Round Table Discussions: Independent Living and Involvement in Public Life

9 Nov, 2010

On October 21, the office of the Open Society Georgia Foundation hosted a meeting dedicated to the topic:  “Independent Living and Involvement in Public Life”.   The implementation of Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Georgia – Current Problems and Possible Solutions.

Article 19 of the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) treats the right to freedom and personal immunity equally as the right to live within the community and be a member of the community.  This article will serve as a prohibiting mechanism for institutional models of supporting persons with disabilities and requires investment by the state to support community-based living.

A report on the research presented by the Global Initiative on Psychiatry, an organization, reviews current legislation and policy documents for compliance with Article 19 of CRPD;  it also deals with opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of the article and identifies those fields that are in need of reforms.

The choice of residence and freedom of choice – where should the person live? What kind of access do persons with disabilities have to community support services and mainstream community services in Georgia?

The international law has recognized for the first time openly and clearly the right of persons with disabilities to live within the community as a human right by Article 19 of CRPD.  Will the Georgian Constitution and legislation recognize this right for all persons with disabilities?  Does the legislation call for support for social inclusion of people with mental disabilities? The discussions focused on the issues.

Representatives of NGOs, the Public Defender’s Office, the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, the Health and Legal Committees of Parliament, hospital managers, experts, officials of the local and Budapest office of Open Society Institute took part in the meeting.

The project is financed by Open Society Georgia Foundation and Global Initiative on Psychiatry – Tbilisi.