On December 11, as part of the social initiative “Feel it by yourself,” PU “Civic Guard” and NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” held a round table “Public Accessibility in Pratice. Equal Rights for All Citizens of Ukraine.” Among the participants of the roundtable were officials of the Kyiv City State Administration, representatives of the Department on Human Rights, Non-discrimination and Gender Equality Secretariat of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights and representatives of more than ten NGOs that protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
The participants of the event raised urgent issues of protecting the rights of people with disabilities: accessibility to public places, correctness of timing when talking about persons with disabilities. During the discussion, Yuriy Krykunov, Director of Social Policy, KCSA told that some NGOs do not want to unite because they perceive their colleagues as competitors.
Head of the NGO “Bridge Ukraine-EU” Natalia Sevidova notes that in a country where there is war and hundreds of fighters as a result of injuries become disabled, such competition is in fact a crime. She added that all public organizations need to unite to learn from each other, but not compete.
Speaking about the difficult situation with public accessibility for persons with disabilities and information problems with their employment, Natalia Sevidova recognizes that the state is unable to cope with this task. Therefore, she calls on public organisations for unity and activity.
Natalia Sevidova stresses the importance of joint work on protection of the rights of people with disabilities, adding that the problem of disability is not a problem of a person, but a common problem of the whole society.
Participants of the round table considered a resolution, the text of which is given below:
RESOLUTION OF THE ROUND TABLE
“Public Accessibility in Pratice. Equal rights for All Citizens of Ukraine”
Kyiv, December 11, 2015
We, the participants of the round table “Public Accessibility in Pratice. Equal rights for All Citizens of Ukraine,”
analysing and summarizing the known problems with the public accessibility (institutional, physical, financial, mental, informational barriers) in Ukraine,
given the fact that our country continues fighting and Ukrainians protect its territorial integrity and defer the aggressor, which conducts large-scale military operations in our country using heavy weapons that increases the number of people with disabilities in Ukraine,
reaffirm our concern of low general level of accessibility for people with disabilities to most public places, public transport and services, unsatisfactory level of tolerance in society.
We set priorities and recommend them for implementation by city, village and settlement heads, legislative and executive bodies, business entities to actually make qualitative changes in legislation and public control to ensure the equality rights of all citizens of Ukraine in the implementation of their constitutional rights.
Despite the constant declarations of the state and all levels authorities regarding the problems of people with disabilities, the situation is still complicated: a large number of institutions of different ownership is inaccessible for disabled people, construction and renovation of public spaces is conducted with violations of construction norms and without taking into account the needs of people with disabilities; a large number of people with disabilities cannot get a job; the state does not provide them with the necessary medicines in full. All these factors lead to the formation of the so-called “social prisoners” – people who actually cannot get out of their own homes.
The current legislation is imperfect and somewhat outdated, while the owners of the unsuitable premises do not have sufficient motivation to equip them with ramps or other means of unhindered access for all. In this context, the declared priorities of state policy are only subject to rhetorical exercises by politicians, causing only a sense of disappointment and frustration for people with disabilities.
Assistance of state and local authorities to improve accessibility in practice comes to taking on a variety of programmes, which, at best, are unsystematic, and overwhelmingly have declaratory nature and repeat same events every year.
Based on the above, we offer:
- To create an association of NGOs that deal with people with disabilities to monitor compliance with legislation for people with disabilities by authorities and local governments;
- To make all-Ukrainian monitoring on public accessibility and publish its results in the media;
- To develop recommendations to authorities and local governments to overcome institutional, physical, financial, mental and informational barriers for people with disabilities and work out an action plan for the control over their observance;
- To create and legalize electronic form designed by city, village and settlement councils for communication of people with disabilities with city, village and settlement heads;
- To raise the level of tolerance and indifference in society towards people with disabilities by creating respective audio-, video- and visual content;
- To conduct round tables “Public Accessibility in Pratice. Equal rights for All Citizens of Ukraine” in all regional centres of Ukraine and on their basis create recommendations for local authorities with regard to specifics of the region;
- To develop a “map of public accessibility in Ukraine” and bring the maximum number of people with disabilities to its creation;
- Develop a training program of correct and tolerant coverage of events related to persons with disabilities for local media;
- To seek media leaders with a proposal to create permanent programs to cover the lives of people with disabilities;
- To publish the Resolution of the roundtable in the media.
- To apply for membership of NGO representatives who took part in the round table in the Public Council established at the Kyiv City State Administration.
We believe that compliance with legislation regarding people with disabilities by state authorities and local governments, as well as active cooperation of the authorities with public organizations and associations in the observance of the recommendations made by these NGOs and associations is the key to equality of all people regardless of health, increase of tolerance in society, establishment of social dialogue between all sectors of the population and affirmation of Ukraine as a European state.