More than 300,000 persons with disabilities in Ukraine deprived of rights

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Because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine children with disabilities have been abandoned in conflict zones. File Photo: UNICEF/Alexey Filippov

A top government official from Ukraine told the UN on Thursday that because of the ongoing conflict there, no-one knew where more than 300,000 persons with disabilities were, or even whether they were alive.

Valerii Sushkevych, who's a Presidential commissioner on disability reform in Ukraine, made his announcement to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva.

For its part, the UN expert panel highlighted what it called "gaps and failures" in existing Ukrainian legislation, before expressing concern at reports of children with disabilities being abandoned in conflict areas.

Dianne Penn has more.

The news that no one knows where more than 300,000 people with disabilities are in Ukraine due to the conflict was just one of the findings of a report presented to the UN panel in Geneva.

The UN body also heard how children with disabilities have been abandoned in conflict zones.

One of the officials delivering Ukraine's report to the UN was Valerii Sushkevych, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He told the UN committee that the Ukrainian government was unable to ensure the rights of people with disabilities.

The country's delegation also said that Ukraine is relying on the United Nations to help protect persons with disabilities in occupied territories and areas of military activity.

Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Social affairs, Vasyl Shevchenko, was also at the hearing to present his country's first report on disability rights.

The minister pointed to an increase in the number of children with disabilities in education, up 10 per cent compared to last year.

But he said that there had been several waves of immigration from fighting zones in the last 16 months, which include some 60,000 people with disabilities.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’14″

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