President Milanović at Croatian Symposium of Persons with Disabilities: Be persistent, in order for the exercised rights to become continuous

27. November 2023.

The President of the Republic Zoran Milanović attended today the 28th Croatian Symposium of Persons with Disabilities with international participation, the largest annual gathering of persons with disabilities in the region organized by the Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (SOIH) and co-organized by the Institute for Expertise, Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities and the Croatian Employment Service.

“The story about people with disabilities, their rights and needs did not start yesterday, and it would not be fair and accurate to say that it was never discussed. There was a lot of discussion, but nothing was done. This is an important topic that broke slowly and it took a lot of patience. That is why I am glad that you managed to win certain rights,” said President Milanović, who is also the patron of the symposium. “Be persistent, so that what you have achieved becomes continuous and routine, because otherwise you will have to start from the beginning,” he added.

Speaking about the importance of legislative and financial measures that were introduced, which were also discussed by representatives of other institutions, the President of the Republic expressed his support for their continued implementation, as a form of lasting support, especially given that the EU funds will not be available forever. “That’s how it goes with printed money. Another crisis and another war will come. The war in Ukraine alone will lead to another one million disabled people. Fortunately, we live in a peaceful country where we no longer lose our heads and lives because of crazy ideas and human hatred. That is behind us for many generations, I hope,” he said.

President Milanović then emphasized the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of a society and its freedoms. He stressed that reading a particular country’s constitution can only provide an indication, while the true essence is often revealed through criminal law, and the budget, in particular, unveils the most. In reference to the key aspects of the budget and its impact on users, the President emphasized the necessity of exerting continuous pressure to ensure the upholding of rights and support for persons with disabilities.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – about us, always with us – from slogan to reality,” and it concerns the areas of employment, inclusive education, sports for persons with disabilities and the standing of women with disabilities.

In addition to President Milanović, also speaking at the symposium were the President of the Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (SOIH) Marica Mirić, Head of the Office for Social Protection, Health, Veterans and Persons with Disabilities of the City of Zagreb and delegate of the Mayor of Zagreb Lora Vidović, Director of the Croatian Employment Service Ante Lončar, Deputy Director of the Institute for Expertise, Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities Ankica Čulo, Director of the Directorate for Support and Improvement of the Education System in the Ministry of Science and Education Momir Karin, State Secretary and delegate of the Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Marija Pletikosa, and Member of Parliament Ljubica Lukačić. The President of the European Disability Forum Yannis Vardakastanis addressed the participants via video message.

President Milanović was accompanied by the Adviser to the President of the Republic for Human Rights and Civil Society Melita Mulić.  

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Dario Andrišek