GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
RESOLUTION No 1408
ON APPROVAL OF THE National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013-2019
21 November 2012 Vilnius
Following Article 16(2)(1) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No 36-969; 2004, No 83-2983; 2010, No 60-2958), the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has resolved:
1. To approve the National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013–2019 (hereinafter referred to as the “Programme”) (as appended).
2. To assign to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour to carry out the following actions:
2.1. approve the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Programme for 2013–2015 till 30 November 2012;
2.2. approve the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Programme for 2016–2018 till 1 May 2015;
2.3. approve the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Programme for 2019 till 1 May 2018.
3. To determine that:
3.1. The Programme and the implementing measures thereof shall be financed from the total appropriations approved to the respective institutions responsible for implementation of the measures by the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets for a Given Year, and assistance from of the European Union funds and other structural funds;
3.2. the responsible institutions shall provide the Department for the Affairs of Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour with the reports on implementation of measures under the Programme for the previous year till 1 February;
3.3. The measures under the Programme shall be implemented by involving the organisations (associations, charity funds, religious communities, public establishments) acting in the area of social integration of persons with disabilities.
4. To put forward a proposal:
4.1. to the Agency of Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania and the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman to participate in be involved in implementation of the Programme;
4.2. to the municipalities to contribute to implementation of the measures provided for in the Programme according to their financial capacities.
ACTING PRIME MINISTER ANDRIUS KUBILIUS
ACTING MINISTER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
AND LABOUR DONATAS JANKAUSKAS
Resolution No 1408 of 21 November 2012 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013–2019
1. The National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013–2019 (hereinafter referred to as the “Programme”) shall be aimed at creating a sustainable environment and conditions for efficient development of the processes of social integration of persons with disabilities in Lithuania and ensuring implementation of the provisions of the national legal acts providing for social integration of persons with disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
2. The Programme shall be drawn up in implementation of Article 16(2)(1) and Article 16(2)(2) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No 36-969; 2004, No 83-2983) and in the light of the following:
2.1. the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Equal Treatment (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No 114-5115; 2008, No 76-2998);
2.2. the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”) ratified by Order No XI-854 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 27 May 2010 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No 67-3350);
2.3. Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006–2015;
2.4. the National Strategy for Sustainable Development approved by Resolution No 1160 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 11 September 2003 “On the Approval and Implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No 89-4029);
2.5. the national progress strategy, i.e. the Lithuania Progress Strategy “Lithuania 2030” approved by Resolution XI-2015 of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 15 May 2013 “On the Approval of the Lithuania Progress Strategy “Lithuania 2030”” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2012, No 61-3050).
3. According to the data available to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, in 2011, 264.63 thousand persons, i.e. 8.6 per cent of all residents of Lithuania, received invalidity (disability) pensions or benefits. In 2011, the number of the afore-mentioned persons has decreased by 1 per cent as compared with the year 2010. In 2011, the persons with the recognised 30-40 per cent working capacity level or equivalent working capacity level, i.e. 152.3 thousand persons, made the major part of the disabled, i.e. 57.6 per cent of all disabled people. There were 33.4 thousand persons with the most severe disability and with the recognised 0–25 per cent working capacity level or equivalent working capacity level, i.e. they made 12.6 per cent of all persons with disabilities. There were 63.4 thousand persons or 24 per cent of all disabled people with the recognised 45-55 percent working capacity level or equivalent working capacity level. The women with disabilities receiving the state social insurance invalidity (disability) pensions made around 52 per cent of all persons receiving such pensions. Persons of working age made approximately 57 per cent of the disabled.
4. According to the data available to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, at the start of 2012 the number of children with the recognised disability level has decreased up to 15.5 thousand as compared with the year 2011 and made 5.9 per cent of all persons recognised as persons with disabilities The main reason of disability of children is mental and behavioural disorder, diseases of the nervous system and sense organs.
5. According to the data available to the Disability and Working Capacity Assessment Office under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, as a rule, in Lithuania people of working age are recognised as disabled due to circulatory diseases, connective tissue and musculo-skeletal system disorders diseases and malignant tumours.
6. Lithuania has developed a legal framework for framing and implementation of the polity of social integration of persons with disabilities. The Republic of Lithuania Law on Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities sets forth the principles and areas of social integration of persons with disabilities, organisation and management of implementation of the policy. In pursuance of creating proper conditions for the persons with disabilities to participate in open and democratic society, the measures promoting participation and involvement of the non-governmental organisations working in the area of social integration in framing the policy of social integration of persons with disabilities are implemented, their relationship with state and municipal institutions, rural and urban communities are reinforced, assistance of the European Union Structural Funds and other programs of the European Union for development of social integration of the disabled in the society.
