Montenegro Toughens Law on Disability Discrimination

Those who discriminate against disabled person will face tougher penalties in Montenegro under new rules adopted by the government on Thursday.

The Ministry for Human and Minority Rights has drawn up a new law on discrimination against people with disabilities, containing penalties up to 10,000 euro for those who infringe their rights, instead of the 500 euro prescribed by the current law.

Many of these rights concern access to public transport and public areas.

The new bill also prohibits discrimination in the healthcare system, in job training, in voting rights and in participation in political and public life.

The law will uphold their right to unrestricted access to, movement in and work in public, residential and business facilities.

The ministry said tougher panalties were needed to establish a "code of conduct for the entire community".

Ministry official Blanka Radosevi? Marovic said that the adopted bill commits Montenegro "to do everything to improve the human rights these persons, regardless of their disability".

The current law against discrimination adopted in 2011 has been criticized as weak by international institutions and civil society groups. A group of the NGOs last year urged its repeal.

Critics said the range of legal sanctions available for most defined forms of discrimination, particularly as regards access to public areas and the right to personal mobility, was inadequate.

One non-governmental organization, the Association of Youth with Disabilities, even sued the Montenegrin parliament two year ago, claiming that access for people with disabilities to the parliament building in the capital, Podgorica, was woeful.

The same organisation said little had...

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