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The 'Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' is presented to the Montenegrin public

© UNICEF Montenegro / 2010
Two Montenegrin ministers at the launch event in Podgorica.

Podgorica, Montenegro - 28 September 2010 - Children with disabilities are currently enjoying more visibility than ever in Montenegro. Through the campaign, “It’s About Ability” launched on 10 September, perceptions and attitudes towards children with disabilities are being challenged through positive messaging and actions.

Building on the momentum and attention to social inclusion of children with disabilities, the Government of Montenegro and UNICEF today launched “It’s About Ability” a child friendly booklet on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and an accompanying teacher’s guide that will be used in schools across Montenegro.

During a special session of the school parliament in primary school ‘Savo Pejanovic’ in Podgorica children had the opportunity to discuss their ideas about inclusion of children with disabilities. The young people talked about the importance of children with disability not feeling isolated, about friendship, support, optimism and a positive approach. As part of the Government’s inclusive education programme the school currently has eleven children with disabilities enrolled.

Speaking at the press conference to launch the “It’s About Ability” booklet, school parliament representative, Luka Jovanovic emphasized that children with or without disability attending their school have the same aim – inclusion.

"Inclusion provides friendship and easier communication to children with disabilities, a sense of belonging and it also gives them ability to live with their families," Luka underlined.

The two booklets “It’s About Ability. An Explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” and “It’s About Ability. Learning Guide on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” were adapted from the original publications produced by UNICEF and A World Enabled – the Victor Pineda foundation.

They describe what the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is about in a child-friendly way supported by drawings and pictures, including from Montenegro.

At the press conference organised after the school parliament meeting, Minister of Education and Science, Slavoljub Stijepovic spoke about the importance of the early years of a child’s life and underlined the importance of  inclusion of children with disabilities  from the very beginning.

"Children are important agents of change and handing over this material to them will help them to learn more on Convention and take the leading role in promotion and advocacy for social inclusion," Stijepovic noted.

© UNICEF Montenegro / 2010
Ms. Kirsi Madi, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for the CEECIS region

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanovic said that ‘It’s about ability’ publications aim at creating an environment where all children will have possibilities to develop to their full potential. The Minister reminded the audience that Montenegro signed the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with their obligations to address challenges that create obstacle to the full realization of the rights of children with disabilities.

"We want to form local services and provide a quality protection in the education, health and social care areas through the process of decentralization and de-institutionalisation working together with local communities and NGOs but also with the help of international institutions, primarily with UNICEF," Numanovic stated.
UNICEF Deputy Regional Director Ms. Kirsi Madi underlined that millions of children and adults across the world who have disabilities face discrimination every day with their abilities overlooked and their capacities underestimated. That is why the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was created.

‘The booklet will help everyone to learn about their rights and responsibilities and about the steps and actions government should take to help children with disabilities to realize their rights. Children and young people can learn about the actions they can take to make a difference,’’ said Madi.

Within the three month awareness raising campaign on inclusion of children with disabilities “It’s about ability” implemented by UNICEF, Government of Montenegro, European Commission, Associations of parents of children with disabilities and other partners, the Montenegrin version of the booklets will be distributed to all primary schools, Centres for Social Welfare and children’s institutions in Montenegro.



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