New Commisioner needed for people with disabilities?

Moscow 6 November 2014

Deputies (MPs) have drafted a Bill to create the Institution of Presidential Commissioner of Rights of People with Disabilities


The Bill’s promoters think that the institution might make life easier for such people and the organisations that defend their rights. This is not the first time that the subject has come up.

According to Izvestia, the Bill was formulated by the deputy speaker of the State Duma, Igor Lebedev, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Yaroslav Nilov, and deputy Andrei Svintsov. Mr Nilov thinks that the measure would enhance the quality of monitoring and analysis of the current situation of people with disabilities in Russia and the work of the organisations that defend their rights. Furthermore, he thinks that it would be easier to report on the issues that they face to the highest tiers of government.

Izvestia quotes Mr Nilov as saying:

‘We think that this step should be taken because there is a significant number of people in our country with disabilities; yet no-one is actively engaged with them. The majority of them suffer because ramps are not always available. They cannot pass and repass or gain access and exit everywhere. We engage with children and businessmen but the disabled are an inseparable part of our society.’

Nadezhda Lobanova, chair of the Moscow branch of the Association for the Disabled said:

‘Setting up the institution will mean creating yet another post but I am not opposed to this. It will not be superfluous.’

In June, the Federal Commissioner for Human Rights, Ella Pamfilova, chairing a meeting of the Co-ordinating Council of Russian Commissioners for Human Rights, came out against ‘inflating’ the commissioner concept, being critical of the number of proposals that were being floated for the creation of commissioners for the rights of various categories of citizens. In 2013 a similar proposal to the present one, made by Vladimir Putin, produced varied responses from NGOs. Even then specialists were saying that if there were to be a new institution, it should not duplicate existing provision. The chair of the national society of people with disabilities, Alexander Lomakin-Rumantsev, made the additional point that the commissioner should be an independent specialist, not a civil servant.

Author: Georgy Ivanushkin

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