once in their life have not faced barriers in their path.

    The court must be accessible. This is not a cafe or a shop that one can always chose for her/his liking and purse.

    So during the monitoring visits the obvious criteria for accessibility were checked: unobstructed entrance to the courthouse, free movement in the courthouse, simplicity of checkpoint system, free access of visitors to the WC unit and so on.

    In particular, the results of monitoring 72 courts were as follows:

    in 19 courts there are no available items of information about the object;

    only 29 courts are equipped with ramps, but only 12 of them meet state building norms (SBN);

    46 courts are equipped with frame metal detectors and turnstiles;

    69 courthouses are not one-story structures, 65 of them have neither elevators nor moving platforms;

    a frequent occurrence in Ukrainian courts: too narrow doors, in 46 courts the doorway thresholds are above the standard height;

    too narrow hallways, often - with rapids and drops;

    the court clerical offices are inaccessible;

    60 WC units are not marked and very often the access of visitors to these units is limited.

    According to the co-coordinator of the campaign “Justice without BBarriers”, coordinator of the projects of the Human Rights Center “Postup” Yuliya Krasilnikova, “from the outset of our campaign we expected to obtain such results. However, the monitoring of the accessibility of Ukrainian court produced not only quantitative results. Informing about the progress of our campaign, we have drawn attention to it of the media, the public, and, of course, personnel of courts and court administrations. We hope that the information pressure will affect those responsible for the organization of unimpeded access to the courts which will help to improve the situation”.

    During the campaign “Justice without Barriers” other interesting facts came into view as well. Any photography is forbidden in most rooms of the court (but legally it is not regulated by any document).

    Almost one-third of the establishments visited (23) has its own rules for admission of public to courtrooms. In particular, some courts prohibit jeanswear, with “the exposed parts of the body and without footwear”, “slippers”, “very dirty clothes”, clothes that do not befit the place, circus clothes, and theater or fancy dresses.

    “The Constitution of Ukraine grants every person the right to apply to court to protect her/his constitutional rights and freedoms. However, it appears the courts decide on their own who is worthy to contact them… There are a number of limitations that may cause non-admission to the court. For example, one of Simferopol courts prohibits admission of people with carts and bicycles. Moreover, there are no formal exceptions for people who move in wheelchairs or for persons with prams.

    “Accessibility is an instrument intended to implement the rights of citizens of Ukraine. If people are unable to get to the courthouse, it restricts their right to judicial protection and creates discrimination,” said Mykhailo Tarakhkalo, Director of Strategic Affairs of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU).   

    The problem of availability of transport and street infrastructure

    Guaranteeing of accessibility not only of the environment but also of all forms of transport and transport infrastructure is an important condition for full integration of people with disabilities in social life.

    In order to create appropriate conditions for the access of people with disabilities to the transport facilities, tourist infrastructure and postal services, which are subordinated to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the program for 2012 - 2016 has been developed, which identifies 296 measures realized by enterprises for their own account. 159 measures worth over ₴9M have been realized by now.

    During construction of new, reconstruction and capital repair of existing facilities and road transport infrastructure, postal services the executors take into account the new requirements of building norms and standards intended to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, in particular SBN B.2.2 -17:2006 “Accessibility of buildings and facilities for people with limited mobility”, DBS-NB.2.2-31:2011 “Guidelines on construction of buildings and civil engineering elements of accessibility for persons with impaired vision and hearing”, DBS B.2.3-1-2008 “Transport facilities. Design, construction and operation of buildings and offices and industrial buildings of high-speed and super-high-speed rail transport”, GBS B.2.3-218-549:2011, “Transport facilities. Highways. Parkings and resting grounds and stopping places for cars. General requirements for designing”, GBS B.2.3-218-550:2011, “Transport facilities. Highways. Shuttle-bus stops. General requirements for designing” and so on[9].

Certain improvements have been made by the state regarding accessibility for people with disabilities to rail, motor, and passenger motor transport.

    Meanwhile, despite all official improvements, can anyone use the “end product”, i.e. accessible transport, infrastructure, service? According to expert of the National Assembly of Disabled of Ukraine L.Baida, s/he cannot.

