Tuomas Tuure is the Advocacy Officer of the Abilis Foundation, a Finnish organization working on development aid for people with disabilities. Tuure, who has worked on international disability rights for over a decade, spoke with EVN Report about self-advocacy for people with disabilities and the need for a holistic approach by all state institutions to ensure accessibility and inclusivity.
- Abilis Foundation strives to empower people with disabilities all over the world. It aims to influence governments and organizations such as the UN to raise issues of people with disabilities.
- Post-Soviet countries have similar issues regarding people with disabilities - challenges are often very similar.
- The Finnish experience shows that disability issues cannot be solved in one or two years. You need time. Finland in the 1990s was not disabled people friendly whereas now it’s a country that provides necessary conditions for people with disabilities.
- Discussions about disabilities began in the early 1990s in the Caucasus and each country has different challenges.
- Disability needs a cross-cutting approach - it should be integrated in all governmental spheres.
- Although Armenia is not a friendly country for disabled people, Armenia’s government is quite progressive in this regard - the fact that Armenia has a minister who is a wheelchair user is rare in the world
- Importance of advocacy in disability issues - because of wars, the number of refugees in increasing and number of disabled people as well .