Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Municipality of Smederevska Palanka Discriminated against a Pupil with Disability

The Commissioner for Protection of Equality issued the opinion and recommendation related to the complaint filed by the father of a minor girl against the Municipality of Smederevska Palanka. Following the complaint, Praxis got involved in the procedure.

The Municipality of Smederevska Palanka denied the right to transport to school to the girl with severe sight impairment, even though it is the legal obligation of the Municipality according to the Law on the Fundamentals of the Education System. Specifically, the Law envisages that the budget of a local self-government shall provide funds for transport, lodging and food for children and pupils with disabilities, regardless of the distance of the place of living from the school.

Both the father of the girl and the school submitted the request for providing transport, and the President of the Municipality rejected their requests. In its opinion, the Commissioner finds that failing to ensure the right to free transport to the school for the girl, the Municipality of Smederevska Palanka impeded her exercise of the right to education and full inclusion in the education system, thus violating the provisions of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. The Commissioner recommended that the Municipality of Smederevska Palanka should take all necessary measures within 30 days in order to provide free transport from home to school for the girl, and in the future not to violate the provisions of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.

The Commissioner also stated that providing transportation for children with disabilities and developmental disorders is the most common service in local communities and representatives of the local self-governments are most informed. Further in the opinion, the Commissioner states that this type of support has been legally regulated for a number of years. Therefore, such acting of the Municipality of Smederevska Palanka is utterly worrying.

It is further stated in the opinion that the school and the Ministry of Education must provide adequate teaching material, such as textbooks in the Braille alphabet and a personal assistant, which have been denied to the girl up to date.

Praxis reminds that pursuant to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Serbia is committed to ensure compulsory education and free education on an equal basis for all and without discrimination. Also, the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, and laws and bylaws governing the area of education explicitly forbid discrimination against persons with disabilities in all spheres of life.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action