On 3 December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Head of the United Nations in Georgia, Louisa Vinton; Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia and Armenia, H.E. Ulrik Tideström; and First Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia, Mikheil Sarjveladze, visited the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi to see the results of their joint work aiming to adapt Georgia’s public space and services to the needs of people with disabilities.
The guests met with the Public Service Hall management and staff and joined a sign language training for the operators.
“The United Nations firmly believes that equal rights and equal opportunities are the foundation of sustainable development that leaves no one behind,” said Louisa Vinton, Head of the United Nations in Georgia. “The Public Service Hall is an example of Georgia’s evident progress in building an inclusive environment and public services. However, we still look forward to seeing more developments in adopting the legislation and polices that will help Georgia move forward in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
The Public Service Hall is one of the few public offices in Georgia where the physical space has been fully adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, including wheelchair users and people with visual and hearing impairments.
As a next step to an inclusive and equal environment, the Public Service Hall is now adapting its services. Over 750 operators are undergoing a specialised training in delivering services to people with disabilities. Twenty operators have been trained in sign language. 50 new signs were created and introduced to the Georgian sign language to cover all key areas of public services. The first ever public service in Georgian sign language was delivered in November 2018.
In addition, the Public Service Hall has prepared and published the guidelines about delivering public services to people with disabilities that can be applied to all public agencies in Georgia.
Many of these initiatives, have been implemented with assistance from the international partners, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Government of Sweden and the European Union.
“Sweden has a long experience of introducing inclusive polices that give people with disabilities a greater chance of participating in society on the same terms as others. We are privileged to share this experience with Georgia and assist in creating an inclusive and equal society,” said H.E. Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia and Armenia.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year on 3 December. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The 2018 theme of the day, “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, focuses on the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.