Press conference - presentation of the results of the research "Myths and reality of persons with disabilities". Only 5.6 percent of respondents believe that the rights of PWDs are respected in Bar, Ulcinj and Tuzi.

In Bar, Ulcinj and Tuzi, only 5.6 percent of respondents believe that the rights of persons with disabilities (PWD) are respected in their municipalities, it was announced at the press conference of the Non-Governmental Association (NVU) Children of Montenegro.
The president of the NGO "Children of Montenegro", Sabra Decević, clarified that the project "Right to life without discrimination", which was financially supported by the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights, was launched with the aim of increasing the social inclusion of PWDs and the level of information about their rights and reduce stereotypes and prejudices towards them in Montenegrin society.
"This goal will be achieved through the realization of activities that will influence the raising of the level of awareness and the level of information about the rights of PWDs, the difficulties and problems they face, but also the promotion of their potential, especially among employers," said Decević.
She said that as part of the project, one of the important activities is the realization of the research "MYTHS AND REALITY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES", the results of which, as she pointed out, should stimulate public debate by showing the circumstances and difficulties these people face on a daily basis, i.e. how well the rights of PWDs are represented in different areas.
"The research results should contribute to the creation of conditions and an environment in which PWDs have the opportunity to realize their full potential in such a way that all sectors and institutions, together with the economic and NGO sectors, cooperate, Decević said.
Acting Director General of the Directorate for the Protection and Equality of Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights, Aleksandra Popović, pointed out that the Government is committed to the protection of PWDs, stating that the newly formed Directorate also speaks in support of this and that the issue of PWDs has been raised at many higher level.
"When it comes to the protection of the rights of PWDs and protection from discrimination, this is the last year of the Strategy for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities from Discrimination, which was planned for the period from 2017-2021. years. At this stage, we are in great preparation for the adoption of a new Strategy for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities from Discrimination, where, among other things, special focus will be on the protection of children from discrimination. It is a novelty in relation to the previous strategy and this document will be compatible with the European Strategy for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities 2021-203. years," said Popović.
The author of the research, Katarina Vučinić-Marković, explained that the aim of the research was to determine the position and perception of PWDs from the point of view of their fellow citizens in the municipalities of Bar, Tuzi and Ulcinj, as well as to determine, based on the available documentation, to what extent they are present and aligned strategic documents in the field of PWD protection at the local level in Bar, Ulcinj and Tuzi with the national legislative and strategic framework.
She added that the research was conducted on a locally representative sample of 340 adult citizens in Bar, Ulcinj and Tuzi in the period April-May, and the analysis of the legislative framework in the period June-July 2021.
The author of the research, Vanja Rakočević, said that the findings of the research showed that slightly more than half of the total adult general population of Tuzi, Bar and Ulcinj know that national legislative and strategic documents exist, that is, that PWDs in Montenegro have guaranteed special rights, as many as 56 , 2 percent of respondents.
"Nevertheless, a very small percentage of respondents are familiar with any specific law, only one in ten respondents, and even those who are familiar most often mentioned the Constitution and the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. "Only 5.6 percent of respondents in these three municipalities answered that the rights of PWDs are respected in their municipalities," said Rakočević.
She said that citizens of the Tuzi municipality had the worst assessment of the degree of respect for the rights of PWDs, almost half of them gave a negative answer, and none of the respondents was of the opinion that the rights of these people are respected.
"The assessment of the citizens of Bar and Ulcinj is somewhat better because, unlike the municipality of Tuzi, a smaller percentage of respondents who live in these municipalities think that the rights of the disabled are respected, Ulcinj - 7.5 percent and Bar - 6.5 percent," Rakočević said.

She said that when asked in which areas rights are least respected, citizens identified the private sector (40.1 percent), followed by employment (37.2 percent) and social protection (12.8 percent).

"A significant percentage of respondents believe that the number of PWDs is not negligible, and accordingly their problems are important (78.3 percent) and that they can contribute to society (69.4 percent). "Almost every third respondent believes that talking to people with disabilities is different (32.3 percent), and approximately the same number agree with the statement that people do not want to be in contact and feel uncomfortable when they stay in the company of people with disabilities," she stated. Rakočević.

According to her, almost two-thirds of the surveyed citizens believe that PWDs have the skills necessary for employment (60.3 percent), that employers must take care of these persons when hiring them (51.5 percent), and (60.2 percent) of respondents who personally know PWDs do not agree with the statement that workers with disabilities are more often absent from work than workers without disabilities.

"The research showed that in the largest number of claims, the percentage of sensitized respondents is much higher if they themselves have personal experience with PWDs, that is, they know PWDs. That percentage is often twice as high. This information is very important because in that case activities can be organized and measures can be proposed that will enable interaction and gaining experience, and this will further influence the way in which less sensitized and less tolerant citizens work to overcome prejudices," Rakočević pointed out.

She pointed out that the percentage of those who do not have a specific opinion on the statements offered is often high, stating that it ranges from a quarter to a third of the total number of respondents, "which leads us to the conclusion that this is a consequence of lack of information about the problems of PWD".

"It is interesting to point out the phenomenon that the older the respondent, the lower the sensitivity to the reality of PWDs and their problems. Most often, respondents over 55 showed the greatest insensitivity to PWD problems and open prejudices, except in the case when it was necessary to judge the prerequisites and possibilities for a quality life, i.e. in relation to the existence of infrastructure in the municipalities," said Rakočević.

In relation to the place of residence, most often, as she said, there was a difference in answers between residents of Tuzi and Bar on the one hand, and Ulcinj, on the other.

"It turned out that the citizens of Bar and Tuzi more often showed greater sensitivity to the existence and problems of PWDs, in contrast to the residents of Ulcinj. This difference in the answers compared to the respondents in Ulcinj is particularly evident in the answers to the statements regarding the opportunities and possibilities for work engagement and education," said Rakočević.

Vučinić-Marković, presenting the recommendations, said that it is necessary to make efforts and establish the cooperation of all relevant actors in the country, each actor within the system in their domain - starting with the educational system, institutions in the field of culture, human and minority rights, state and local administration , associations of PWDs, persons with disabilities themselves, the state and private sector, as well as the media and civil society organizations, equally at the national and local levels.

"It is necessary to improve cooperation with local self-governments in the field of protection of PWDs from discrimination and promotion of equality of those persons with other persons in local environments, as well as to more effectively apply legislative and implement strategic measures, especially at the local level. It is also important to improve cooperation with associations of PWDs and other NGOs that operate in the field of protection of persons with disabilities from discrimination and promotion of LSI equality, in order to better coordinate activities," said Vučinić-Marković.

She pointed out that it is necessary to encourage the media to promote the rights and protection against discrimination of PWDs so that citizens are more informed about all the rights of these persons, in order to respect their rights and equality with other persons, without discrimination.