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Accessible environment for everyone

 

One seldom sees in Tbilisi a person with a disability rolling down the sidewalk  in a wheelchair. A quick look at the city shows that Tbilisi is still an inaccessible  city for those who use wheelchairs. There is practically no access to many public services and buildings, including City Hall. There is no easily accessible  public transport. 

Salome Mikaze, 23, quit school in the ninth grade. ‘’It was hard to get along  with those conditions due to inefective inclusion education and environment inaccessibility. I had to quit school, because it was hard to get along with those conditions’’.

 Mikaze is an ofce manager for the NGO ‘’Accessible Environment for  Everyone’’ (http://www.ertad.org/). The ofce is on the second floor in the  Didube Plaza. The building has ramps and a comfortable elevator to make it  easy for her to go to all floors. Organization’s goal is to make the city more  accessible. ‘’I know, slowly by slowly, Tbilisi will become more accessible,” she  says. “Changes are starting already. For example, Ministry of Health, Labor and  Social afairs now has ramps to enter in.

“I cannot say the same about city council. They are moving to the city halls’ building, which was renewed, but still it did not include the accessibility  standards. We went there for a meeting, and it was held in front of the building  because we could not enter. They promised that in the budget there will be money for city accessibility, but it seems not for this year.

Some buildings have ramps, but many are not built correctly. For example, the steep angle of the incline makes some ramps practically useless for disabled  people. “They just do it for show,” Mikaze says.

It is hard to say, that Georgian government is no interested in problems of  people with disabilities. There are many advocacy articles about disable  people’s rights, conditions. But in all the reports the total number of disabled people is missing. The only ofcial number is from 2009, 140.125 people , who  get special pension from government. This is general number, that cannot give  properly describe the situation. 

In 2001, the law on “Social Security of Persons with Disabilities” was adopted.  According to this law, the state undertakes an obligation to provide disabled  persons with an equal environment and to ensure their engagement in social,  economic and cultural life. Article VIII of the law states that it is inadmissible to  plan constructions and residential areas without considering the needs and  requirements of disabled persons. Despite these provisions, there are still  issues regarding the state’s compliance with this law. 

On December, 13, 2006 Georgia signed and joined the UN Convention on  Disability Rights. After signing the document Georgia has officially announced the interpretation of article 12, which reads as  follows: The States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the equal  right to recognition everywhere as persons before the low

The government of Georgia together with several non-governmental  organizations started to prepare an action plan for 2014-16 to protect the  rights of disabled people. 

According to Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, within five years all public  buildings will be adequately equipped to ensure access for people with  disabilities.

 ‘’A government’s image is measured by how it takes care of its citizens with disabilities,” said Garibashvili at a ceremony when the ramps at the Chancellery building were finished. “It’s government’s duty to give people with disabilities  an opportunity for a respectful life with dignity. We need their skills, their  knowledge and experience, and their active participation in social life. In 2012, NGO “Accessible environment for everyone’’ studied city accessibility.  The results shows, that the city is not accessible for everyone, ministries, movie  theaters, cafes, streets, almost everything has to be changed. City modification  will be a step forward to make it more accessible not only for it citizens, but  also attract tourist from word wild. Imagine how great will be to see everyone everywhere. 2014 is promising year in terms of right implementation. City monitoring videos done by ‘’Accessible Environment for Everyone’’

Ministry of Education

Rustaveli Movie Theater 

Public transport