On June 29, by the initiative of the Chairmen of the RA National Assembly Mr. Ara Babloyan, a working meeting entitled “Issues of children with disabilities” was initiated based on recommendations stated in the RA Human Rights Defender’s “Commitments under the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its protocols: The state of fulfilment by Armenia” ad hoc report and recommendations on issues of children highlighted in the program of RA Government.
RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, RA Minister of Healthcare Mr. Arsen Torosyan, RA Minister of Education and Science Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Healthcare and Social Affairs at RA National Assembly Mr. Hakob Hakobyan, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport at the RA National Assembly Mr. Vardan Bostanjyan, representatives of UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) and experts participated in the meeting.
The Human Rights Defender Mr. Arman Tatoyan gave a keynote speech, referring to the issues and proposals presented in the ad hoc report.
In his speech, he presented main findings of the report and noted that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed regret that the projects and strategies implemented in Armenia do not provide proper funding. The National Commission for the Protection of Children does not work effectively. Referring to the issues of the children with disabilities, Mr. Tatoyan highlighted that the free of charge early investigation and early rehabilitation services of disabilities, as well as the formal inclusive education are not fully accessible to many children, especially in the pre-school stage.
As a result of the meeting it was decided:
- to initiate legal reform based on the report of the Human Rights Defender, to propose legislative amendments as a result of discussions with the Government and other relevant stakeholders in order to make legislative changes in the National Assembly;
- in order to implement effective coordination between state bodies, it was recommended to appoint RA Deputy Prime Minister as the head of the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child;
- to work towards reserving the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child with the necessary powers, authority, providing adequate human, technical and financial resources, as stipulated in the report of the Human Rights Defender;
- to pay attention and make efforts to ensure access to services and access to the adequate care for children with disabilities especially for those living in rural areas and in the most unfavorable conditions;
- to pay special attention at the educational programs regarding sexual and reproductive health;
- to continue making efforts to ensure the stay of children with disabilities in their families and further social integration under the patronage of the family.