» 04/30/2012, 00.00
Disabled, banned from visiting Moscow aquarium
Revealed by the mother of one of the students: "Other visitors do not like to see people with disabilities." Architectural barriers and prejudices still make life impossible for about 13 million disabled people in Russia.
- The mother of an autistic child has revealed that an aquarium in Moscow has
refused entry to a group of children with autism for the fact that
"visitors do not like to see people with disabilities." The
episode has been reported by some of the major Russian newspapers, like The
Moscow Times and the site Newsru.com. Yana
Walderberg wrote about the incident on her Facebook page on April 27, when a
school for autistic children tried to organize a trip for students to the
aquarium of the "Rio" shopping center in the Russian capital, when
the teacher called the
administration to confirm the details and explained that the young visitors
were autistic, the clerk said he had to consult with the Director. The
latter said that the group could not go to the aquarium because the other
customers "do not like to see people with disabilities, because it makes
them feel uncomfortable and this is not acceptable," said the woman
reporting the exact words of the Director, he
then offered the group a visit of the aquarium during a day of closure for
story made the rounds of social networks in Russia, marking up comments such as
"Shame, all children are loved!" and
proposals to launch a boycott campaign against the aquarium.
is not the first incident of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Last
week, the airline Air Vladivostik refused boarding to a disabled teenager
because "his condition did not allow him to fly," said the flight
officers. The judicial
authorities have opened an investigation.
is estimated that the population of disabled people in Russia is around 13
million individuals. Most
are trapped inside their own homes because of architectural barriers in the
cities and strong prejudices against them, as demonstrated by lawyers and the
report of the Office of the Attorney General, in 2011, presented to the
Federation Council (the upper house of Russian parliament) noted that buildings
and vehicles in Russia are not adequately equipped for the disabled.
severe, even at the legislative level, the problem of mentally disabled people
in custody. Inadequate
laws to protect interests and rights of this slice of society are often
exploited to deprive an individual of their right to decide where and with whom
to live and how to manage their money. As
demonstrated by some NGOs, people with mental disabilities are often denied the
right to work, exacerbating the link between disability and poverty. They
are even deprived of their right to vote, causing political invisibility.
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