UN disability convention needs amending
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities needs to be amended
Organisations in Russia representing persons with disabilities and which are members of the Coalition “Education for All” have written to the UN with draft amendments to Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Russian NGOs have joined the process of proposing amendments for the first time.
Their main proposals are that the competence of teachers of children with disabilities needs to be raised, and that access for them to inclusive education should be guaranteed, irrespective of geographical, transport, organisational and other obstacles.
Russia ratified the Convention in 2012. Article 24 states that states party to it will ensure access for persons with disabilities to education at all levels and throughout their lives. The right of initiative to propose amendments is held by the international organisation Inclusion Europe, which collects recommendations from NGOs and forwards them to the UN. This year the Russian NGO “Education for All” joined the process. It represents 15 regional NGOs supporting inclusive education in Russia.
“In the process of implementing the Convention it becomes clear to member states what needs to be changed; this is a normal practice in the UN” said Denise Roza, Director of Russian NGO Perspektiva. “NGOs involved in the coalition have been promoting inclusive education in Russia for more than ten years, so that is why we have used our experience to suggest how to make this article of the Convention more effective”.
Apart from recommending better training for teachers and access by children to inclusive education, other recommendations in their proposal include better accountability for funding to secondary schools to provide inclusive education to ensure more effective spending of such funds; and to strengthen the parts of the document which cover the whole process of education from early intervention through primary, secondary and then higher and professional education.