Reception for disabled hears about this year’s progress, challenges ahead

Brdo pri Kranju – This year Slovenia can be proud of a historic achievement of having the sign language and tactile signing enshrined in the constitution, Borut Sever, head of the National Council of Organisations for the Disabled, said at Wednesday’s reception at Brdo pri Kranju held prior to the 3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Several other legislative changes have been passed to improve the lives of the disabled, including a rise in lowest pensions, and an allowance for physical disability that does not stem from work. The law on personal assistance and changes to the law on health protection and insurance have also brought progress.

“We are witnessing some positive change in the attitude towards the disabled,” said Sever, the head of the umbrella of organisations for persons with disabilities.

However, some key commitments from the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities remain unfulfilled, including access to public buildings, mobility and public transport, as well as information and communication.

“Discrimination is thus still present, whereas the epidemic has exposed major shortcomings in support systems, health care and social care, as well as in other areas where deinstitutionalisation should be enhanced and networks of support services, foremost long-term care, set up.”

Sever moreover emphasised the need to raise various benefits and allowances for the disabled, arguing they are at a great risk of poverty.

He warned against potentially reducing the rights of the disabled, pointing to what he sees as negative consequences the new gaming legislation could bring.

Its harmfulness was also emphasised by Council for the Disabled head Mateja Toman, who is also worried about some provisions in the long-term care bill.

She called for passing as soon as possible a bill on the Council for the Disabled, drafted in 2019, to make the council more effective and independent.

The representatives of the organisations for the disabled were received at the annual reception by President Borut Pahor, Speaker Igor Zorčič, Prime Minister Janez Janša, and Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Janez Cigler Kralj.

Pahor stressed in his address that the annual reception was an opportunity to jointly reflect on the possibilities to improve the situation of persons with disabilities. “It is our common duty to constantly highlight what we as a society and state must improve,” he said, adding that he could notice some progress every year.