     According to L. Baida, the development and implementation of “accessible” transportation improves the lives of people, including people with disabilities. The term “accessible transportation” can be seen, firstly, as the accessibility of a vehicle and, secondly, as a transport infrastructure accommodated in accordance with the applicable standards and needs of people with disabilities and people with limited mobility (parking, entrances to the terminals, elevators and escalators, telephone booths, shops and canteens on the premises of transportation terminals, universal toilet cubicles, information in appropriate formats, etc.)[10].

    The accessibility in transport is regulated by the relevant standards and requirements. But…

    You may remember the saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Something similar is happening now in formation and implementation of the policy of “accessible transport”.

    Buying a railroad ticket for the same price as other passengers, people with disabilities traveling 8-10 hours and even more aboard the train cannot use the toilet and services like other passengers[11].

    In Ukraine, according to official figures, there are in operation 19 cars for passengers with disabilities, and in each car there is only one adapted compartment with a toilet, while the quantity of potential users numbers hundreds of disabled. So, 19 people can use “accommodations” for humans. But what about all other passengers with disabilities? It's anybody's guess: humiliation of human dignity, overcoming many problems…

    The developers of a new special passenger car have the best of intentions and emphasize that they take into account the needs of people with disabilities. Their enthusiasm goes overboard, but the idea and the product is a disaster for this group of population and other persons with limited mobility.

    Designing such “special cars” that can never meet the needs of a significant number of people with disabilities we form our “inaccessible” future for many years ahead (the service life of a railroad car is 30-50 years).

    Another example. Currently, the planners intend to produce / buy new subway cars with special areas for wheelchair-bound invalids. Good intentions, of course. But there is a question: “Who can use them if the entrance to the subway station and stations themselves are architecturally inaccessible?” And all problems with accessibility remain at the hands of the assistant station-master.

    Promoting and providing “special services and adoption of special solutions” should be the exception, because they are “special” and therefore more expensive.

    Now, let’s have a look at the theme of the new street-cars and trolley buses, which, according to the national target program on municipal electric until 2017, should appear soon on the streets of our cities.

    Good intentions, of course. However, according to the financial part of this program, we see that from the very beginning the costs were built into transport, which is inaccessible to people with disabilities and people with limited mobility. So again, at the level of the state the planners design a policy of transport inaccessibility in our cities, which, having spent “double money”, we will have to fight with. But we are a rich country and we may be penny wise and pound foolish[12].

    Given the above, we may conclude that the good intentions of decision makers and of those who adopt certain regulations often do not take into account the needs of all passengers: people with disabilities, parents with children, elderly and those traveling with heavy suitcases, our parents, wives, and children.   

    The problem of information accessibility

    Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities obliges the member state to help people with disabilities to live independently. Despite the fact that Ukraine has ratified the above-mentioned Convention, the state goes on systematically violating the rights of persons with disabilities to access information, which in its turn limits the scope of their free movement and mobility, and thus violates their right to independent lifestyle. The main violations include the absence of repeating aloud in public places of visual information or information written in Braille etc.

    In particular, in all public places there must be visual information about the location of areas and services adapted for people with disabilities. This information should be presented in icons and symbols used in the international practice. The place of visual information in buildings should be adapted to the use by wheelchair-bound invalids. The warning information about approaching the barriers for visually handicapped people should be accompanied with changes in color and texture of the surface.

    At the same time, the National Report on the Situation of Disabled People in Ukraine underlines that with respect to accessibility of information and communications for people with disabilities in Ukraine it should be noted that at present only a limited accessibility is to a certain extent provided for the persons with hearing impairment (the national legislation recognizes the finger sign language as a means of interpersonal communication and learning for people with hearing impairment and national TV newscast is accompanied by finger sign language).

    The Internet is one of the most modern and popular media and communication technology today. The World Wide Web contains a variety of information on education, employment opportunities, health care services and more. Furthermore, the web sites are channels of public participation and building social networks. However, in Ukraine they are almost inaccessible to persons with disabilities[13].

It should be noted that one of the factors that may contribute to the principle of accessibility is to conduct public examination of implementation of accessibility measures approved by the government. At least in the regions in which they had been realized they brought some results. As an example, we can tell about public examination in Rivne, which was conducted mainly by the Rivne oblast branch of “Successful Action Generation” in cooperation with other concerned NGOs of invalids in August -October 2013[14].   

