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Public Defender responds to derogatory statements against people with disability

The office of the Public Defender of the Georgia has responded strongly against the statement given by some high-ranked official as well as the politicians on people with special needs(people with disability).

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Tbilisi: The office of the Public Defender of the Georgia has responded strongly against the statement given by some high-ranked official as well as the politicians on people with special needs(people with disability). The defender’s office termed these statements derogatory and can expose the person with disabilities to exploitation in public places.

According to the office of the Georgian  Public Defender, Referring to the term “autism” in a derogatory context is unacceptable  as it contributes to the consolidation of strongly rooted social stigma and misconceptions in society towards persons with disabilities. Moreover these statements will  leads to the alienation of society towards these persons and creates the danger that they may be discriminated against them in the future.

The office also added that  the wrong stereotypical views formed in society can in future cause serious psycho-emotional trauma to disabled people and their family members. The politicians and the officials must refrain from issuing such statements also.

It is worth to mention that in Georgia people with disabilities  including people with autism and mental health problems  still have a high level of stigma and stereotypes, which is why they often become victims of discrimination while enjoying basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time against this background of their vulnerability the statements containing biased speech by politicians and public figures,   further reinforce existing stereotypes and contribute to the formation of wrong attitudes.

Moreover  politicians and public figures have a special obligation not to make false, stereotypical statements or use hate speech in public  debates which can cause the huge damage to the rights of the disable people or any other vulnerable section of the society.

According to the provision of article 8 of the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” the  member states are duty bound  to take appropriate measures to ensure respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Accordingly, the Public Defender of Georgia considers it important for the state to carry out measures aimed at raising public awareness and urges everyone to refrain from statements expressing stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes towards people with disabilities.

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