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Public opinion poll was held in Belarus to find out different aspects of attitude towards persons with disabilities: “50% of people are ready to freely communicate and live in the society with persons with disabilities”.

03/12/2012

This statement was made by the coordinator of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities Sergei Drozdovskiy at the presentation of public opinion poll, aimed at finding out different aspects of attitude towards persons with disabilities. The poll was held by Independent institute of socio-economic and political studies (IISEPS) in fall 2012 and was initiated by the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities.

At the presentation Sergei Drozdovskiy shared some important facts received during the poll: “This sociological poll was held at all the territory of the country. Total of 1502 persons were questioned. It is important to mention that half of persons questioned, have persons with disabilities in their circle of communication: acquaintances, friends, relatives. It means that Belarusian people have first-hand knowledge about the problems of disabled people. Where can you see persons with disabilities? Rather often you can see them in streets, public transport, shops; it means that in everyday life we meet disabled persons rather often, but there are almost no disabled at the places of leisure such as theatres, cinemas etc. It means that a person with disability has to solve the most important everyday problems not leaving time and possibility for realizing his cultural needs. When we were holding the poll we set ourselves the main question: To what extend is the society ready to get along with persons with disabilities? 50% are ready to keep up good neighbor relations. But 17% do not want any relations with this category”.

Drozdovskiy said: “The main measure we need to take is to build a state strategy. You can see from the results of the poll that the majority of questioned consider the measures taken by the state to be insufficient. They have to be as numerous, so qualitative. The society also has to change. Stereotypes and barriers are in people’s heads, that is why it so important to change our own consciousness. Saying today “I will not hire a disabled” a person makes a big mistake, not understanding what a disability is and what kinds of disabilities exist. An official not answering the request of a person with disability also has a prejudiced attitude to him. We also should mention the Convention on the rights of person with disabilities. 154 countries have adopted it. Belarus is the last country in Europe which hasn’t signed the document. To adopt the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities means to admit the honor and dignity of these persons. It also shows the state’s commitment to modern technologies of solving disability problems”.

“During the last 2 years we have held 3 similar polls, - says Sergei Drozdovskiy. – There are the main tendencies that became clear after we had studied the results: the number of citizens who are aware of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities hasn’t changed; the attitude of the society to education and employment of persons with disabilities hasn’t changed the same situation is with the state policy in the sphere of disability. So we can say that negative trends are still strong in the society”.
“Based on the poll we see the following measures the state can take in the existing situation: to admit the fact of discrimination of persons with disabilities, 60 percent of questioned admitted this fact; to define the measures of fight against the discrimination; to change the situation with the stereotypes about persons with disabilities. It is important to start a dialogue with civic society, to take into account the proposals made by NGOs. But now the positive reports by the state about solving the disability problems are only misleading the society”.