Rights of people with disabilities

The Chapter is prepared by B. Moisa, the expert analyst of UHHRU.

According to the Ministry of Social Policy the total number of people with disabilities in Ukraine (without temporarily occupied territories of the Crimea and Sevastopol) was 2,568,532 persons (or 5,98% in general structure of resident population of the country (42,9 million people) as of January 01, 2015, including: people with disabilities of the I group – 251,833 persons; people with disabilities of the II group – 915,891 persons; people with disabilities of the III group – 1,249,683 persons, children with disabilities – 151,125 people (44% girls, 56% boys).[1]

There is a disturbing fact that the state does not actually possess the information on a status of persons with disabilities, residing in the territory of certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, temporarily not controlled by the government.

Despite the initiation of terminology review to describe people with disabilities in 2015, the case has practically not gotten off the ground. The Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities has confirmed in the Final findings that use of the terms “the disabled person”, “the person with disabilities” by Ukraine does not conform to requirements of the Convention.[2]

At the same time, the findings of the Committee show that despite the declaration of social model, the state does not implement the policy on disability, which would be based on the principles of human rights. The disability issues are not included to the general programs, and they are accepted separately.[3]

The number of children with disability is constantly increasing, as a result of the prevalence of diseases among children. The disability is determined to 16 thousand children only for the last year. 20% of children with disabilities are in the residential institutions, for support of which the state spends annually up to six billion UAH. The most part are spent not on needs of the child, but on maintenance of buildings of institutions, personnel salary etc.[4][5]

The reports on ill treatment cases against children with disabilities in the residential institutions continue to disturb the society. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has not disregarded the specified problem too: “It (the Committee) is particularly concerned about reports on sexual abuse of children with disabilities and their exploitation in the boarding schools, as well as their illegal transportation abroad. It is also concerned about bad conditions in care institutions for such children, including the lack of rehabilitation programs and the lack of conditions for private life, and it is especially disturbed by reports of death of children with disabilities in special institutions due to the diseases, associated with malnutrition”.[6]

It seems that there are two parallel processes towards the creation of free environment. On the one hand, the organizations, serving the interest of people with disabilities, successfully persuade the public opinion to their side, including by means of mass media. On the other hand, the state tries not only to absolve itself of the responsibility for control over observance of building regulations and state standards, but is very often their violator. Moreover, the state actually does not perform monitoring of the Action Plan on creation of the free environment for people with limited mobility for 2009-2015 “the Barrier-Free Ukraine”. Despite the tasks of “National Action Plan for Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons for the Period until 2020” about introduction of the draft law, which would strengthen the control over the accessibility of buildings and infrastructure, the authorities often act with the legislative initiatives, having the opposite goal.

The draft law “On Peculiarities of Implementation of the State Supervision (Control) over Economic Activity” was adopted in the first reading on November 13, 2015, which offers to extend, in particular, the moratorium on carrying out inspections until June 30, 2016. By the way, the moratorium on carrying out inspections, declared by the government, has led to the fact that a significant number of objects (buildings, infrastructure) are accepted with violation of state standards and the state building regulations. Despite formal assignment of responsibility for observance of building regulations on the building owner, the problem is still the control over project under construction in the relations “customer –designer –building organization”.

At the same time, not only buildings, but also services are unavailable. For example, one of children’s entertainment centers did not let the child in a wheelchair go into the territory of a playground, requiring to pick it up in arms or sit on an ottoman, explaining that the wheelchair is dirty and constitutes danger to other children and go with the wheelchair is forbidden at all[7].

We are making some attempts to solve the system problems of access to information for people with disabilities. The positive one is the adoption of the draft law “On Amendments to Some Legal Acts of Ukraine on Increasing the Access for Blind People, Persons with Vision Disabilities and Patients with a Dyslexia to the Published Works in a Special Format”, analysis of which is performed in the previous report of human rights organizations.[8]

The State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting has approved methodology for monitoring of websites of authorities, among the criteria of which the coefficient of information availability (CIA) is established, which is used to assess the level of availability ensuring for perception of information posted on websites by people with vision and hearing disabilities. Welcoming the inclusion of such criterion to monitoring, we should expect that its application will be in accordance with the International Standards on Screen Access for Persons with Disabilities.[9]

What is reassuring is that the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting promulgated the draft law for public discussion, which aims to improve access to information for persons with hearing disabilities. The draft law, in particular, obliges the television organizations (regardless of ownership) to duplicate the official notifications of authorities, notifications on emergency situations into sign language or to titrate them; provides that the election propaganda, the selective advertising, announcements of election results should be translated into the sign language or their corresponding titration should be performed; confers responsibility for accuracy of translation into the sign language on the television organizations; the gradual increase in a share of daily broadcasting, which is translated into the sign language or titrated, is provided from 10% in 2017 up to 50% in 2020.[10]

The access to information by persons with the intellectual and psychosocial disabilities is still the serious problem as in the previous years. “The simplified reading” format, other intensifying formats are not introduced into the legal framework.

