25 July 2024,   16:24
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Referring to the term “autism” in a derogatory context is unacceptable, as it contributes to the strengthening of the already widespread social stigma and misconceptions towards persons with disabilities – Ombudsman

The Public Defender of Georgia responds to the recent statements made by politicians and high-ranking officials, which contained stigma against persons with disabilities.

Levan Ioseliani repeatedly points out that referring to the term “autism” in a derogatory context is unacceptable, as it contributes to the strengthening of the already widespread social stigma and misconceptions towards persons with disabilities, leads to the alienation of the society towards these persons and creates the danger that they may be discriminated against in the future. In addition, the wrong stereotypical views formed in society cause serious psycho-emotional trauma to persons with disabilities and their family members.

“Persons with disabilities, including people with autism and mental health problems, are still highly stigmatized and stereotyped in Georgia, which is why they often become victims of discrimination while enjoying basic human rights and freedoms. Against this background, statements containing hate speech by politicians and public figures, which further reinforce existing stereotypes and contribute to the formation of wrong attitudes, are particularly worrying. Politicians and public figures have a special obligation not to make incorrect, stereotypical statements or use hate speech during public political debates.

Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires States Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Accordingly, the Public Defender of Georgia considers it important for the State to take measures aimed at raising public awareness and urges everyone to refrain from making statements expressing stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes towards persons with disabilities”.

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