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Opinions & Interviews

25 Feb 2014

Samarasinha: Belarus ready to join UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Samarasinha: Belarus ready to join UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

MINSK, 25 February (BelTA) - Belarus is ready to join the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN/UNDP Resident Coordinator in Belarus Sanaka Samarasinha said when speaking at a seminar in the Council of the Republic, BelTA learned.

“When I came to Belarus a year ago, I though that the signing the convention would be simply impossible. I heard the same thing from people from abroad. But now I am full of optimism," said Sanaka Samarasinha. He noted that 158 countries signed the convention and 141 states ratified it. Belarus remains the only country in Europe that has not yet signed or ratified this international instrument. “Belarus approached the matter full force in order to implement all the provisions of the convention. Belarus is ready for this now. I hope that by the end of 2014, Belarus will sign and ratify the convention," he said.

The UN/UNDP Resident Coordinator in Belarus also noted that some countries have acceded to the convention but have not taken any concrete steps to implement its provisions for years. Belarus looks at it differently. "I had a discussion in the highest quarters, and the consensus on the need to implement the provisions of the convention has been reached," he said.

For his part, the chairman of the permanent commission on education, science, culture and social development of the Council of the Republic Nikolai Kazarovets noted that Belarus has more than 500,000 people with disabilities and the social protection of this most vulnerable category of the population is one of the priorities of state social policy. “In recent years our country has achieved certain progress in the empowerment of persons with disabilities, but there are still challenges we need to address. For example, we are actively discussing the need to abolish the employment recommendations for persons with disabilities, which will promote greater inclusion of persons with disabilities of working age in professional activities,” he said. Nikolai Kazarovets added that probably until the end of 2014 Belarus will accede to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the country has been working hard on this.

The seminar was attended by Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security Alexander Rumak. He recalled that the ministry jointly with the UN/UNDP Office in Belarus implemented a project of international technical assistance "Assisting the Republic of Belarus in joining the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its implementation". During the project, the national center of legislation and legal research did a comparative-legal analysis of the legislation of Belarus and the provisions of the convention, and pointed out that the Belarusian legislation is not contrary to the object and purpose of the convention and the regulations on persons with disabilities are consistent with the basic principles and rules of this convention. "Belarus’ social policy in relation to persons with disabilities is consistent with the norms and principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and aims at further development of the designated area in accordance with this international instrument," said Alexander Rumak

Since 2011 the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and other stakeholders have been working on a draft law on the accession of Belarus to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and on the laws which will be subject to amendment, supplement, or will be found invalid in connection with the adoption of this law.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. The convention is aimed to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by people with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

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