    Financing activities aimed at implementing the rights of people with disabilities

    Another aspect of the rights of people with disabilities consists in funding activities aimed at implementing the rights of people with disabilities (including social, financial, medical, sanatorium-resort therapy) and removing obstacles to their implementation.

    The current legislation makes provisions for a system of social security for persons with disability. In particular, these people are paid pensions, and persons looking after them are paid for nursing jobs. In addition, people with disabilities are provided a variety of benefits, including the treatment, purchase of medicines, prosthetics and more.

    However, like all socially disadvantaged groups in Ukraine, the people with disabilities often find themselves on the poverty line. Since spending on social services are funded on the basis of the financial possibilities of the budget, all pension payments and benefits are rather moral than material support from the State for people with disabilities.

    According to the official website of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the average disability pension in Ukraine made ₴1,360 in 2013[15]. Depending on the cause of disability, disability group, insurance, years of service and other factors the disability pension varies, but in a rather small range. Therefore, as of 2013, especially considering the specific needs, the people with disabilities in Ukraine were in an extremely difficult financial situation.

    In order to improve the situation of people with disabilities, on August 1, 2012 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the State Program “National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” for the period up to 2020.

    The program states that for its funding the State Budget of Ukraine is planning to allocate ₴14 bn. But then the same program specifies that funding for the program shall be defined more exactly while drafting the State Budget of Ukraine for the respective year and taking into account its cash flow.

    It should also be noted that V. Sushkevich, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Pensioners, Veterans and Disabled prepared proposals for the draft budget for 2014, which just concerned funding for the provisions for the rights of persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, most of these proposals were not taken into account indicating the lack of sufficient budget resources intended to ensure the rights of people with disabilities and not prioritize funding for this sector.

    Given the general state of state funding of social needs in recent years, realizing the program will likely prove to be an elusive goal, and its specifications will be nothing but a usual declaration of noble intentions.   

    Observance of the rights of persons with disabilities

    It is also worthwhile considering the state of observance of the rights of persons with disabilities. For example, due to their disabilities not all invalids can get to their own polling stations. The electoral laws (“On Elections of the President of Ukraine”, “On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine” and “On the Election of Deputies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local radas and village, town and city mayors”) do not contain any specific requirements for polling stations to grant their accessibility to people with disabilities.

    Usually polling stations are located in schools, clubs and other public places. Under the current regulations, such public buildings should have ramps and other contrivances for people with disabilities, but in reality it is often not the case, as it is on paper, and not all such facilities are properly adapted for the disabled. This is the first barrier for the people with disabilities during the elections.

    The National Report on the Situation of Disabled People in Ukraine indicates that the majority of visually handicapped people can to appear at the polling station. However, they have difficulty in moving around without help, and these difficulties are the greater, the greater is the degree of vision loss by an established group of disability. In particular, people with disabilities, the first group, have significant problems with moving independently, while persons with disabilities, the second and third groups, though within appropriate limitations, have much lesser problems. The equality of citizens before the law means their ability to perform appropriate actions on equal terms. Therefore the visually handicapped persons, whose health permits them to appear at the polling station, need to have possibility to overcome obstacles to their mobility.

    In addition, problems can occur directly in the polling booth. While completing ballot paper and putting it into a ballot box a disabled person with low vision needs to be sure that the person helping her/him actually realizes her/his will. However, control of election commission officials during completing ballot paper and putting it into a ballot box is forbidden. Thus, the right to vote of persons with visual impairments may be realized only when the above actions are performed by an accredited representative. Thus, a visually handicapped person should choose her/his accredited representative by herself/himself and go with her him to the voting booth. However, the law does not expressly provide for such a possibility; in practice there are many cases when members of election commissions prevent persons with visual impairments to go to the voting booths together with their accompanying persons.

The election process is often accompanied by voters’ appeal concerning certain actions or decisions of election commissions. The absence of voters in the electoral lists at the place of registration is an exemplary case. In such cases, a physically sound person runs into difficulties defending her/his rights. It's hard to imagine the difficulties with which persons with disabilities may encounter while complaining of malfunction of election commissions.

    The legislation specifies a relatively short period of appeal against actions or decisions of election commissions: 22 hours. However, given the maladjustment of buildings, streets and transport for the needs of a person with a disability, it is almost impossible for such a person to independently defend her/his right to vote, let alone the right to be elected.

