The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) is implementing a project entitled “Together for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities”, financially supported by the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights. Within the project, a two-day training was held for representatives of the Secretariat for Social and Legal-Normative Activities on the topic of “Development of Anti-Discrimination Policies at the Local Level – Status Quo and PWD Rights“, from 26th until 27th of August, 2021 at the Bianca Hotel in Kolašin. The aim of the training was to strengthen the capacities of representatives of the Secretariat for Social and Legal-Normative Activities on the position of persons with disabilities (PWDs) within the legislative process, based on recommendations from the Analysis of Compliance of Legislation with the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities.
The first day of the training was addressed by Matija Miljanić, Project Coordinator at CEDEM. Miljanić emphasized the need to intensify and promote equality and non-discrimination of PWDs as one of the most sensitive elements of social-economic development and, above all, social policy. In addition, Miljanić mentioned that all the necessary measures should be taken to ensure accessibility of facilities and areas in public use for people with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility, but that attention should also be paid to accessibility of people with disabilities on websites, portals, television shows, etc. Miljanić concluded that continuous and comprehensive education of representatives of relevant institutions on the rights and needs of persons with disabilities is extremely important, as much as achieving appropriate level communication with persons with disabilities without discrimination is. The purpose of the whole process and the efforts made is to empower persons with disabilities as equal factors of the social community who, with their competencies, equally contribute to society as other citizens.
During the first day of the training, Nerma Dobardžić, Deputy Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, spoke about the application of anti-discrimination legislation, where she presented examples from practice before domestic and European legislation, as well as mechanisms for protection against discrimination and previously stated recommendations from the Protector in this area. She reminded those present that the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms is an institutional mechanism for protection against discrimination and that with the consent of the discriminated person, they act and take measures for protection against discrimination, in accordance with the Law on Protector and a special law prohibiting discrimination. Namely, anyone who considers that they has been injured by discriminatory actions of an authority, company, other legal entity, entrepreneur, or natural person has the right to protection before a court, in accordance with the law. The procedure is initiated by a lawsuit. She noted that the right to protection against discrimination belongs to all natural and legal persons to whom Montenegrin regulations apply, if they are discriminated against on any of the grounds from Article 2, paragraph 2 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, which applies to both public and private sector. In addition, Dobardžić instructed the participants on the mechanisms of protection from discrimination against persons with disabilities at the local level, as well as on international examples of anti-discriminatory and inclusive local policies.
On the second day of the training, Almedina Vukić-Martinović, Acting Assistant to the Secretary General of the Government of Montenegro, instructed the participants in basic concepts in the field of public policy planning. Vukić-Martinović explained that public policies “are interconnections of decisions and actions that solve problems that are important for all citizens, the whole society, or for certain groups of citizens” (Hill, 2014). In addition, she instructed participants that policy development means designing government activities that affect society or economy with the goal of state development, while policy planning entails processes in which government intentions are translated into concrete strategic documents. She spoke to the participants about policy planning within the normative framework – the Law on State Administration (Official Gazette of Montenegro 70/21) and the Law on Local Self-Government (Official Gazette of Montenegro 38/20). Finally, Vukić-Martinović spoke to the participants about the implementation of the model of the Local Action Plan in the field of disability for the period 2018-2021, in addition to which she made recommendations for the implementation phase of future local action plans.