Following the 19th session in February, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities published its concluding observations and recommendations in relation to the initial report of the Russian Federation. It is the first time in its history that the Committee addresses recommendations to Russia. The Committee made a number of important recommendations to improve the anti-discrimination norms in the Russian Federation: abolish all restrictions on the representation of the interests of people with any form of disability in court, abolish all restrictions of the right to create a family or raise children (take measures to prevent forced sterilization of women with mental disabilities), ensure the right to separate housing.
The Committee also noted the problems raised in the alternative report submitted by ADC “Memorial”, dedicated to the discrimination against people with disabilities in the sphere of education.
Taking into account reports submitted by human rights defenders on the lack of equal rights and opportunities in obtaining higher and secondary education, UN experts drew the attention of the Russian government to the lack of sufficient measures to ensure that people with disabilities have access to educational institutions and inclusive education in all regions of the country. The Committee urged the Russian authorities to intensify efforts to create a good environment, provide funding for educational institutions and prepare a clear plan for the development of inclusive education so that people can receive a quality education irrespective of their disability.
In its report, ADC “Memorial” raised the problem of strict requirements for “medical admission” to study in higher and secondary educational institutions in the Russian Federation, that do not allow people with disabilities to exercise their right to education. Unfortunately, although the Committee recommended that all people be allowed to study, no direct recommendation has been made to abolish all medical admission.
The Committee received a huge amount of information and had to work with a wide range of problems. It is most likely that UN experts will have the opportunity in the future to delve into specific cases of discrimination related to admission in educational institutions and to protect the right of all people to education and work.