The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities yesterday and today considered the initial report of Mongolia on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Munkhbaatar Begzjav, Deputy Minister for Population Development and Social Protection of Mongolia, said that persons with disabilities constituted some 3.3 per cent of the population and the Action Plan for the implementation of the Convention had been in place since 2013. The Law on Social Protection of People with Disabilities, adopted in 2005, had been amended three times since then. Efforts were being made to switch from the hospital-based health care to the community-based and the rights-based approach. The income of persons with disabilities mostly consisted of allowances or social welfare pensions, of which the major part was spent for medicines and expensive health care services; thus many persons with disabilities lived in poverty. Mongolia had spent around US$34 million on the social protection of 103,000 persons with disabilities in 2014.
In the interactive discussion that followed, Committee Experts praised the readiness of Mongolia to address multiple issues and reform domestic legislation in line with the Convention. The focus ought to be placed on the implementation of the existing legislation. Experts asked about inclusive education, the prohibition of experimental medical treatments, foster care and the guardianship of children with disabilities, reasonable accommodation and accessibility, as well as the training of judges and teachers. Experts asked about the results of the community-based approach to the care of persons with disabilities. Mongolia was encouraged to ensure that disability-based discrimination was legally prohibited.
In concluding remarks, Hyung Shik Kim, Committee Expert acting as Country Rapporteur for Mongolia, said many issues had been raised, including the situation of women and children with disabilities, cooperation with disability organizations and reforms in the education system. Mongolia was urged to consider those and other issues in the drafting of its new law on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Munkhbaatar Begzjav, Deputy Minister for Population Development and Social Protection of Mongolia, in concluding remarks, said that, five years since joining the Convention, the authorities were trying to involve all sectors of society and improve monitoring mechanisms. The Committee’s recommendations and suggestions would all be considered with utmost seriousness.
The delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection, Ministry of Health and Sports, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, National Rehabilitation and Development Centre, and the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Presentation of the Report
MUNKHBAATAR BEGZJAV, Deputy Minister for Population Development and Social Protection of Mongolia, said persons with disabilities constituted 3.3 per cent of the population of Mongolia, 11.4 per cent of whom were children. Mongolia had ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008 and acceded to it in 2009. It submitted its initial report in 2011 and its responses to the list of issues in 2014. The Action Plan for the implementation of the Convention was launched in 2013. The Law on Social Protection of People with Disabilities, adopted in 2005, had been amended three times. By law persons with disabilities were considered to be inactive beneficiaries of public welfare benefits but a new law on the rights of persons with disabilities was currently being drafted which would bring national legislation into conformity with the Convention.
Mr. Begzjav informed the Committee of Mongolia’s efforts to transition from providing hospital-based health care for persons with disabilities to the provision of community-based care, while ensuring a rights-based approach which created equal opportunities for all. Mongolia pursued the principle of inclusive education on the basis of equal development and educational opportunities for children with disabilities. The Government provided full tuition fees to students with disabilities and students who had two parents with disabilities. The Mongolian Sign Language Board was being currently being established. A national programme on the promotion of the employment of persons with disabilities had been implemented since 2012; under it approximately 20 per cent of persons with disabilities were working in family businesses or manufacturing, or had had permanent jobs created by employers.
Regarding accessibility, an action plan aimed to establish accessible infrastructure in housing, educational and service facilities. In the capital, around 36 per cent of Government buildings fully met the standards, and half of all public buildings met the needs of persons with disabilities. Mongolia was exploring the possibility of ratifying the Marrakech Treaty and libraries were among the public buildings that were working towards being fully accessible. The income of persons with disabilities largely consisted of allowances or social welfare pensions, of which the major part was spent on medicines and expensive health care services; thus many persons with disabilities lived in poverty. In 2014 the Government had spent around US$34 million on social protection for 103,000 persons with disabilities in 2014.
Since Mongolia’s transition to a market economy in the early 1990s its Human Development Index of Mongolia had steadily increased, as had migration of the population from rural to urban areas. The unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent at the end of 2014, and the country was in a saving mode. Mongolia was doing its best to comply with the Convention, but due to financial and economic conditions, and the lack of trained staff there were still many issues to improve upon and areas for development, Mr. Begzjav said. Mongolia recognized the importance of widening international cooperation in a number of areas and promoting inter-agency cooperation to that end.
Written by DRPI