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Estonian Statement at the 6th Session of the CRPD Conference of State Parties


Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished members of delegations and the civil society,

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

Thank you for the opportunity to provide our input to the discussions of this distinguished body. It is my honour to be the first to take the floor for Estonia at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since our ratification of the Convention in May 2012. I can assure that Estonia is attentive to the rights of persons with disabilities, we have come a long way since regaining our independence from the Soviet Union 21 years ago. Non-discrimination of people with disabilities is guaranteed by our Constitution and the special Equal Treatment Act while, in addition our national health policy  2020 has dedicated one of five key areas on empowerment and inclusion in order to reduce health and other inequalities. In Estonia we feel strong commitment to persons with disabilities and want to take a step further. On legislative side we are planning a dedicated new Strategy on Equal Opportunities and Social Security, which will provide a vision and roadmap for the whole field and intends to bring together all existing and planned actions and resources in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr President,

On practical side I would like to bring two examples.

First, ICT – after 22 years of rapid development, Estonia is the country with the highest level of Internet freedom in the world and with possibly the best e-solutions in the world. Our e-solutions help people with disabilities like everyone else in the public. As an example, a private company can be started online in only five minutes, voting in parliamentary elections can be done online and recurrent prescriptions can be renewed online with medication to be picked up in any pharmacy in the country. The list of examples of e-solutions goes on with common trait that these help to reduce barriers and build a more inclusive society. I will speak on use of e-solutions to promote inclusive society in Estonia at the informal panel on Community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society on Thursday afternoon.

Second, one of the important actions already in development is the reform of insurance system for people with reduced ability to work due to various health reasons. This reform gives further focus on services to prevent incapacity to work and expediate restoration of ability to work as well as on accommodating work environment for people with disabilities. Overall, this marks a paradigmatic shift toward earlier and more active interventions to secure better employment options for people with disabilities and thus ensure adequate level of living for them.

In conclusion I would like to underline that economic empowerment of people with disability is important not only for the person but also for the economic development of the state.

Thank you.


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