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President of RA National Assembly Ara Babloyan Holds Working Consultation on Theme on Problems of Children with Disabilities
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On June 29, stemming from the recommendations of recorded in the extraordinary public report on the Situation of the Implementation of the Obligation Established by the UN Convention and the Enclosed Protocols on the Child’s Rights by the RA of the RA Human Rights Defender in 2018 and the priorities of the children’s priorities highlighted in the RA Government programme, on the initiative of the RA NA President Ara Babloyan a working consultation on the theme on Problems of Children with Disabilities was held in the National Assembly.

The RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, the RA Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan, the RA Minister of Education and Science Araik Harutyunyan, the Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on Health and Social Affairs Hakob Hakobyan, the Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Vardan Bostanjyan, representatives and experts of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population’s Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) took part in the consultation.

The RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan made a key report, touching upon the problems mentioned in the report and the presented recommendations.

In his word he has noted that the UN Children's Rights Committee has expressed regret that the programs and the strategies being implemented in Armenia do not provide sufficient financial means and mainly are relied on the financing of the international organizations, and the National Committee on Children's Protection does not still effectively function. Touching upon the problems of the children with the disabilities, Arman Tatoyan has underlined that the free services of disclosure of disabilities and rehabilitation, the formal inclusive education are not accessible or completely inaccessible especially in the pre-school phase.

The RA NA President Ara Babloyan presented a comprehensive model of the Prevention and Social Inclusion (Integration) of the Children with Disabilities, supposing the continuous and coordinated work of the health, educational and social spheres. In Ara Babloyan’s word, if that important principle is preserved the disability becomes possible to prevent, and if it is not even possible to prevent, then in case of revealing the availability of the disability beginning from the early phase of the life cycle, showing necessary intervention it is fully realistic to provide the child’s further complete involvement in the public life with the help of complex services and events. The Head of the parliament has noted that one of the important peculiarities of the model being proposed is that rehabilitation services, opportunity for getting knowledge and full care under the auspice of the state, community and family are guaranteed. According to Ara Babloyan, such an important approach is laid in the basis of the model, as the 'family centred' approach, when the complete integration to the public life takes place with the active participation of the family.

Presenting the model, the NA President stressed that we should undertake complex events in order the supposing the services would also be accessible outside and especially in the remote regions.

The Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on Health and Social Affairs Hakob Hakobyan recorded that in 2017 the Family Code was improved and complied with the RA new Constitution. According to new reforms, the notion 'child's best interest' was included and in accordance with it in the future the changes of the social programs concerning the children would be noticeable. Hakob Hakobyan has also noted that the RA draft law on Protection of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities and Their social Inclusion is under debate in the second reading in the Committee and already in autumn would be completely passed. Solutions were given to a number of problems in the draft law.

In his word, the RA Minister of Education and Science Araik Harutyunyan highlighted the development of the inclusive education, the special approach towards the children needing special care and their parents and the work being done with them by the specialists. The minister has noted that as a result of consistent works we should exclude, for example, such cases, when the parents of the children with disabilities are not decently informed about the inclusive education and the advantages and opportunities of the rehabilitation programs.

The Head of the UNICEF Educational Programs Alvard Poghosyan attending the conference presented a video clip telling about the children needing special educational conditions.

In his final speech the Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan highly assessed the NA President's initiated discussion, underlining that a number of problems were raised and concrete solutions were proposed. According to him, the meeting with this format is the best example of inter-institutional cooperation.

As a result of consultation a decision was made:

*To make the problems raised in the Human Rights Defender's report a matter of discussion, work out proposals for legislative solutions, to make legislative initiatives in the relevant circles of the government and as a result of other beneficiaries for making legislative amendments in the National Assembly,

*A proposal was made to appoint the RA Prime Minister as Head of the National Committee on Protection of Child's Rights for implementing effective coordination between the state bodies.

*To implement works for reserving necessary authorities to the National Committee on Protection of Child's Rights, providing human, technical and financial adequate resources,

*To pay attention and make efforts for providing accessibility of services and adequate care for the children with disabilities living especially in the rural settlements and in more unfavourable conditions,

*To pay special attention to the prevention programs and strategies of disabilities, emphasizing especially the educational, as well as newborn screening programs aimed at reproductive and sexual health,

*To continue making efforts for the children with disabilities, so they can stay in their families and have further public integration under the auspice of the family.

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