Slovenia is in the process of adopting the Law on Alignment of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The deadline for public debate and suggestions expired in January 2010.
The Law covers the following areas:
- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of disability;
- Measures to equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities, setting grounds for their responsibilities and obligations;
- Procedures in disputing cases of discrimination based on disability;
- Database management and data protection;
- Penal provisions.
The chapter on the prohibition of discrimination based on disability covers the following areas:
- Prohibition of discrimination in front of holders of public offices;
- Equal cooperation of blind people in the procedures, access to services and adaption of buildings which are in public domain;
- Prohibition of writing and highlighting discriminatory messages and symbols;
- Access to inclusive education, health, means of residence, information, cultural assets and public transport.
Another important issue of the described law are measures for the equalization of opportunities for persons with disability. The first measure is the right to financing tools for overcoming communication barriers that disabled people with sensory impairments (blind, partly sighted, deaf and disabled persons with speaking disorders) need as support for social integration. These devices can be exercised in addition to devices which are provided under other provisions.
The next measure is the payment of the costs of vehicle adaption. The costs of adapting the vehicle for mobility impaired disabled persons, which can only manage the vehicle by adjusting it. Adjusting the vehicle will also be possible for a disabled person, who does not operate the vehicle by him/her self, but needs adaptations to access the vehicle. Disabled persons will be entitled to the adoption of the vehicle every six years (in exceptional cases this term can be shorted).
The third important measure is to establish a call centre for deaf and persons with hearing impairments. Through this centre the hearing-impaired persons can acquire the information from public institutions.
In principle the law should be supported, but in our (YHD-Association for Theory and Culture of Handicap) estimations, despite some good solutions, the law is incomplete and it is necessary for the law to be refined and supplemented.
What are our additional suggestions that should be included in the law?
- Adequate analysis and assessment;
- Appropriate placement of the law into the system of disability care. We believe that the mentioned law should be a kind of umbrella law which should cover all areas;
- Further and in particular clearer and more transparent solutions to all is the key norm of non-discrimination;
- Some form of reasonable accommodation and their more detailed breakdown (PA, interpreters for deaf and blind persons, support for persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental disability status);
- More precise definition of all the positive obligations of the public sector, additional commitments of certain entities and also the commitments of the private sector;
- Precise obligations of public entities regarding the establishment of active policies, especially regarding the collection of picking up the relevant data;
- Appropriate standardizing in the field of justice care;
- Integrated penalization of any breach of non-discrimination and stricter penalties for aggravated violations;
- Harmonization of terminology.
Discrimination isn't just the social problem of minority groups, but it is a problem of the whole society. At the level of society as a whole, the denial of the seriousness of the problem of the existence of discrimination, ineffective response to cases of infringement and in particular the maintenance of various forms of structural discrimination destructive effects. Therefore the problem of discrimination is always also an economic problem of inefficient functioning of market economy.
There is no data available about the educational structure of persons in relation to each age group and the type of disability, there is also no information on what proportion of young people attends special schools with special programmes.
In addition there is no estimation of employment and employability of various groups of disabled people. It is also significant that there are no estimates of the proportion of public sector employees in particular in public administration.
There is also a lack of information about the living environment in which people with serious disabilities live and no estimates on the accessibility of adapted housing in the market. Moreover, there is no data or assessment of the number of people with disabilities that are actively participating in political life.
The law that is presented in this text does not have the ability to identify all the necessary reasonable accommodation in key areas of social life, or highlight the areas which should be strengthened to protect the rights of disabled persons. The UN has noted especially that the following rights are being violated:
- Obtaining appropriate education;
- Freedom of movement;
- Independent living in society;
- Access to employment;
- Obtaining information;
- Appropriate health care;
- Exercising the political rights of the individual;
- Decision making.
by Danci Maraz /www.enil.eu/
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