About 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. People with disabilities are one of the largest minority groups that remain dearth of attention alongside with discrimination by state and society.
By the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the undersigned states are responsible for collecting and monitoring the research as well as statistical data of disabled persons. By signing, states showed their intention to proceed to ratification in due course. In 2013, Georgia ratified the UN Convention while on 13 March, 2014, Georgia became the 34th country in Asia and the Pacific, and the 143rd in the world, to join the group of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, the data on disability in Georgia is very limited and fragmented. Considering the lack of concrete statistics of the persons with different abilities makes impossible to discern the real picture of the problems and the needs of disabled persons and their families.
Steaming from the importance of the issue and increased public interest, IDFI interested in the statistical data of persons with disabilities (PWDS) resided and registered in Georgia, and sent corresponding request to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs of Georgia and National Statistics office of Georgia. It should be highlighted, that provided information depicts the number of Disabled persons receiving state social pension/allowance (Beneficiaries) across the country. In light of this, state policy determines the total number of disabled persons by the sum of beneficiaries, which directly is connected to the obscurity of actual number of disabled people living in Georgia. This allows us towards assuming that the actual number of disabled persons in Georgia is likely to be higher than the provided data by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection of Georgia.
According to the provided information by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs , 118 651 persons with disabilities are registered as recipients of state social assistance by 1 March, 2015 in Georgia that constitutes only 3 percent of total population resided in Georgia (3 729.5) while WHO estimates the global disability prevalence of around 10%.
The number of persons with disabilities and their share percentage by regions of Georgia is following:
According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, 30% (1 118 300) of the total population of Georgia is resided in Tbilisi, and therefore the largest number of disabled persons is represented here, in Tbilisi.
The following chart depicts the number of disabled persons by Tbilisi districts.
Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that the IDFI asked for the statistical information, including categories of disabilities, either the Ministry of Labour Health and Social Affairs, nor National Statistics Office could provide requested information with corresponding categories. This also illustrates the gaps and weakness existed in the registration system. According to GeoStat, (National Statistics Office) the detailed information about Persons with Disabilities will be accessible after processing the General Population Census of 2014, in 2016.
Interesting is the comparison of received information from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs and from GeoStat: according to GeoStat the amount of disabled persons, who received State Social Allowance are 123 722 (at the end of 2014), while by the data of the Ministry, for 1 March, 2015, the number of disabled persons with State Social Allowance constitutes 5 071 less and adds up to 118 651. The reasons of such decrease within 3 months remain uncertain.
Nowadays, Disability State pension/allowance amounts to 70 or 100 GEL which is depending on a category of disability. Importance of employment for disabled persons’ integration is hard to underestimate. In light of this, IDFI also requested information to GeoStat on the number of employed disabled persons either in public or private sectors. As it founds out, there exists no statistical data about working disabled persons in National Statistics Office of Georgia.
By the Civil Service Bureau 2013-2014 report, there are only 24 disabled employees in over 100 000 public agencies. Among those, 5 are employed at Ministries, 18 of them at local governments and only 1 at other state agency. The experience of various countries proves the importance of supporting work and employment of disabled persons, which is a precondition for self-realization, development of personality and participations in civil society life for disabled people. Therefore, one of the main priorities of government should be the employment of such people for promoting to use their skills for social development. Unfortunately, based on recent statistical information, existence of such state policy is less likely to happen.
Institute for Development of Freedom of Information hopes that Georgia will keep up to the following steps for fully implementing the commitments undertaking by ratifing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that is linked to the improvement of the Disabled persons social life. IDFI also refers the last initiative by the Department for Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Public Defender. According to the presented model, on May 5, 2015, the Consultation Council will be established that includes Monitoring Mechanism of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at national level. The main function of the Consultation Council will be provision of consultations to the National Monitoring Mechanism /the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia in the light of determining content, strategy, priorities, methodology and plan of the monitoring aimed at monitoring implementation of the convention. IDFI supports all initiatives aimed at positively influencing the social life as well as improving the health conditions of Persons with Disabilities.
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