Laws to improve situation for disabled

2016 legislation changes aim to improve the situation of the disabled


New amendments to legislation governing disability support should have a significant positive impact, believes Aleksandr Ryavkin, president of the White Cane charitable foundation.

On 1 January 2016 Federal Law no. 419-F3 entered into force. Titled ‘On the introduction of amendments to selected legislative acts of the Russian Federation on the question of social protection for the disabled in connection with the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’, the bill provides amendments to procedures for establishing disability, introduces the idea of individual rehabilitation programmes, launches a federal register of persons with disabilities, and promotes the creation of a barrier-free environment.

“All state and municipal bodies will be obliged to provide easy access to their facilities. In my view, this is one of the most important requirements. Its successful implementation will be determined by the ability of the regional authorities to act as effective managers within their territories”, believes Ryavkin. “Speaking frankly, the past year has not provided cause for optimism in this respect. However, I hope that criticism from influential organisations such as the All-Russia People’s Front, the All-Russia Association of the Blind, and the All-Russia Society of Disabled People will have an impact. In addition, approaching elections may force particularly sluggish officials into action”.

According to the director of White Cane, an important innovation was the adoption of the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, including in employment, which will now be punishable by an administrative fine. However, Ryavkin believes that employers who reject applicants solely on the grounds of disability may nonetheless find loopholes in the legislation.

“As someone who knows first-hand how business works, I suppose employers can cite the incompetence of potential employees or excessively high salary expectations and so on. I cannot see a clear mechanism which would resolve this without bringing the matter to court. On the other hand, Ryavkin cautions that “this must not be used by politically motivated groups without any relation to those with disabilities to justify unlawful pressure on business”.

Author: Irina Laktyushina

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