    The legislation provides an opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote outside the polling station. In this case, members of the election committee must come to a person with a disability with the ballot box. However, in order to take advantage of this law, the invalid must first file an application to the election commission, which in its turn may be not that easy. Moreover, it is rather problematic for such a person with a disability to appeal against the decision of the election commission to turn down the application for such voting.

    The electoral commission is expected to ensure equal participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process, that is, they must have the same conditions as all voters, but in reality, of course, one should yield the way to people who cannot stand in line and provide appropriate assistance to those for whom it is difficult to independently perform the whole procedure of obtaining a ballot paper and vote. The letter of the law requires not so independent voting as rather free individual choice which in special circumstances involves getting the needed help. This applies to blind voters who are unable to independently use Braille, because at this time there are problems with its use. Braille can be used only by those visually handicapped who have studied in schools for the blind or lost their sight at a young age. Pupils of the schools for dull-sighted and people who lost their sight in later life for the most part cannot use Braille. There might be a way out if the election legislation introduced for visually handicapped a special institute of authorized representatives, who should help such elector not only to receive a ballot paper, but also to acquaint her/him with the contents of this ballot paper and directly assist her/him to fill it out[16].

    It is also noteworthy that the presence of specific legislation to ensure the realization of voting rights of persons with disabilities is inadequate, especially when it comes to people with disabilities, visually handicapped and deaf persons. Thus, no legislative and normative acts provide for the introduction for the deaf persons of mandatory titration and translation in sign language (sign language translation) of election talks on television.

    In the first place, the visually handicapped persons have no access to legislation and official notices regulating the conduct of elections, election information posted at election stations and addressed to all voters. Lack of equal access to this information impedes the expression of the free and conscious will of visually handicapped, which is contrary to the principles of equality of all citizens in the exercise of their voting rights[17].

    Thus, the electoral legislation of Ukraine does not take into account all the needs of people with disabilities. Despite the efforts of legislators to allow for the needs of these people, the realization by persons with disabilities of their right to elect and to be elected is extremely complicated.   

    Labor rights of people with disabilities

   The labor rights of people with disabilities also need better protection. The Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Social Protection of the Disabled” provides quota for disabled in enterprises at a rate of 4% of the authorized strength of workers, and if the number of employees is from 8 to 25 employees, at least one person with a disability must be on the staff.

    However, today the issue of control over the surcharge and payment by employers of administrative and economic sanctions and penalties for non-fulfillment of employment rules is not legally settled. According to the Regulations of the Fund for Social Protection of Disabled Persons approved by the Ministry of Social Policy of 14 April 2011 no. 129, the Social Security Disability Fund has no more the authority to conduct inspections for compliance with the legislation on employment and employment of disabled persons, and the State Committee on Labor has no legally defined powers yet to control the calculation and payment by employers of administrative sanctions and penalties for non-compliance with the norm[18].

    At the same time, the mandatory quota of persons with disabilities at businesses is easily bypassed by employers by creating positions for people with disabilities without access to their actual work. These positions exist only on paper, and such workers are paid a monthly sum of money as compensation. Thus, the wolves are sated and the ship intact. However, in this case the people with disabilities are not getting involved in work, and hence have no access to a full-fledged life.

    This situation is quite clear. Employers are trying to save and have no problems with the law. For the employment of people with disabilities the employers need to create appropriate conditions, adapt existing production facilities and jobs entailing certain expenses which they are trying to avoid.

    Consequently, the existing mechanism for implementing the human rights of the disabled cannot get them involved in the work and social life, and cannot make employers to employ people with disabilities. In this situation, it is worthwhile to quit forcing employers and start encouraging them to create jobs for people with disabilities.

    Besides, it is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that in our country the existing barriers to free access to the labor market of deaf people who have technical and / or professional qualifications. Thus, the order of the Ministry of Health on May 21, 2007 no. 246 establishes health limits that restricts access to certain jobs or professions. Persons of some categories are not allowed, for example, to work in the shops and in industries that have industrial noise or vibration, as well as machines and mechanisms that have moving components. However, such limitations do not meet international standards. Due to the above limitations, the deaf persons with some special technical education cannot pursue their professions in metalworking, woodworking and other enterprises and have to feel content with jobs that require no qualifications (janitor, maid, packer, etc.). Hence, in order to ensure the right of deaf persons with special professional or technical education to pursue their professions, it is necessary to amend the above order of the Ministry of Health removing existing restrictions (under condition of establishing appropriate means and elimination of risks to life of this category of persons with disabilities in the relevant industries).

