Draft Law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities Endorsed
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On March 16, the RA NA Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs in the first reading debated the package of the draft law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and three other draft laws authored by the RA Government and a group of deputies of the NA My Step Faction.

The RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mesrop Arakelyan and the First Deputy Minister Tatevik Stepanyan presented the main provisions of the draft laws. “The approaches stipulated in the law passed in 1993 do not correspond with the needs of the persons with disabilities. Today, we document their disability only on the basis of the health status, after which we provide exclusively financial support, without assessing their needs. The evaluation of the restrictions for the persons with disabilities and the support of the state towards them are laid on the basis of these amendments. It will give an opportunity to the persons with disabilities to use their possibilities in the spheres of education and labor,” the Minister clarified.

As the rapporteurs have assessed, the most important amendments are proposed in the sphere. In particular, it is designed to set instead of groups with disabilities degrees of the person’s functionality restriction – light, medium, grave and deep. The disability assessment will be carried out, being based on the international classification ideology and approaches of the functions of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs, of Health and of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, the NGOs with the support of the UN and the EU worked out the assessment tools, the methodological guidebooks, the business processes on the person’s functionality assessment. The investment programme of the disability assessment system reforms and the person’s functionality assessment system was worked out and presented to the Government.

According to the Deputy Minister, the draft laws will create necessary legal bases for the protection of the rights of the persons with disabilities, equal opportunities and provision of accessible conditions, exercising their rights in all spheres of the public life, ruling out the discrimination on the basis of disability. If the legislative is passed, then the persons’ functionality assessment will be operated from September 2022.

Tatevik Stepanyan has also informed that now about 192.000 persons with disabilities, 8900 out of them are children, 8900 – first group, 65.000 – second group, and 135.000 – third group. “We’ll propose the citizen more by the person’s functionality assessment, than the acting law gives,” the Deputy Minister noted, adding that the citizens with disabilities will continue to make use of all social guarantees at present.

Part of the existing buildings will be adjusted to the needs of the persons with disabilities, the designing and the construction of the settlements, the buildings of residential, public and production importance, the designing of the transport system, the construction and the restorations will not be allowed, if they are not accessible for the persons with disabilities.

The key rapporteur Maria Karapetyan positively assessed the presented legislative package in terms of the protection of human rights, urging her colleagues to vote for it. “The package of the draft laws does not only have vulnerable or controversial paragraphs, but also ensure very important civilized progress,” she underlined.

The package with the endorsement of the Committee will be proposed to include in the draft law of the agenda of the sixth convocation of the NA seventh convocation.

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