According to the data of the World Health Organization persons with disabilities make up about 15 percent of the world’s population (more than 1 billion people) who are confronted with a lot of problems and obstacles in different areas of life. There are a number of international and domestic legal documents directed at the protection of rights of persons with disabilities.
On December 13, 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention “On the Rights of Persons with disabilities” which was ratified in Armenia in 2010.
The aim of the Convention is to assist, protect and support persons with disabilities to fully and equally exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to ensure respect for their dignity. The Convention ensures and protects the rights of persons with disabilities in economic, social, political, legal and cultural life.
By ratifying the Convention the Republic of Armenia has committed itself to take appropriate measures to enable people with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. These measures should be directed at ensuring access to and availability of the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems on an equal basis with others.
The Republic of Armenia has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The mentioned Protocol provides for the introduction of the procedures of individual communications (complaints) and investigation as a guarantee for ensuring the application of the Convention.
Discriminatory attitude towards persons with disabilities in various areas of public life are continuous. Although disability discrimination is prohibited by the Convention, by a number of international documents, as well as various legal acts, there are no functional and effective mechanisms in Armenia preventing and prohibiting discrimination.
The main legal act concerning people with disabilities in the Republic of Armenia is the Law “On the Social Protection of Disabled People” which was adopted in 1993. Taking into account the fact that the approaches set forth by the law do not comply with internationally accepted principles of social inclusion of persons with disabilities, the new draft law “Rights Protection and Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities” was developed.
As of January 1, 2006 200.117 persons with disabilities are registered in the Republic of Armenia. The registered persons with disabilities make up 6.7% of the RA population. Persons with disabilities face discrimination and obstacles to the execution of their rights almost every day. The rights of their education, employment, participation in sports and cultural life, access to social protection, freedom of movement, right to vote and many other rights are violated.