New research by WISERD Co-Director, Professor Paul Chaney, analyses civil society organisations’ (CSOs’) perspectives on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Over the past decade, the majority of CIS countries have finally ratified the CRPD, offering new rights for the region’s 15.4 million persons with a disability. The study analyses hundreds of civil society organisations’ views on CRDP implementation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
It reveals ongoing rights violations that constitute real challenges owing to their systemic nature. Crucially, they relate to the public policy-making process. Those with a disability experience barriers to shaping policy and accessing welfare, as political elites hang-on to ‘top-down’ governing styles and outdated medical conceptions of disability (‘defectology’ in the parlance of the Soviet era).
Our new research identifies a ‘disconnect’ between state and civil spheres that is hampering effective CRPD implementation based on partnership working and knowledge exchange. It shows how, in their CRDP implementation efforts, governments across the CIS place emphasis on notions of ‘help’, ‘protection’ and ‘needs’ – and policy areas like health and social care. This points to the endurance of the Medical Model of Disability.
In contrast, in its critical pressure for reform, the civil society discourse places greater accent on frames that resonate with the Social Model (including: ‘rights’, ‘independence’, ‘participation’, ‘representation’ and ‘overcoming barriers’).
Chaney, P. (2020 forthcoming) Civil Society, Rights and Welfare: Exploring the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the [Post-Soviet] Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe Asia Studies, Routledge T & F, Online ISSN: 1465-3427