Montenegrin DPOs: Open letter to the Prime Minister regarding the adoption of the Proposal of the Law on NGOs and Proposal of the Law on Games of Chance (Lottery Fund)

National and local DPOs expressed common and undoubted disapproval regarding adoption of the Proposal of the Law on changes and amendments on Law on NGOs and Proposal of the Law on amendments on the Law on Games of Chance (Lottery Fund) by which status of persons with disabilities is additionally infringed and endangered.

Namely, Government of Montenegro on its Session held on 30th of March this year, adopted mentioned proposals, and through amendments on the Law on Lottery Fund has prescribed abolition of the existing distribution of the part of lottery funds from 2018 which finance NGOs’ activities in six areas of special social importance, including area of “fulfillment of the needs of persons with disabilities”, for which 40% of the whole Fund on the annual level was allocated.

It is crucial to point out that the Lottery Fund was the only source of financing projects of DPOs on the annual level by the state. Considering that through proposed changes and amendments on the Law on NGOs has prescribed defining priorities (within 19 possible, defined by the Law) per every year and support for implementation of the projects in these areas in the amount of the at the least 0,2% of the existing budget, was created legal base that allows area related to “protection of persons with disabilities” to not be a priority in specific year, and even if it has been defined as priority, for it would have been  allocated incomparably lower amount than it was the case in the previous period.

Additionally, this creates a base for reduction of area of protection of persons with disabilities to the jurisdiction of one state authority, which is fully opposite to norms of the Articles 4, 33 and 35 of the CRPD, which was ratified by Montenegro in 2009.

On the other hand, the State decided to fully abolish support to “fulfillment of the needs of persons with disabilities” without announcement, without participation of NGOs, without discussion, without consultation, without analyses of the impact and effects of previous allocations and information how these allocations contributed to the implementation of policies related to persons with disabilities.

Considering overall status of PWDs and everyday discrimination they face with in practice, with memorable fact that the state is the main discriminator of PWDs, through this Government acts fully opposite to its obligations toward this category of citizens.

In this regard, DPOs yesterday invited Prime Minister, Mr. Duško Marković, to withdraw from the procedure both mentioned proposals, in order to carry out additional consultations with organizations that advocate for rights of PWDs, which is direct duty of the Government, defined by CRPD and Constitution of Montenegro. Yesterday this initiative was sent also by representatives of NGOs in Council for care about persons with disabilities as recommendation and conclusion of this body.

In the opposite, this will be direct attack on the PWDs and their organizations, which will cause closing of many DPOs, especially on the local level, end of investing in and development of support services, decrease of number of employed and increase of poverty.

This Governemtns’ act we consider as intentional and planned systematic degradation of the status of PWDs which additionally causes their total economic dependence of social benefits and system support.

Instead of solving and improving status of PWDs the Government continues the non-purposeful spending of the resources from the Fund for professional rehabilitation and employment of PWDs which has recently reached more than 50 million Euros, while the Prime Minister Duško Marković, oppositely to his promises on the consultations with NGO sector (held in organization of CRNVO on their initiative), additionally supports adoption of policies which will infringe status of PWDs.

Considering that DPOs, signatories of the initiative to the Prime Minister, believe that it is necessary to systematically regulate support to PWDs and to improve their capacities continuously, through support to their organizations, they will be engaged on initiative which will enable such solutions.

On behalf of 63 organizations signatories,

Marina Vujačić, Executive Director of AYDM

  1. Network for education and development of support services – MERSP (including 5 DPOs in local level)
  2. National association of parents of children and youth with disabilities  of Montenegro – NARDOS (including 5 DPOs in local level)
  3. Municipal Multiple Sclerosis Association of Berane
  4. Municipal Multiple Sclerosis Association of Bijelo Polje
  5. Union of the Blind of Montenegro (including eight DPOs at the local level)
  6. Union of associations of Paraplegics of Montenegro (including 13 organizations at the local level)
  7. Association of Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities “Our initiative”, Podgorica (including 20 organizations at the local level)
  8. Association of “Plegije” Niksic
  9. Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro
  10. Association of Youth with Disabilities of Niksic
  11. Association of Multiple Sclerosis of Montenegro
  12. Association for support to persons with disabilities Bijelo Polje

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