Despite formal introduction of the inclusive education, the number of children, who study under the inclusive conditions, is low. There are 151,000 children with disabilities, 2,700 – study in the inclusive classes, 5,200 – in the special classes, nearly 40,000 are in boarding schools, 55,000 – are on individual training. The vast majority of secondary schools are still architecturally unavailable. Only 91 from 17,000 secondary schools have access to the first floor for children, who move by means of wheelchairs, 25% of schools have no access even to the ground floor. However, the inclusive education is cheaper than education in the boarding schools – 20 thousand UAH per year against 80 thousand per year respectively. [11]

Unfortunately, some legislative initiatives can negatively affect the implementation of inclusive training. Thus, the Draft Law “On Education of Persons with Disabilities (Special Education)”[12] offers to consolidate the child’s right to the special education that could jeopardize efforts towards the inclusive education.

The first version of the Draft Law of Ukraine “On Education”[13], introduced for consideration of the Parliament, does not give the system answer to a question about education of persons with special educational needs.

According to the Ministry of Social Policy, 730 thousand persons with disability are considered to be employed that makes 30% of total number of persons with disability. However, we must recognize that the state does not actually create conditions for their employment in the public labor market. Except the obligatory regulation concerning the number of workplaces, no other incentive measures are either absent or their implementation is almost impossible. Thus, none of employers had used the subsidy for creation of a workplace during 2015.



  1. Amend the legislative and regulatory legal acts, having provided the compliance of terminology of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for designation of disability.
  2. Provide the inclusion of the disability issue into the social and economic development programs.
  3. Develop and implement a strategy for deinstitutionalization of services for people with disabilities and children with disabilities, including services on the supported accommodation.
  4. Immediately submit the Draft Law of Ukraine “Fundamentals of the Legislation on Guardianship and Custody over Adult Persons, Who are Recognized as Those, Who are under the Disability or Capacity of Whose is Limited” to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
  5. Immediately submit the Draft Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Legislative Acts to Improve Access to Information for Persons with Hearing Disabilities” to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
  6. Develop and submit the draft legislative act on introduction of audio commenting to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
  7. Develop measures for encouragement of the public sector employers, the open labor market for employment of persons with disabilities, in particular, to consider the possibility of a compensation for expenses on providing the reasonable adaptation.
  8. Bring the programs of social protection and rehabilitation to conformity with provisions and practice of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in particular, to provide their orientation towards the greatest possible autonomy of the person with disability.

[1] National Report on Measures Taken to Implement the Commitments by Ukraine within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons. – Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine. – 2015 – P. – 7. [Electronic resource]. – access mode:

[2] CRPD Concluding observation Ukraine. [Electronic resource]. – Access mode:

[3] Ibid.

[4] Alternative Report on Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons. – Authorized Representative of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights. – 2015. – P. 10,

[5] It is necessary to create equal conditions for education, health care and recreation for the children with disabilities – Mykola Kuleba:

[6] CRPD Concluding observation Ukraine.:

[7] Tolerance test: Are playgrounds accessible for children with disabilities. //

[8] Human rights in Ukraine: the first half of 2015. Scientific publications. Edited by: А. B. Blaha, О. А . Martynenko /

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. — Kyiv, 2015. – P. 160. [Electronic resource]. Access mode:

[9] Order No. 118 dated June 08, 2015 of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine “On Approval of Procedure for Conduct of the Information Filling of the Official Websites of Executive Authorities by the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting”. //

[10] Draft Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine to Improve Access to Information of Persons with Hearing Disabilities”. [Electronic resource]. – Access mode:

[11] From speech of the Authorized Representative of the President of Ukraine on Children’s Rights M. Kuleba at the parliamentary hearings on the draft law “On Education”.

[12] The draft law On Education of Persons with Disabilities (Special Education) No. 3416 dated November 05, 2015 (author О. Feldman). //

[13] The draft law On Education No. 3491 dated November 19, 2015 //

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