People with disabilities represent one of the biggest vulnerable groups in Azerbaijan which amounts to 613,654 people, or 6.2% of the total population. Azerbaijan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and its Optional Protocol in January 2009. The main legislative acts and national strategies of the Republic of Azerbaijan provide a good basis for the protection of the human rights of people with disabilities. Over the past decade, the Government has invested into improving social protection and delivery of special services for the PwDs, including medical rehabilitation, access to public space, transport, and sport facilities.
However, these efforts are not yet sufficient and do not always translate into the real opportunities for the disabled. PwDs are still rarely seen in public due to lack of adequate infrastructure; continue to have higher unemployment rate than the national average, and face obstacles in accessing employment and other types of services.
The proposed Programme is a 0.9 Million USD joint programme funded by the Government of Azerbaijan, and co-funded by UNDP and UNFPA.
The joint programme aims to complement the Government efforts to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of persons living with disabilities with specific focus on women and war veterans of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as regards their protection and well-being. This objective will be achieved through the series of interrelated outputs:
- Output 1. There is improved data and evidence on vulnerabilities and capacities of women with disabilities and war veterans for informed policy-making and service delivery
- Output 2. Women with disabilities and war veterans benefit from improved livelihoods through greater access to employment opportunities and skills development
- Output 3. Positive attitudes towards the PwDs are promoted among decision makers, employers, and communities
To summarize, an estimated 2,500 vulnerable individuals will benefit, directly and indirectly, from improved livelihoods opportunities and accessible space. The availability of quantitative and qualitative data on the particular vulnerabilities and capacities of the target groups will be improved; and changes in public perceptions will be promoted to reduce stigma and discrimination against PwDs.