7. The terms used herein shall be defined in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Social Integration of People with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
II. STRATEGIC GOAL, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
8. The strategic goal of the Programme shall be to develop a favourable environment and conditions for dignified and full life of persons with disabilities in Lithuania, ensure equal treatment and the quality of life of the disabled people in Lithuania.
9. The Programme shall provide for four aims and objectives for achievement of the aims, lay down an analysis supporting the aims and objectives, define the assessment criteria the values thereof helping to determine the degree of implementation of the aims of the Programme.
10. The first aim of the Programme shall be ensuring satisfaction of special needs of people with different disabilities through provision of social integration services (social security, health care, education).
10.1. Lack of support for the family in which the disabled person lives and lack of community-based services. The family members who raise, take care, nurse a person with disabilities are not provided with the conditions for reconciliation of their family life and work (for example, lack of flexible working time arrangements and domestic care services, limited possibilities for integration of a disabled child in the comprehensive school according to the place of residence etc.). This results in a decrease in family income; the received disability pension (social assistance or social security) and target compensations for nursing or attendance (assistance) expenses often becomes the only source of family income; thus, parents often entrust care of such child to a residential care establishment. According to the data available to the Ministry of Social security and Labour, in 2011, the target compensations for nursing expenses were received by 1.1 thousand children and 4.8 thousand persons of working age, compensations for attendance (assistance) expenses were received by 6.9 thousand and 9.7 thousand persons of working age living in the community. The majority of such disabled people are cared of and nursed by their relatives. The persons who have taken care of or nursed a disabled family member for many years love their working skills, suffer from health loss and, having attained their retirement age, they receive minimum pensions, their social exclusion increases.
The historically inherited centralised system of inpatient social care of the disabled does not promote municipalities to develop their social services ensuring full employment and accommodation of persons with disabilities, temporary relief for families, “protected dwelling”, personal assistance necessary for life in a family and community. Pursuant to the data available to Statistics Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “Statistics Lithuania”), at the end of 2011 inpatient social care services for adult persons with disabilities were provided by 24 state social care establishments, 4 municipal social care establishments and 6 public organisations accommodating 6.1 thousand residents (5,879, 101 and 81 residents, respectively). Disabled children and youth were provided social care in 3 state social care establishments and 2 municipal social care establishments; they accommodated 623 and 86 disabled children and youth, respectively. Furthermore, 518 children with disabilities (including 58 children with severe disabilities) lived in children care homes under different control.
In pursuance of strengthening the financial capacities of the municipalities to organise as many social services for the disabled as possible, special target grants for provision of social care services to persons with severe disabilities have been made from the state budget since 2007. The government grants to municipalities have gradually increased, i.e. from LTL 13.5 million in 2007 to LTL 41.7 million in 2011 used for funding not only long-term (short-term) care in inpatient institutions, but also day care in centres and personal homes of more than 3.7 thousand persons with severe disabilities. The possibilities to use the grants in centralised state care establishments through purchase of long-term social care services discouraged municipalities to develop services for the disabled in society. The sheltered accommodation initiated by municipalities, associations of disabled people and other organisations (charity funds, religious communities and societies, public institutions) operating in the field of social integration of persons with disabilities is available only in one fifth of municipalities. According to Statistics Lithuania, in 2011 social services at home were provided to 12.2 thousand elderly persons (persons of pensionable age), 2.6 thousand persons with disabilities of working age and 0.2 thousand children with disabilities. Services in day centres were rendered to 25.7 thousand elderly persons, 15.7 thousand disabled people of working age and 2.6 thousand children with disabilities. The afore-mentioned persons made only 22 per cent of the disabled.
The condition and social environment of persons with disabilities lead to loss of their independence, social skills of living in society and an increase in their social exclusion. There is a lack of integrated services of skill improvement, function development and rehabilitation that would be available to disabled persons as close to their communities as possible. In order to maintain as high independence, physical, mental and social capacities of disabled people, the projects of social rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in the community implemented by the organisations (associations, charity funds, religious communities, public establishments) operating in the field of social integration of the disabled are funded from the state budget on an annual basis and municipalities organise implementation of the afore-mentioned projects and contribute to them by allocating funding for the projects. Not complex social rehabilitation services (increasing the independence of the disabled that non-governmental organisations are capable to provide are rendered to disabled people. According to the data available to the Department for the Affairs of Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (hereinafter referred to as the “Department for the Affairs of Disabled”), in 2011 around 46 thousand disable persons what makes only 17 per cent of all disabled people received social rehabilitation services in the community according to such projects. Due to protracted economic hardship funding of the projects is not sufficient for ensuring satisfaction of the need for required services.
