Wednesday, 2 December 2015

31st Sitting of the Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction

At the sitting held on 2 December, the members of the Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction were briefed on the results of the research and recommendations concerning the community life of persons with intellectual and mental disabilities.

Nikica Budimirovic of the Youth with Disabilities Forum spoke about the organisation’s programme, mode of operation and problems of persons with disabilities and intellectual and mental difficulties. He proposed a number of amendments to the existing legislation, with a special focus on disabled people’s difficulties concerning employment. Persons with intellectual and mental disabilities could join the job market through the engagement of assistants which would benefit the persons with disabilities, their families and the society itself, Budimirovic concluded.

Milan Samardzija of the Republic Institute for Social Protection presented the work of the institution which, among other things, engages in supporting social protection service providers, primarily external supervision as a type of support for persons with disabilities. He presented the normative framework of operation of the Republic Institute for Social Protection, plans for the development of the local self-governments’ capacities to offer support to persons with disabilities, as well as the deinstitutionalisation project.

Margareta Kecman of the Creative Education Centre gave some practical examples, presented the centre’s work and its beneficiaries. Persons with intellectual difficulties are the most vulnerable and numerous group of persons with disabilities, socially stigmatised, treated with no respect for their dignity or personal integrity and discriminated against. Kecman presented the social inclusion programmes for persons with intellectual and mental disabilities and their employment which is a type of rehabilitation. So far, the Centre had mediated in the employment of 121 persons, nine with the help of assistants, and as many as 30 working independently. The jobs these people can do are couriers, coffee cooks, in sanitation, as assistant labourers in kitchens and restaurants and similar. Samir Bicek, one of the users of the Centre’s services, shared his personal experience. The representatives of the Centre also presented the effects the programme has on its beneficiaries, their families and employers.

The participants of the sitting also watched a short film of the users of the Centre’s services speaking about their experiences and employment.

In the ensuing discussion the Committee members showed due respect to the enthusiasm of the organisations assisting persons with intellectual and mental disabilities, opining that their work was the most efficient way to achieve full inclusion of people with disabilities. They also spoke about the inclusion of people with disabilities into the country’s political life and work of political parties, new legislation, cooperation between the associations and the Committee in the future, etc.

The sitting was chaired by Dr Vesna Rakonjac, Committee Chairperson.

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