Lack of access to services for children with disabilities – the Georgian state and the denial of social inclusion

30 Mar, 2018
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This policy brief covers a period of January-November, 2017
Authors: Anna Arganashvili;  Nana Gochiashvili on behalf of the NGO Partnership for Human Rights (PHR). Peer review by Dr. Tobias Schumacher.

According to the 2014 census, there are 871,532 children in Georgia, out of which only 10,069 are officially registered as having some type of disability. In the same census data, it appears that 25,925 children suffer from some kind of disability or health condition according to self-reporting made by their family members and legal representatives.

These figures are one of the explicit signs of the country’s Soviet past, during which it was common to refuse to acknowledge people with disabilities unless sufficient medical symptoms were present. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has not updated the system of disability registration. Official administrative bodies consider children disabled only if they exhibit listed symptoms of a given diagnosis and not their actual needs for social and educational inclusion – a practice of a medical model of disability that is in contradiction with the standards of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter UN CRPD.)