Opening Georgian Parliament to People with Disabilities

Nov 28, 2017

Photo: Vladimer Valishvili/UNDP

The Parliament of Georgia will rearrange its premises to ensure easy access for people with mobility and vision impairments. A concept note “Accessible Parliament for All”, which describes some major changes that will be introduced to the Parliament’s building in Tbilisi, was presented to the public on November 28, 2017.        

The event brought together Members of Parliament, representatives of the Georgian Government, civil society and international organizations, as well as the associations of people with disability.

The concept note “Accessible Parliament for All” was developed by the Parliament of Georgia in partnership with the Georgian non-governmental organization “Mariani”. The initiative was supported by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

“It is encouraging to see that public spaces in Georgia open up for people with disabilities. The European Union contributes to adapting public transport, public service halls, legal aid offices and now the building of Parliament, ensuring the adequate access and equal participation for all”, Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga, Head of Political, Press and Information Section of the Delegation of the European Union in Georgia, said.

Irina Pruidze, Chair of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance; Rati Ionatamishvili, Deputy Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee; and Mariam Mikiashvili, Director of the NGO “Mariani”, introduced the open parliament initiatives and a detailed concept “Accessible Parliament for All”, focusing on the changes that will be introduced to the physical environment of the Georgian Parliament.  

Some of the required modifications include the instalment of ramps, wheelchair lifts and elevating platforms for people with mobility impairments, and laying out tactile path and maps for visually impaired. The changes will affect all key areas in the Parliament’s Tbilisi building, including the entrances, staircases, corridors, meeting rooms, conference halls, bathrooms and cafeteria.

By endorsing the Accessible Parliament plan, the Parliament of Georgia joins the ongoing Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) on November 20-30, 2017, which promotes advocacy and innovative initiatives aiming to increase legislative openness.

Accessible Parliament is part of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan adopted in 2017, in line with the principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. Georgia is the OGP chair this year, and one of the world countries subscribed to the principles of Open Parliament and Legislative Openness.

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