Persons with different disabilities (in particular, people with intellectual disability, mental illnesses, epilepsy in relation to which in 2010 the World Health Organisation published recommendations on application of complex treatment, rehabilitation services and in 2011 the European Parliament adopted a separate resolution encouraging the member states to ensure the quality of life of such persons etc.) need specialised complex services and measures that should be provided by different (healthcare, social security, education) specialists; nevertheless, such services have not been provided to disabled people or have been provided on an episodic basis. According to the data available to the Disability and Working Capacity Assessment Office under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, in 2011 3,304 persons of working age (including 388 persons who were recognised as disabled for the first time) were recognised as disabled due to epilepsy and 2,770 persons of working age were recognised as disabled due to mental and behavioural disorders for the first time. Due to a lack of complex services people with such disabilities become a physical, psychological and social burden for their family members, assistance for such disabled people is not systemic.
10.2. Lack of objectivity in the procedures of assessment of persons for determining the working capacity level and special needs. In 2001, the World Health Organisation has approved the revised international system of classification of the consequences of diseases and injuries, i.e. the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (hereinafter referred to as the “ICF”). According to the above classification, the person is assessed taking into account not only his/her condition, but also environmental conditions and social factors restricting the person’s activities and ability to participate. A majority of the European Union member states include the ICF provisions in the procedures of assessment of working capacity, disability level and special needs, practical work of rehabilitation specialists, organise the qualification improvement courses for different specialists. In pursuance of including the ITC provisions, complex procedures for assessment of persons have been initiated. For the purposes of assessment of disability for children, the questionnaires on activity and ability to participate of the person that help to assess their disability level in a more unbiased and precise manner have been filled in since 2012. Inclusion of such provisions ensures more unbiased complex person assessment procedures in the course of which not only medical factors, but also social factors limiting the person’s activity and ability to participate are taken into account, i.e. social relations and circumstances are taken into account with a view to assessing the person’s disability level in a complex manner, consider not only the health status of the person, but also the person’s possibilities to be independent in his/her daily activity.
10.3. Uneven accessibility of personal healthcare services does not ensure the same quality of services for disabled persons. Disabled persons often find it difficult to get to the institutions providing medical rehabilitation services that are far away from their place of residence. Thus, one of the solutions is development of outpatient medical rehabilitation services promoted in Lithuania. In pursuance of reducing the scale of disability and provision of medical rehabilitation services as close to the communities as possible, funds from the European Union Structural Funds are allocated to the personal healthcare institutions that are planning to provide outpatient rehabilitation services or increase the scope of the services that are already rendered. Today the Central Project Management Agency have concluded funding and administration agreements with 49 personal healthcare institutions including the projects that have already been implemented or are being implemented in 37 municipalities.
According to the data available to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, in 2011 children were mainly recognised as disabled due to mental and behavioural disorders (in 2010, 35 per cent of all persons recognised as disabled, in 2011 – 31 per cent of all persons recognised as disabled). In order to ensure accessibility of outpatient personal healthcare services to children with mental, behavioural and emotional disorders, in 2011 a survey was conducted and employees of mental health centres, parents or guardians of the patients have been interviewed. During the survey, the number of specialists (in particular, physicians-psychiatrists and psychologists working with children and teenagers) and workload differences were established in different regions of the country. Furthermore, it became evident that it is necessary to monitor and assess any changes in accessibility of the outpatient personal healthcare services for children with mental behavioural disorders. In pursuance of ensuring the same level and the same system of personal healthcare services to persons with disabilities as to other members of the public, new programs for improvement of the specialists providing personal healthcare services to the disabled must be drawn up or the existing programmes must be revised.
In 2011, the persons suffering from vascular diseases made more than 15 per cent of all disabled people, whereas persons with reduced mobility made 31 per cent of all disabled people. As disabled persons become more and more active in seeking to acquire and maintain the maximum possible independence, physical, mental, social and professional skills, the need for information on a healthy lifestyle and the need for increasing the competence of specialists working with disabled people in health promotion and healthy lifestyle have increased. The number of trainings on healthy lifestyle aimed at prevention of common and specific diseases that disabled persons were aware of how to take care of their health, could improve their healthy lifestyle skills that would help the disabled people to improve their condition.
