By Jamila Babayeva
Azerbaijan presented its first report on fulfilment of its commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and its optional protocol.
The report was presented at the 11th session of UN CRPD Committee in Geneva.
Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population Salim Muslimov, who presented the report, said the number of persons with disabilities in the country was 2.5-fold lower than the worldwide average.
"Only 5.6 percent of Azerbaijan's population (530,000 people) are disabled while the worldwide average index is 15 percent according to the World Health Organization," he noted.
He said some 6.5 percent of persons with disabilities (11,902 people) in the country became disabled as a result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan.
"Without this aggression, persons with disabilities would have made only 5.5 percent of Azerbaijan's population," Muslimov said.
He also highlighted Azerbaijani government's attention to problems of the persons with disabilities in the country.
"The persons with disabilities of Group I receive allowances, which exceeds the cost of living," Muslimov said.
He also spoke about a new bill on protection the rights of persons with disabilities and the National Action Program for 2014-2018 to protect the rights of these persons.
In his report, Muslimov noted that the average monthly retirement pension for disability increased by 3.3 times since 2006 to 2013, while the amount of social benefits increased by 2,6 times.
"Under a presidential decree signed in March, the amount of social benefits, covering 32.907 people increased by an average of 36 percent, at the same time the amount of the social benefits of the persons with disabilities of Group I, who has no right to a retirement pension has also increased," he said.
He also provided information on how the state provided the disabled people with apartments, cars, rehabilitation, creation of appropriate conditions for their education, and the development of disabled sports in the country.
European experts praised Azerbaijan's first report and expressed satisfaction with the works carried out in the country.
Azerbaijan joined the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its protocol in 2008. Azerbaijan is one of the 143 States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and so is required to submit regular reports to the Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent experts.