“Sign with Your Heart”: Civil society expects commitment from government
The Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities has been campaigning for a Memorandum of accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The campaign is entitled “Sign with Your Heart”.
Representatives of the country’s civil society say why it is important to sign the Memorandum.
Lawtrend Chair: “Memorandum is a civic stand”
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in my opinion, must have been signed by Belarus a long time ago,” says the lawyer and human rights activist, head of the Center for Legal Transformation “Lawtren” Alena Tankachova.
In her opinion, if the government is not doing enough to humanize the sphere of the rights of persons with disabilities, to raise the standards and the availability of disputes in courts, then public organizations, the public sector and citizens should express their attitude to it. The Memorandum, in my opinion, is a civic stand. For our part, we are ready to take responsibility for raising the standards and demand it from the Belarusian state.”
The main motive of signing the Memorandum is to show their commitment to the goals of the Convention.
“We are a human rights organization dealing with human rights and actively using international mechanisms to protect them,” says Alena. “We state: on a series of social and socio-political issues no progress could have been achieved in the post-Soviet space if the countries had not joined international treaties.”
According to the Lawtrend leader, the Belarusian judiciary has not taken a clear position in almost all cases concerning discrimination against people with disabilities. The concept of discrimination is extremely slowly perceived by the Belarusian judiciary. In such a situation, there may be a lot of complaints to international bodies, but on the other hand, it may slow down the signing of the Convention by Belarus:
“The government understands that at some point we will have to be more open and accountable. It will be then that the international community will communicate to Belarus its demands.”
The organization “Children. Autism. Parents.”: “Everyone needs to have equal rights”
“The Memorandum is primarily a sign of attitude to the situation in which there are all the people with disabilities in Belarus,” says the head of the international charity organization “Children. Autism. Parents.” Tatsiana Yakauleva. “We want clear and finally really working legislative steps from the government. We want to be a worthy part of the civilized world.”
Tatsiana Yakauleva believes that the alignment of new social relationships take a long time, but the country has a chance to go in the right direction.
“There will be greater opportunities for cooperation with state agencies. Today we assess the situation as a situation of general psychological transformation of social consciousness, so we look forward to new opportunities,” says she speaking of possible results of signing the Convention.
Tatsiana Yakauleva has direct contacts with the target audience of the Convention and stresses the difficulty of the situation:
“It’s hard to live with a diagnosis of autism: it includes rejection by society, and the possibility of learning along with others, from kindergarten to university, employment issues and independent living, real social support tailored to individual needs. And again, we’re talking about the right to be on par with other citizens.”
Both Belarusian and the international community have no other legal options: we need to start making well-reasoned and deliberate steps, reach for the countries that have signed the Convention, says she.