Social inclusion

Inclusion promotes activities which help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to develop their full potential as individuals, become self-reliant and participate in the community.

From segregation to inclusion

Inclusion does not mean that we are all equal, or that we all agree, but creates a new attitude towards everything that is different, encourages mutual support and enrich our capacity to create new ideas.

It rather speaks about the different possibilities, than the weaknesses and puts into question terms such as “average” and “normal”.
The support system for people with intellectual disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina still does not comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Conditions and systems support for these people are still not created, especially in making informed decisions on all issues and rights that concern them.
The inadequacies of the system causing that the care for people with disabilities must be taken by a family member, who therefore often has to leave work or not actively seek a job.

Because of the low and inadequate social benefits, the family budget is insufficient to meet the needs of both, the family and person with disability.
Disability of a family member often causes the poverty of the whole family.

The Council for Persons with Disabilities of Bosnia and Herzegovina is permanent, professional, advisory and inter-sectorial coordinating body of the Council of Ministers. It was formed by the decision of the Council of Ministers No. VM3332/10 of October 19, 2010.

Together with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Council for Persons with Disabilities is actively working on the issues of rights of the person/persons with disabilities (PWD).

Working Groups of the Council are
1. Working Group of the Council for Persons with Disabilities for the analysis of legislation.
2. Working Group of the Council for Persons with Disabilities for the monitoring and reporting.
3. Working Group of the Council for Persons with Disabilities for promotional activities.

Working group for the program development and the reporting consists of all members of the Council for Persons with Disabilities.
Developing the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) sensitive policies in the labor market.

Framework document guiding the activities of European countries in the field of disability is the Council of Europe Action Plan for the promotion and full participation of people with disabilities in society: Improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006 – 2015.

In accordance with these documents and Employment Strategy in B&H as a specific objective should foresee the employment of PWDs through:
1. Employment of young persons with disabilities,
2. Employment of persons with disabilities in agriculture and,
3. Self-employment of persons with disabilities, with the funds provided from the budgets of the entities.

Within the entities and the Brcko District should be regulated the jobs reserved for the employment of PWDs.

Discrimination in relation to the right to work

Both entities have adopted laws on professional rehabilitation, training and employment of persons with disabilities.
Despite some positive effects in employment, people with disabilities are still discriminated in exercise of the right to work.

Possibility to adapt at the workplace

1. Elimination of architectural barriers for people with physical disabilities,
2. Adjusting computers and equipment for blind and persons with impaired vision (computers with speech unit and headphones, Braille notes),
3. Adjusting the computer and equipment for people with hearing impairments (text telephones, sign language)
4. Assistance of job coach for persons with intellectual disabilities or severe and combined disabilities.

There are still no records and statistical analysis of data on persons with disabilities, or consolidated and unique information about the users of reimbursement and the employers who employ them.

Incomplete records

In the Federation of B&H there is approximately 200,000 people with disabilities, only 8,000 seek a job.
From the number of 8000 persons registered in the employment bureau, some are registered only to obtain health insurance, so that is questionable the number of the persons with disabilities who are actively seeking job.

In the Republic of Srpska, of the estimated 70,000 people with disabilities, 2450 is registered at the employment bureau.


It is necessary to be able to recognize all the barriers with which may face people with disabilities.
Barriers may include: architectural, information-communication and socio-economic (prejudices and inaccessible services).
Physical and communication access for people with disabilities in accordance with EU standards

The regulations which provide accessibility standards in the environment for people with disabilities, such as the Law on Spatial Planning and Development, and the Law on Construction, are not respected in practice.

The new buildings are not adapted, and those that are considered to be adopted are not accessible.
In B&H, sign language is not recognized as an official language.

The problem is the lack of information, especially for people with impaired hearing and vision.

Ways to support inclusion

Promoting positive attitudes, promoting early intervention, promoting positive attitudes to adopt others, support to change of the education system, promoting inclusive learning environment and support the development of adequate policies.

The benefits of inclusion

Inclusive education can help to break the cycle of poverty and exclusion.
Inclusion allows children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to stay within their families and the community.
Inclusion can raise the quality of education to a higher level, can help in fight against discrimination, while inclusion in education promotes wider inclusion.

Developing an inclusive social model

It is necessary to ensure full implementation of existing legislation on the accessibility of facilities on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the intensive work of the inspection services on the relevant levels of government.
Inclusive social model is an integral part of the EU practice of social inclusion of people with disabilities.
For this model and harmonized criteria, in the areas of detection and registration rest all other priorities and measures for social inclusion of PWDs.

Professor Emira Švraka, MD, PhD
President of Cerebral palsy association of FB&H

University of Sarajevo Faculty of Health Studies
Cerebral palsy associations of FB&H