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UN expert on the rights of persons with disabilities to visit Kazakhstan

GENEVA  (31 August  2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Catalina Devandas will undertake an official visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan from 4 to 12 September 2017 to assess the human rights situation of persons with disabilities and the Government’s efforts in this respect.

The Special Rapporteur will conduct her visit to Kazakhstan at a moment where the country is planning ahead how to meet its development objectives for the upcoming 30 years, including by considering how the global 2030 Agenda fits with its domestic priorities. The State has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in February 2015. The Special Rapporteur would like to know how persons with disabilities are participating in these national processes and whether they have also benefitted from the country’s prosperity over the past 15 years.

“Kazakhstan is at a highly favourable conjuncture where it can set the foundations of an inclusive society in which persons with disabilities have an equal role to play with regards to the development of the nation, provided that the Government makes sure that its commitments to the disability agenda are built on a human rights understanding and backed up with well-planned action and resources,” Ms. Devandas said. 

The Special Rapporteur will pay special attention to the country’s efforts in the areas of inclusive education, social protection and support services, legal capacity and mental health. She will also look into the ways in which the Government is coordinating its work across levels of administration and areas of intervention, as well as their monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

The expert, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet representatives of the central and local governments, non-governmental organizations, representatives of international organizations and the wider community of development partners. She will visit the cities of Astana and Almaty.

“I am eager to learn about the Government’s progress with regards to creating the conditions enabling persons with disabilities to live independently, become valuable members of their communities and prevent their placement in segregated institutions. I am looking forward to engage in constructive dialogue with the authorities on how to accelerate the domestic implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” she emphasized.

The rights expert will share her preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held at the end of his mission, at 12.15 p.m. on 12 September 2017 at the United Nations premises in Astana. Copies of her end of mission statement and press release will be available in English and Russian. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur’s final report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.


Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica) took office as the first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 1 December 2014, following Human Rights Council resolution 26/20 establishing the new special procedures mandate. The creation of this mandate recalls the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with disabilities to be guaranteed the full enjoyment of these rights and freedoms without discrimination. It signals that further attention is needed to address the barriers that persons with disabilities continue to face in all parts of the world in their participation as equal members of society.

Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
(*) The full report by Catalina Devandas Aguilar is available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/SRDisabilities/Pages/Reports.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact or Alina Grigoras (+41 22 91 79289 / agrigoras@ohchr.org) Cristina Michels (+41 22 928 98 66 / cmichels@ohchr.org) or write to sr.disability@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
You can access this press release online

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