10.4. The environment of schools (general, special higher) and other educational establishments is not adapted for the disabled; methodological assistance to educational establishments and parents educating disabled children (with special educational needs) is not sufficient. The structural support provided by the European Union during the period of 2007–2013 was used for renovation of around 300 schools in Lithuania; nevertheless, the environment of the schools was not adapted for the needs of the disabled. Disabled schoolchildren (with special educational needs) are not ensured legal possibilities to learn together with their peers in the environment which would be favourable and accessible to them. Generally, due to the failure to adapt the school environment for the disabled with the established severe or moderate disability level (in particular, children with reduced mobility) such children are taught at home.
Disabled schoolchildren (with special educational needs) more and more often choose education together with their peers near their place of residence. At the start of the school year 2010–2011 41.6 thousand schoolchildren with special educational needs, i.e. 10.1 per cent of all schoolchildren from comprehensive schools, attended comprehensive schools. According to the data available to the Centre of Information Technologies in Education, at the start of the school year 2011–2012 there were 62 special schools. 3.86 thousand schoolchildren or 8 per cent of all schoolchildren with special educational needs were educated in the above schools. In order to enable children with special educational needs to learn together with their peers near their place of residence, the number of special schools has been consistently reduced, special classes in comprehensive schools have been opened; nevertheless, the afore-mentioned process has been weak, does not ensure the quality of education due to insufficient control and monitoring of funding, failure to show interest by the schools themselves.
When educating disabled children (children with special educational needs) too little attention is paid to individual consulting of parents and qualification of educators who lack experience of work with disabled children (children with special educational needs). In particular, there is a lack of assistance to children and families, involvement of the parents in education of their disabled children and planning of assistance for them is insufficient. In order to assess the special educational needs of disabled people in a more objective manner, standardised child development assessment methodologies (WISC-III, WAIS-III, WASI) have been purchased from the funds from the European Union Structural Funds and adapted in Lithuania, the psychologists of educational psychological support services and schools have been trained for application of the afore-mentioned methodologies in practice, and the system of identification and assessment of disabled persons with special educational needs has been improved. Nevertheless, improvement of the qualification of educational support specialists, educators has not been adequately ensure, they lack theoretical knowledge and practical skills and their knowledge is not updated.
The important of special teaching materials and educational technical assistance measures aimed at ensuring the quality of education of the disabled has been emphasised by the majority of educationalists from abroad and Lithuania. The survey conducted by the
National Centre for Special Needs Education and Psychology in 2010 suggests that 78 per cent of the schools have emphasised poor or satisfactory provision with special teaching materials. A lack of special teaching materials results in poorer quality of education of disabled schoolchildren, difficulties in educating them without materials adapted according to the nature of disability. During the period of 2010–2012, nine special teaching materials for teaching mathematics, geography, history and biology have been adopted. A material for development of social skills of schoolchildren with moderate intellectual impairment which provides information in the Lithuanian language and by alternative means of communication and a material for development of reading skills for schoolchildren with hearing impairment have been prepared. Drawing up of multi-functional materials enabling a teaching to simultaneously work with schoolchildren with different disabilities have been launched.
10.5. Lack of financial support for the disabled makes it difficult to receive higher education and acquire marketable professions in the labour market. In Lithuania, disabled people who study in higher schools are provided with financial support. The students with severe or moderate disability level or 45 per cent or lower working capacity level and study according to a non-university first or second cycle or full university studies programme for the first time and who have no debts or on whom no disciplinary penalties have been imposed are eligible for the afore-mentioned support. According to the data available to t the Department for the Affairs of Disabled, in 2011 support was granted to 1,050 disabled students in 38 higher schools. The number of disabled persons studying in higher schools has doubled since 2006. In pursuance of increasing accessibility of studies, during the period from 2012–2015 the Ministry of Social Security and Labour provided financial support to the disabled from the European Union Structural Funds. In the spring term of 2012 target compensations amounting to LTL 520 per month were allocated for 609 students with disabilities who studies in 37 higher schools. Such support encourages the disabled to seek for higher education and receive professions that are actually needed in the market.
