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Välisminister Keit Pentus-Rosimannuse sõnavõtt Puuetega inimeste konventsiooni osalisriikide 8.istungil

09.06.2015

Mr. President, Excellences,

distinguished members of delegations and the civil society,

 

 Estonia aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, and would like to offer some additional remarks in our national capacity

Everybody has the right for self-realization and thereby for happiness and well-being. Nobody deserves to suffer hunger and need. Disabled persons are one of the risk groups for poverty, as they often have to cope with a significantly lower income than the rest of the population. Instead of wages and salaries their main source of income is often social allowances and pensions. Encouraging and enabling people with disabilities to work helps them to emerge from poverty.

Throughout more than two decades after regaining the independence, Estonia has been exceedingly attentive to the rights of persons with disabilities. The general awareness about the rights of disabled persons has significantly risen in recent years. The problematic bottlenecks are being widely discussed publicly which certainly provides solid ground for best possible solutions.

However, the statistical data proves that much still remains to be done to improve the living standard of disabled persons. In 2013, 5,6% of persons with disabilities in Estonia lived below the absolute poverty rate. This is why the Estonian newly formed government has put the concern of widespread poverty amongst disabled people high on the agenda.

Estonia is about to undergo a comprehensive work ability reform, which entails encouraging and enabling disabled persons to be more integrated to the labour market. The reform is aiming to provide better labour market services and social welfare system to improve the employment possibilities for persons with disabilities.

Also educational structure has to be adjusted accordingly. Inclusive education is one of the principal preconditions ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities in entering the labour market. Thus the Government has set focus on promoting a smooth transition of young people with disabilities from the general education system to vocational education and training, and then to the labour market. This would be supported by a combination of social work together with various forms of social entrepreneurship.

The main responsibility to set out clear strategy for disability policy in Estonia lies on the Ministry of Social Affairs. Right now the Ministry is drafting a Social Protection, Inclusion and Equal Opportunities Development Plan for the years 2016-2023 that addresses the issue of preventing poverty of people with disabilities.

In order to make better decisions they need to be based on precise data. In Estonia the statistics about persons with disabilities are collected from several administrative databases, as well as by different sample surveys. On the national level Statistics Board and the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs are the two main institutions that collect respective data and conduct special analyses and regular researches.

To give you an example – the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia is about to conduct a periodic Survey on Disabled Persons and the Care Burden of their Family Members, which allows us to monitor and evaluate the information concerning the current situation of persons with disabilities in Estonia.

Thus we are monitoring the progress and shortcomings of implementing the Convention and we will use this information to take appropriate actions to meet the obligations under the Convention. The ratification of the Convention has provided a new impetus for Estonia in providing greater inclusion of disabled people in all areas of social life.

Mr Chairman, let me stress that we strongly support the idea that disability matters must be addressed in an effective way in the post-2015 development agenda. In this context I am glad to note that the report of the Open ended working Group of  the Sustainable Development Goals includes the issues of equal access to all levels of education and vocational training as well as the need to ensure decent work for the persons with disabilities.

We should all aim towards the goal of the convention: to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.  Thank you.

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