Identifying the difficult situation of persons with disabilities and their families, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol on 13 December 2006. On 30th of March 2007, the Convention was opened for signature and the same day, the Convention was signed by 82 UN Member States, among which our country as well.
Four years have past since then, and yet, the Republic of Macedonia has not shown initiatives regarding the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In fact, our country is among the last countries in the region that have not ratified the Convention. It is important to note that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is ratified and went into effect in all 27 EU Member States.
Therefore, the Republic Center for Support of Persons with Intellectual Disability – PORAKA, in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute for International Relations (NDI), realized an initiative, which directly addressed all political subjects in our country. This initiative under the motto “Rights to Become Reality – 100 Days for Ratification” refers to the need of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Macedonia. Having in mind that Macedonia is preparing for early parliamentary elections, in cooperation with the Marketing Agency Genessis, PORAKA prepared Pledge Card, which has been delivered to 10 political parties. With this Pledge Card the political parties were asked to commit that the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be put on the political agenda in the first 100 days from constituting the new Government.
The initiative “Rights to Become Reality – 100 Days for Ratification” began on 27.04.2011 with a press conference and finished on 13.05.2011. During this period, media information was organized relating to the current situation of persons with disability and their families in Republic of Macedonia and concerning the need for promoting their fundamental rights and freedoms. Most of the political parties shown interest regarding the initiative “Rights to Become Reality – 100 Days for Ratification” and signed the Pledge Card. By doing so, they committed themselves that their representatives will pledge for ratification of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disability in the new structure of the Assembly of RM.
In order not to label this initiative as political, it ended on 13.05.2011 before the official start of the political parties’ election campaigns. The end of the initiative was again marked with a press conference where PORAKA informed the public which political parties have signed the initiative. But our efforts and activities will continue until Republic of Macedonia ratifies the UN Convention.
Why is the ratification of the Convention important to us? The Convention emphasizes the paradigm shift regarding the relations, approaches and acceptance of persons with disability, from objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards their acceptance as equal citizens with rights, needs and opportunities to contribute in the society. By ratifying the Convention, the State demonstrates its social-developmental determination in policy-making processes and building democratic society with equal rights and opportunities for its citizens. It has to be noted that the Convention does not introduce or create new rights. The Convention, in fact clarifies the way and the mechanism for implementation of the already existing rights considering the specifics of the disability.