Also, it should be noted that in Ukraine the government does nearly nothing to develop for people with disabilities conditions for outwork. However, many disabled people prefer to work on such terms. The sociological survey of almost 3,000 thousand people with disabilities conducted in 2010 by the experts of the institute of industrial relations indicates that 54.3% of them think that the lack of flexible manufacturing systems in the labor market is a barrier to their integration into working life.

    It should be observed that in Ukraine there are no official statistics on work performed away from the factory, office, etc., by which it has been commissioned. There are no data on the number of outworkers by category of employees (pensioners, people with disabilities, women, young persons, etc.). That is why today, in the Ukrainian market economy, it is impossible to analyze the output produced by outworkers with disabilities.

   The Ukrainian legislation has no provisions encouraging domestic employers to start developing the use of outwork. Ukraine did not ratify the basic international instrument in this field: the ILO Convention no. 177 “On the Home Work” (1996). At the same time it is necessary to adopt an updated Regulation on Home Work which will regulate labor relations with this group of employees, organization and conditions of work, wages, vacations, social security and incentives to employers who use home-based work, and will include an indicative list of works recommended to perform at home[19].   

    Right to education

    The Constitution, in art. 53, declares the right of everyone to education.

    Guarantees of the right to education for all citizens of Ukraine, without exception, including persons with disabilities, are specified in such basic documents on education as the laws of Ukraine “On Education”, “The pre-school education”, “On General Secondary Education”, “On Vocational Education”, “On Higher education”, and “On Protection of Childhood”.

    In addition to the above documents, the right to education directly for people with disabilities is stipulated in the special legislation on social protection and rehabilitation of people with disabilities: Laws of Ukraine “On the Principles of Social Protection of the Disabled in Ukraine” and “On the Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Ukraine”. Thus, we can state the fact that Ukrainian legislation recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to education on the basis of equal opportunities with other citizens.

    The number of children with disabilities is 6.1% of the total number of people with disabilities. In Ukraine, every year, more than 18,000 children are recognized as disabled.

    In recent years, the discussions are underway and steps are taken to implement inclusive education in the country where every child with a disability has the opportunity with other children to attend kindergarten, go to school, along with others to obtain high-quality secondary and higher education.

    As of 2013, this project is being realized in 20 pilot educational institutions, which comprise 49 experimental groups. 178 children with special needs acquire knowledge in integrated education classes, on the basis of four institutes of postgraduate education, several problem-focused courses are also being realized. 393 teachers were trained according to the program “Attracting children with special needs”.

    According to statistics, in 2012/2013 academic year, there were 380 special secondary schools, which taught 45,357 pupils with special educational needs, including 12,742 children with disabilities, including:

    - 328 special boarding schools with enrollment of 39,682 students;

    - 32 training and rehabilitation centers where 4,987 children with special needs caused by complex defects studied and received comprehensive rehabilitation services;

    - 20 special schools with after-school daycare programs, where 688 children with developmental disabilities studied at place of their residence.

    In addition, 5,675 of such children studied in 508 special classes in secondary schools.

    The regulatory framework focused on the implementation of inclusive education was gradually developed and improved. At present, the State established a new standard of primary education for children with special educational needs ensuring children (visually handicapped, impaired hearing, with speech disorders, with mental deficiency, mental retardation, cerebral palsy) equal opportunities for early remedial help and quality education (Regulation of the CMU on August 21, 2013 no. 607).

    However, despite the revival of work on the implementation of inclusive education and some successes along the way, there are many obstacles to its successful development. The main negative factor is the lack of funding for inclusive education. There is no separate funding of education for children with special needs and it is not built into the budget. As a result, there emerges a problem of inadequate logistical support and staffing of secondary schools.

    As of December 1, 2012 only 20.0% of the total number of educational establishments are accessible to children with disabilities. Full accessibility of educational institutions requires considerable financial backing.

    One of the main problems in the education of children with disabilities is also a lack of consistency in the provision of educational and rehabilitation services at all levels of the educational process with mandatory psychological, educational, medical and physical rehabilitation. Today there is no classification of mental and physical disorders, which might specify with what impairments the children can go to an educational institution.

