Parliamentarians discuss child rights and inclusion of children with disabilities
Bijelo Polje holds the first in a series of special sessions of municipal parliaments across Montenegro in support of the campaign “It’s About Ability”On 15 October 2010, the Municipal Parliament of Bijelo Polje convened a special session devoted to the adoption of the Final Report on the Implementation of the LPA for Children (2005-2010) and to the ‘It’s about ability’ campaign on inclusion of children with disabilities.
On this special occasion, the President of the Municipal parliament, Mr. Bojadzic, and local parliamentarians opened the doors of the Municipal Parliament to the Mayor of Bijelo Polje, Mr. Milosevic, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr. Numanovic, UNICEF Representative, Ms. Skinner, Chief of the Office for Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings, Mr. Ulama, children and many other representatives of line ministries, governmental bodies, civil sector organizations, and media.
The Municipality of Bijelo Polje was the first in Montenegro to develop and implement the Local Plan of Action for Children for the period 2005-2010 according to the National Action plan for children. During this period Bijelo Polje has been a pioneer in successfully piloting child and social protection services with strong linkages with the areas of education, health, justice and human rights.
Noala Skinner: “We can confidently say that Bijelo Polje has become one of the model municipalities in Montenegro for promoting children’s rights. It has shown continuous commitment in making its community a better place for all children”.
Day Care Centre ‘Tisa’ for children with disabilities and the Centre for Child and Family Support are just some of the many important concrete achievements of the LPA in Bijelo Polje and these Centres today function as an integral part of the municipal continuum of services for children.
Suad Numanovic: “Bijelo Polje is, so to say, known as the birthplace of the day care centres for children with disabilities, child and family support centre, and all other services which are being opened already serve as an example for other municipalities. I hope that during this and the next year, we will have a lot of municipalities which will be at least on the same level as Bijelo Polje which is now the leader in these services.”
The mayor of Bijelo Polje Tarzan Milošević expressed his satisfaction that Bijelo Polje was the first town that has worked to improve status and rights of the children in such a high manner, adding that similar activities will be conducted in the following period.
Tarzan Milosevic: “Five years ago, we had a vision, and now we are talking about fruitful work of the public institution “Tisa”, the first object in Montenegro dedicated entirely to children with disabilities, as well as of the Child and Family Support Centre and a whole array of child-friendly services with no discrimination.”
Referring to the “It’s about ability” campaign, launched by UNICEF in cooperation with the Government of Montenegro, Ms. Skinner said its goals were challenging current social norms in relation to children with disabilities, acceleration of deinstitutionalization and creating conditions in which children with learning and/or physical disabilities will be welcomed into Montenegrin homes, communities and hearts. Through the campaign Montenegro’s citizens are urged to think about ability and potential when thinking about children with disability.
“We want to help our peers that have disabilities to live more easily and carefree. We want our voice to be heard and to do everything to break down the stereotypes. We want to bring the children with disabilities in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and to solve architectural barriers for them. We must educate the people and the teachers as well”, said Nikola Minić, representative of the Children’s Parliament of “Marko Miljanov” elementaty school, in the name of all children.
The session of the Assembly in its extended form concluded that Bijelo Polje managed to make its plans reality and that it became a role-model at the national level. At the same time it was recognized that much more can be done. To that end the Municipal Parliament announced development of a new Local Plan of Action for Children for the period 2010-2015.
After the special session, guests visited the elementary school ‘Dušan Korać’, which implements inclusive education. On this occasion, the children prepared a special class on the topic of inclusion of children with disabilities. Children talked about the publication ‘It’s about ability’ prepared by the UNICEF, which explains the first convention on human rights in the 21st century - the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.