The Wife of the President, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, participated and addressed the second thematic discussion “Unpacking the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to the right to an independent life of persons with disabilities”, which was held in the Cabinet of the President, organized by the Office of the United Nations Development Program in North Macedonia – UNDP.
Pointing out that today’s discussion is aimed at public support for people with disabilities, Ms. Gjorgievska said that it is also an opportunity to start real changes.
According to the President’s Wife, the “United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, ratified in North Macedonia in 2011, lists the basic principles of a truly just and inclusive society, which we also stand for. She added that, unfortunately, many of these principles have not yet been achieved, and this is confirmed by the Analysis of the situation with the rights of persons with disabilities in the Republic of North Macedonia, made in 2021 by the UN agencies in the country and local experts.
“The uneven progress when it comes to the rights of women and girls with disabilities is also noticeable. Their rights are an integral part of the wider struggle for gender equality and social justice. I would like to address the double marginalization in their case. Of course, the challenges they face are not small, and they also face challenges related to gender inequality. A reality that often remains under the layers of discrimination and lack of empathy”, Ms. Gjorgievska said, adding that it is our duty to protect the right to equality, to expose prejudices and to create an environment in which the marginalized and vulnerable are not forgotten or ignored.
Reaffirming her personal commitment and support for achieving the main goal of the UN Convention: promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities, as well as promoting respect for their inherent dignity, Gjorgievska called to work together to achieve this goal, by embodying the words in limitless possibilities for people with disabilities.
The representative of the United Nations Development Program, Armen Grigoryan, emphasized the importance of the support of the international community for ensuring equal opportunities for everyone in society.
“The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the basis of our work, which reaffirms the commitment that all persons with disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms, but at the same time protect the dignity of persons with disabilities. UNDP implements a series of project activities together with persons with disabilities, directly aimed at them, where special attention is paid to creating conditions and opportunities for their activation in the labor market, access to quality education and training, with the aim of their full inclusion and independent living in the community on an equal basis with everyone”, Grigoryan stressed.
Elena Kochovska from the Polio Plus Movement said that every action, every measure and thought of the actors or centers of power should be in accordance with the principles of the 8+1 package because these are tools by which people with disabilities will enjoy civil and political rights. According to her, independent living depends above all on the acceptance of their diversity, of their condition as part of human diversity, acceptance and promotion of their identity, while these 3 principles round off the human rights approach indicated by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The thematic discussion was organized with the aim of raising the level of understanding and awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities among the holders of the rights themselves, as well as informing the public about the situation and the commitments of all stakeholders in terms of identifying the challenges they face and the need for support to strengthen the capacities to overcome them. Ines Bulic Kozokariu, Director of the Secretariat of the European Network for Independent Living – ENIL, and Suela Lala, member of the Board of Directors of the European Network for Independent Living – ENIL, also participated in the discussion.
The event, which is implemented with the support of the President’s Wife, is part of the activity within the joint project of the UN organizations – UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA “From knowledge and engagement – to strengthening and participation”, with the ministries of labor and social policy, education and health and organizations that represent persons with disabilities.