    Realization of the right to education of children with disabilities in our country takes place mainly in boarding institutions: special pre-schools, boarding schools, rehabilitation centers, which inhibits personal development and restricts the circle of contacts of children. Consequently, a very small percentage of people with disabilities become students of universities, colleges, and schools.

In addition to objective factors, the integration of disabled children into society is complicated by unpreparedness of society to conform to them. There are numerous cases when children with disabilities are denied acceptance to the school because of prejudices of school headmasters. On the other hand, children with special needs often find overcaring, which in accordance with European standards is not a case of equality of conditions. At the same time, there remains a low level of public awareness about inclusive education system.

    In rural areas, the inclusion of children with disabilities in preschool education is not up to the mark because of the almost total lack of targeted pre-school groups (compensating type).

    To ensure the educational rights of children with disabilities (along with pre-school and secondary education) sector of vocational education is extremely important. Currently, the percentage of vocational school students with special educational needs is 1.4 % of the total number of students. Teaching students with special educational needs in vocational schools is primarily performed in the general groups with other students. However, there are cases when such training is not possible. In such cases, special groups are created, for which curricula are developed with the increased term of training depending on the type and severity of the disease and the complexity of teaching material. In vocational schools with special groups for training young people with special educational needs there are equipped classrooms and training and production workshops that are supplied with manipulative, didactic, informational, illustrative materials and more.

    It is worth noting the experience of cooperation of the Kyiv Interregional Higher School of Communication with the Ya. P. Batiuk Kyiv special comprehensive boarding school no. 5 for blind children. Thanks to the cooperation of these institutions two experimental programs in the profession “Computer Typist” were developed. Training is conducted on computers adapted to their specific use by students with visual impairments.

    At the same time it should be noted that due to legislative grants of special benefits for disabled persons entering vocational schools and rising awareness by people with disabilities of the importance of their higher education, their number in Ukrainian establishments of higher education is growing. In 2007/2008 academic year 12 262 students with disabilities attended higher educational establishments of I-IV accreditation levels; in the 2012/2013 academic year their number was almost 1.5 times greater (18 825 students with disabilities). This represents 0.87% of the total number of students of establishments of higher education.

    According to the Unified State Electronic Database on Education, in 2013 over 5.3 ths of invalids of 1st and 2nd groups and disabled children under 18 with no contraindications against chosen profession or 1.4 % of all entrants went to the establishments of higher education of I- IV levels of accreditation.   


    - Ensure implementation (including appropriate financial support) of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons;

    - Develop and adopt amendments to the legislation intended to bring it into line with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There is a need for consolidation of practical mechanisms for implementing basic “standards” to protect rights of persons with disabilities;

    - In order to ensure effective access to health care for people with disabilities to accelerate the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Compulsory State Social Health Insurance”. Establish counseling for women with disabilities and families, which foster a disabled girl, on disability issues and reproductive health. Ensure the existence of architectural accessibility of these consultations taking into consideration problems of women with musculoskeletal diseases, visual and hearing impairments,

    - Changes are needed at the level of constitutional legislation of Ukraine, because the terms “equality” (exists in constitutional legislation) and “non-discrimination” concerning the disabled are not identical and differ in meaning;

    - The Ministry of Health should develop measures of, which provide for incentive mechanisms, including financial ones, concerning psychosocial rehabilitation approaches and treatment of persons with mental disorders;

    - Develop a system of inclusive education, including training of teachers, determine the sources and amounts of required state funding. Provide for publishing manuals for children with visual impairments, deaf, and mentally impaired. Take appropriate measures to employ persons with disabilities to work in the field of education;

    - To use the principles of accessibility, universal design, reasonable accommodation taking into account individual needs in schools;

    - Provide training and retraining of teaching staff concerning the matters of disability, inclusive education, support for children with disabilities, creation of barrier-free environment of educational institutions;

    - Introduction of a monitoring and evaluation system of implementing inclusive education; open these monitoring data to the public;

    - Involve civil society organizations of persons with disabilities in decision-making regarding the right to education;

    - Enforce legislation of Ukraine in drafting individual rehabilitation programs for every disabled person;

    - Develop an effective mechanism to ensure procurement to people with disabilities of rehabilitation equipment and medical supplies as well as monetary compensation procedure for independent purchase of such means. The effective mechanism should be based on the principles of targeting, feasibility, rationality, and efficiency;

