Preparation of Zero report on realization of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities begins in Belarus
On the International day of people with disability, December 3, the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities announces about the intention of a number of NGOs to declare a Memorandum on cooperation in order to prepare alternative Zero report on conditions with rights of persons with disabilities in the Republic of Belarus.
According to Sergey Drozdovsky, the coordinator of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities this holiday will be for the first time a symbolic one for the country because this year the country has signed the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and Belarus had been preparing for it for several years.
- Signing is a very important step which tells that a country should refrain from creation of norms contradicting the norms of the international treaty – comments the jurist. – We are waiting when the government makes the second step – ratification, which will promote practical usage of the Convention’s norms in the state’s politics during preparation of topical state programs and local agendas.
Today is the perfect time to begin writing the report by recording the situation in the sphere of disability at the moment of Convention’s signing. The Office initiated preparation of the alternative (prepared by civic society and NGOs) report which is similar to a planned report to the UN Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities. The government is not obliged to prepare an official report now it should be done only after the ratification of the international document: the first time in two years and then every four years.
Such international reports are an international norm. On the basis of the reports’ results the country can be given recommendations about what and how can be improved in the definite sphere, - explains Sergey Drozdovsky. – State reports should show progress in realization of the Convention’s principles, we consider that the alternative Zero report will help to record the situation and it will become a “zero level” for evaluation of the progress.
Zero report will help to make a revision of legal documents and practices regulating the sphere of social guarantees, to show what is being done in Belarus today and what mechanisms are being used.
Such a “revision” will help to ensure against a possible decrease of the level of social protection for persons with disabilities during possible reforms.
The specialist considers that activities aimed at preparation of Zero report should be collegial. It will help to show the existing situation most fully and to reflect problems of different types of disabilities.
It is very difficult to do it by the efforts of one organization and it will not show the whole picture. We see the preparation of Zero report as a possibility for successful cooperation and interaction. As for today 6 organizations have agreed to join the initiative. Memorandum for joining the process has been opened. It is of voluntary character and it means that any organization which is ready can join us anytime and anytime it can leave.
Deputy head of the Central board of NGO “BelTIZ” Mikhail Antonenko confirmed a wish to join the process.
- We will give all the necessary information about problems in our sphere, from inside we know how a visually impaired person lives. We are ready to join the preparation of the report.
Other organizations that have joined are: “Belarusian society of disabled”, “Belarusian association for assistance to disabled children and young disabled”, “Belarusian society of deaf”, “Belarusian association of wheelchair-bound disabled”.
It is planned that the alternative Zero report will be published on May 5 on the International day of fight for the rights of disabled and against discrimination.