2 December 2010 Participants of the public hearing

2 December 2010 Participants of the public hearing

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Public Hearing on “Promises Fulfilled – Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Practice”

To commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues held a public hearing on 2 December at the National Assembly House, on “Promises fulfilled – Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in practice”.



To commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues held a public hearing on 2 December at the National Assembly House, on “Promises fulfilled – Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in practice”.

Opening the gathering, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Judita Popovic stated that there was no precise data on the number of persons with disabilities living in Serbia, but the number was estimated at about 800,000, 70% of which are poor, 17% lack the necessary appliances, 65% depend on assistance, 90% depend on social benefits, 51.5% have only elementary school education, and only 13% are employed. She declared the data distressing adding that there is some social resistance, as well as various culturological obstacles and prejudice against them, which is still no excuse to treat disabled persons like “people from the shadows”. Popovic said that prejudice is one of the most painful subjects which should be overcome through the enforcement of law and persistent action and sending messages from all the levels of government. “Nothing about the persons with disabilities, without persons with disabilities”, said Popovic.

The Chairman of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues Meho Omerovic stated that the European Union supports all projects strengthening social capacities in the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities. He reminded the gathering that the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy was hard at work on the Draft Law on Social protection.

In his address, Head of Operations of the EU Delegation to Serbia Ferenc Simon listed eight basic areas of obstacles to be overcome as relates to persons with disabilities: better accessibility (physical and legal), higher inclusion in social life, equality, employment, education and training, social and health protection and external action. Simon reminded those present that on 15 November the European Commission adopted a Disability Strategy 2010-2020 titled “Commitment to a Barrier-Free
Europe” and added that the EU dedicated the document to the promotion of all the rights of disabled persons.

Deputy Ombudsperson Dr Zorica Mrsevic informed the gathering that by November 2010 the institution had received more than 100 complaints from all over Serbia, and that rights have been exercised in about 25 cases. Mrsevic added that disabled persons are not accepted by the society and are often victims of discrimination.

Deputy Gordana Rajkov appealed to everybody to improve the accessibility of institutions, adding that a more efficient surveillance and control mechanism is necessary of the established accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

Assistant Minister of Economy and Regional Development Ljiljana Dzuver stressed that the opening of the Centre for Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Belgrade is just the beginning of the plan for the opening of similar centres on the whole territory of the Republic of Serbia. She added that from May 2009 to now 5,290 persons with disabilities have been employed, which is much more than last year when more than 500 people were employed. Dzuver stressed that employing persons with disabilities should be a social priority, as should their inclusion in social trends.

Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Dr Damjan Tatic pointed out the daily problems that persons with disabilities face. “The fight for our equality is like a marathon. We are somewhere mid-way where exhaustion sets in, and we have to continue to the finishing line”, said Tatic.

The Chairman and members of the Committee on Labour, Ex-Servicemen’s and Social Issues, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Ombudsman’s Cabinet, Equality Commissioner, Centre for Society Orientation – COD, EU Delegation to Serbia, Union of Employers, Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing of Serbia, National Organisation OSI of Serbia, Living Upright Centre, Association for Assistance to Persons with Autism of Serbia, Association of the Blind of Serbia, Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of Serbia, Union of the Association for Assistance to Mentally Insufficiently Developed Persons of Serbia, Association for Assistance to Persons with Down Syndrome, Association of Cerebral and Infantile Paralysis of Serbia, Centre for the Independent living of the Disabled of Serbia, Out of Circle, White Cane – Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Serbia, OSCE, UNDP, UNICEF, KEC MNRO, as well as students of the Faculty of Law and parent Vladan Sotra took part in the meeting.


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