How can one exercise their legal capacity when public infrastructure is inaccessible? ISDY, our partner organisation in Kosovo, asked this question and sought to establish links with disabled people’s organisations for people with physical disabilities. The result was a public event in the main square of Prizren, which provided a unique chance for advocates for people with physical disabilities to learn more about the Right to Act campaign and the need for legal capacity law and policy reform. But it also provided legal capacity activists with a chance to learn more about cross-disability issues, as Linda Scimitiu, PERSON-project co-ordinator for Kosovo, writes.
Although Kosovo has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with disabilities in Kosovo are deprived of their basic rights and face huge barriers in social participation.
Recently, ISDY partnered up with an organisation for people with muscular dystrophy in a public demonstration in central Prizren. Members of the public were invited to learn about the Right to Act, as well as the issues facing people with physical disabilities in Kosovo.
People with phyisical disabilities can be marginalized from the first day of their life, and this occurs not only due to policies conceived in a protectionist framework but also because society itself ignores the rights of people with disabilities.
Waking up, taking a shower, going out of the flat, crossing the street, enjoying the park on the way to work, catching the bus at the last minute, greeting your colleagues at the entrance of the office, climbing the stairs to go to the Monday morning meeting…. to most, these are the basic parts of daily life but for people with disabilities in Kosovo, they are inaccessible.
The lack of personal assistance services, the excessively high costs of technical aids and assertive devices and millions of architectural barriers are all realities in Kosovo today, there is little to no political will to enforce accessibility standards in construction, coupled with an over-arching medical and charity approach to disability.
The civil society along with actors from private, public and non-profit sectors have initiated some changes: from individualized services, to advocacy campaigns, from legislative reforms to trainings; these efforts are aimed at breaking the status quo and finding solutions where possible. Yet, these initiatives have impacted only a minority of people.
ities, local authorities, national authorities, urban planners, centers for social work. This is important in order to secure the free movement of people with disabilities in Kosovo.
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of PERSON (Partnership to Ensure Reforms of Supports in Other Nations) and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.