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Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Ministry of Labor and Social Development (15 May 1996)
General policy

The officially recognized disability policy in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis is on prevention, rehabilitation and individual support.

Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has taken the following measures to convey the message of full participation: established a National Body, held consultative meetings according to the Standard Rules, organized information campaigns via the mass media. In addition on the Day of Disabled People, the Rules were being studied at the University of Skopie.

Legislation

The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by special and general legislation. Regarding the judicial mechanism adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities the Government states: "In legal and sublegal acts there is an appeal procedure to realize the rights". The non-judicial mechanism adopted is a Governmental body (administrative).

The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, and participation in decisions affecting them.

Accessibility

There are no rules to ensure accessibility of the build environment. No measures have been adopted to ensure accessibility in the build environment. Special transport includes transport free of charge for school children and is available for medical treatment, education, work and recreational purpose. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, lack of legislation and regulations, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.

Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status, is not used as the first language in education of deaf people but is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation being available for major events and easy readers for persons with mental disabilities.

Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is a national umbrella organization. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Disability organizations are often consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations with the organizations take place at both the national, regional and local level. The Government gives financial and organizational/logistic support to existing or new organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a great extent in legislature, judicial authorities and NGOs. The organizations have the role to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures concerning the lives of persons with disabilities, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.

Co-ordination of work

The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Labour but also to other Ministries being commissioned to deal with the issue and to the Government of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The committee includes representatives of many Ministries, of organizations of persons with disabilities and of other NGOs. The Government expects the committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks. It is too early for an assessment of the effects of the co-ordinating committee.

The adoption of the Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.


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