    - Ensure persons with disabilities the right to work. In particular, to develop and implement an institute of professional assistant of the specialist with disabilities in carrying out her/his professional work in order o grant equal opportunities in the implementation of the right to employment;

    - Provide for deinstitutionalization and independent living in the community with comprehensive support for people with disabilities who require constant care and supervision, gradually reducing the number of boarding schools and developing a system of schools in the community to live with the support of 8-16 adult citizens with disabilities;

    - To gradually reform the system of guardianship and care of citizens with disabilities who do not understand the significance of their actions and their consequences, remove economic restrictions, including proprietary, political and other rights of these persons with disabilities, including those provided for in article 70 of the Constitution of Ukraine and article 32 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Social Protection of the Disabled in Ukraine”;

    - Start implementing supported decision -making with the provision of qualified assistants for people with disabilities who do not understand the significance of their actions and the ensuing consequences;

    - To amend the existing legislation in accordance with the obligations under article 29 of the CRPD in order to eliminate discrimination and to create an environment where people with disabilities can fully participate in political and public life;

    - To monitor the implementation of existing legislation in order to grant non-discrimination of persons with disabilities in the electoral process;

    - To introduce the concept of universal design intended to provide people with disabilities access to all aspects of political and social life;

    - Ensure training of officials responsible for conducting elections and responsible for monitoring the polling stations for tackling disability issues, communicating with people of different nosology, equipment of polling stations, access to information, etc.;

    - To amend the current legislation of Ukraine on gender equality in order to allow for the needs of persons with disabilities;

    - Implement public control over the situation of girls and women with mental and  health disorders who stay in institutions of social guardianship;

    - Ensure creation of a system of protection against ill-treatment of women with disabilities who stay in mental institutions and other state closed establishments;

    - Ensure delivery of quality health care services for women with disabilities to meet individual needs in health care. To train personnel of medical facilities in the existing needs of women with disabilities and ethics of communication;

    - Promote a positive image of women with disabilities in the media;

    - Implement measures to actively employ women with disabilities in education, social policy, and health care;

    - Amend existing legislation to CRPD standards regarding the right of access to information for people with disabilities;

    - Introduce effective control over the implementation of existing legislation and art. 21 of the CRPD on the rights of persons with disabilities to have access to information;

    - Oblige the central and local government bodies to use, when communicating with people with disabilities, means and formats that facilitate information access and adapting information and information products on obtaining public services;

    - Take administrative and promotional steps through the mechanisms of dialogue and social responsibility for the dissemination of information by the private sector in the formats and methods accessible for people with disabilities;

    - Take measures to stimulate the development of the market of  audio books, support publishing printed matter in Braille, support data adaptation using the method of “simplified reading” in the cultural and educational establishments;

    - With the participation of people with disabilities to establish standards for forms, criteria and time of titration and sign language translation of programs (information blocks, official information, children's and youth programs, legal information and notices, and health care) for both public and commercial television broadcasters, take steps (including positive incentives) for adapting in electronic format and access to the paper editions for blind people;

    - Ensure the use of new technologies, improving the independence and autonomy of persons with disabilities in exercising their right to information;

    - Promote the implementation of the principles of universal design to new developments in information and communication technologies.


[1] Prepared by L. Baida, NADU, and M.Shcherbatiuk, UHHRU.

[2] National Report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[3] Alternative Report The Lost Rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, NADU, 2012

[4] When the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was ratifying the Convention, it used the title of the document in Russian (one of the official languages of the United Nations), therefore the word "person" was omitted from the title, which is in the English version of the "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities". Ukrainian language document title "The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities"--Alternative report "The Lost Rights" to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, NADU, 2012.

[5] National Report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[6] National Report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[7] Alternative Report The Lost Rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, NADU, 2012

[8] The full version of the campaign "Justice without barriers" can be found here:

[9] National Report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[10] Good intentions of transport policy or availability Ukrainian-style

[11] Good intentions of transport policy or availability Ukrainian-style

[12] Good intentions of transport policy or availability Ukrainian-style

[13] National report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine



[16] National report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine, Securing voting rights of citizens with visual impairments / / Access : 303 /

[17] National report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[18] National report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine

[19] National Report on the situation of disabled people in Ukraine


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