The Government of Turkmenistan reinforces its commitment to the realization of the rights of children with disabilities
ASHGABAT, 30 November 2012 – On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Government of Turkmenistan has reinforced its commitment and the accelerated efforts it will take to realize the rights of children with disabilities and their families at a high level policy consultation organized in partnership with UNICEF.
Turkmenistan was one of the first countries in the region to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008 and has a wealth of resources to ensure the full and effective participation of children with disabilities in society on an equal basis with others.
The consultation provided a special opportunity to review progress towards the implementation of the Convention and further elaboration on areas such as early childhood development, inclusive education, and the importance of support for families. It was the first time high level representation from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and Medical Industry, Education, Labour and Social Protection, Finance, as well as from the Parliament and national institutions, media, NGOs, international development agencies and diplomatic missions came together to discuss ways to create a more inclusive, enabling and empowering society for all children.
The event was opened by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vepa Hajiyev, who emphasised the Government’s increasing investments in social sector, especially in the area of children’s survival and development. “Turkmenistan demonstrates its strong political will to implement obligations under major international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Turkmenistan high level delegation has recently participated in the Sofia Ministerial Conference on ending the placement of children under three, especially, children with disabilities, in institutional care. This shows the Government’s readiness to engage in effective strategies towards wellbeing of all children of the country,” he noted.
“The issue of disability is now being placed high on the development agenda for children in Turkmenistan. Today the Government reaffirmed its commitment to actions for children with disabilities,” remarked UNICEF Turkmenistan Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov following the event. UNICEF also called for a shift in the way people think about disability. There is a need to move from an approach largely rooted in terms of medical and rehabilitative needs, towards reframing disability in terms of human rights, with a strong focus on equity and social inclusion.
In line with the theme for this year’s International Day, “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all” a major focus of the discussions were on the importance of ensuring national priorities for children include children with disabilities and existing barriers to realize the rights for children with disabilities are removed.
During the meeting the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF committed to work closely to implement and monitor the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As such, the participants recognized the need to develop a national action plan that would outline how the Government plans to ensure full and effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
On this occasion, all stakeholders agreed to further promote an open dialogue on disability issues and develop strong coordination mechanisms, informed by better data and statistics, that will help monitor the realization of the rights of children with disabilities.
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Ms. Alena Sialchonak