Thursday, 3 December 2020

Third Sitting of the of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality

At the sitting held on 3 December, the members of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality were presented the "Draft Report on Post-Legislative Monitoring of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities and the Law on Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities" prepared under the auspices of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy regional programme.

At the opening of the sitting, Committee Chairman Dr Muamer Bacevac, said that the Republic of Serbia has done a lot in the previous period to improve the living standards of people with disabilities and that their problems have become more visible. He stressed that all relevant institutions and bodies would continue to work on removing the obstacles this sensitive population group comes up against, in which associations of persons with disabilities would be actively involved. Bacevac reminded the attending that today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which should encourage additional improvements to the Committee’s control function and in turn automatically improve the legislative framework.

Emil Atanasovski, Regional Director of the Western Balkans Programme at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, said that the goal of the project was to monitor the implementation of the laws for three years running and on the basis of it draft a report with a number of recommendations. He stressed that the National Assembly is the second in the region to draft a report of this kind, which showed that, despite the fact that Serbia has done a lot in the past 14 years to establish an anti-discriminatory legal framework, people with disabilities continue to face a number of obstacles in their daily lives, primarily in terms of employment, which puts them directly at risk from poverty. One of the leading problems continues to be physical accessibility of public facilities, as evidenced by the fact that in the previous parliamentary elections, as many as 56% of polling stations were inaccessible to people with disabilities. This, as well as many other problems, will be overcome by the Strategy for Improving the Position of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2020 - 2024, which was adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

In the ensuing discussion, the members of the Committee opined that the Draft Report is good, but added that it should be supplemented with a series of significant results that have actually been achieved in improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities.

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