11. The objectives for achievement of the first aim of the Programme shall be as follows:
11.1. to develop complex services for the disabled and their family members in the community and improve the procedures for assessment of working capacity, disability level and special needs. The above objective shall be implemented along the following lines:
11.1.1. to develop support to the family members of the disabled who nurse or take care of the disabled at home. In order to reduce the social exclusion of such families, support for the families of the disabled shall be developed, special employment measures shall be implemented, the network of services at home shall be extended, a temporary relief for families shall be organised, new forms of assistance shall be introduced, information in relation to disability of a family member (in particular, in case of birth of a disabled child) shall be provided, multi-faceted assistance for the disabled and his/her family shall be provided;
11.1.2. to develop the system of institutions providing outpatient social services, short-term social care for disabled persons. Decisions on time limits shall be taken and decentralisation of the centralised system of public care establishments shall be carried out, the number and size of such establishments shall be reduced and, to this end, the infrastructure of social services shall be developed shifting towards homes for small groups of disabled persons in the community. For the disabled to enjoy more alternatives of living in the community, the procedure for provision (lease) of social housing shall be improved, innovations in the field of social security shall be promoted;
11.1.3. to develop capacity building, social rehabilitation and complex services. New models of specialised complex services shall be created and introduced for persons with different disabilities (in particular, due to intellectual impairment, mental diseases, epilepsy etc.) and the implementation of such models would ensure provision of necessary services (including social security, rehabilitation, education, healthcare, communication, employment) and which would enable the disabled to live in the community. Specialists and organisations (associations, charity funds, public institutions) specialised in the field of social integration of persons with disabilities shall be involved in provision of social rehabilitation and other complex services. “Protected housing” services for persons with mentally handicapped persons shall be developed and the procedure for provision of such services to the disabled shall be established. Support for institutions and organisations providing social rehabilitation services for the disabled shall be increased with a view to improving the working conditions of specialists and creating jobs in order to satisfy the needs of the disabled living in the community and accessibility and quality of social rehabilitation services;
11.1.4. to integrate the ITC provisions in the procedures for assessment of working capacity, disability level and special needs, practical work of rehabilitation specialists and organise qualification improvement courses for different specialists. More objective complex procedures for assessment of persons in the course of which the social factors restricting the person’s activity, environment and ability to participate, i.e. social relations and circumstances, and the possibilities to be independent in daily activities shall be taken into account shall be prepared.
11.2. To improve accessibility of outpatient primary personal health care services for the disabled and improve the competence of specialists working with the disabled on health enhancement and healthy lifestyle, enhance knowledge of the disabled about a healthy lifestyle, improve the general principles of prevention of diseases and injuries. The afore-mentioned objective shall be implemented along the following main lines:
11.2.1. to promote development of medical rehabilitation services for the disabled in personal healthcare establishments that are planning to render outpatient rehabilitation services or extend the scope of the services that are already provided;
11.2.2. to evaluate the changes in accessibility of outpatient personal healthcare services intended for children with mental, behavioural and emotional disorders and repeatedly conduct a survey 5 years after the first survey (in 2016). The results obtained should allow improving the accessibility of such services;
11.2.3. to render personal healthcare services to the disabled at the same level and according to the same system as to other members of the public. New qualification improvement programmes for specialists (general practitioners, physicians-neurologists, physiologists and rehabilitation physicians, nurses responsible for general care) providing personal healthcare services to persons suffering from epilepsy shall be drawn up or the existing programmes shall be revised. Furthermore, it is planned to offer organising the non-university residency studies for physicians-neurologists so that the future specialists acquired a sufficient amount of experience and knowledge necessary for conducting of neuro-physiological tests and examination of the test data. In pursuance of ensuring the diagnostics of hearing impediments and successful hearing rehabilitation, it is planned to prepare and implement the measures under the inter-institutional action plan for early diagnosis of hearing impediments and intervention;
11.2.4. to improvement the competence of specialists working with the disabled in the field of health enhancement and healthy lifestyle, organise trainings on a healthy lifestyle aimed at prevention of common and specific diseased for them. Healthy lifestyle promotion measures shall be implemented with a view to ensuring that the disabled persons were aware of how to take care of their health, development of their healthy lifestyle skills that would help the disabled to relieve their sufferings resulting from their disability.
11.3. To ensure accessibility of education for the persons with special educational needs due to their disability and increase the education efficiency. The above objective shall be implemented along the following main lines:
11.3.1. to adapt the environment of schools (comprehensive, special, higher) and other educational establishments for the disabled. An audit of accessibility of educational establishments (nurseries-kindergartens, schools, colleges, universities, hostels of educational establishments etc.) to the disabled shall be conducted and the educational establishments shall be adapted for the disabled using the money from the European Union Structural Funds;
11.3.2. to improve educational support to specialists and parents. Monitoring on how the funds allocated by the State reach disabled children (children with special educational needs) attending comprehensive schools shall be carried out. The qualification of specialists and pedagogues shall be improved, long-term training programmes shall be drawn up and implemented, regular and systematic practical trainings shall be organised, the good practice of foreign countries shall be adopted, the children assessment methodological framework shall be extended with a view to ensuring that educational support and upbringing to the most vulnerable groups of disabled people (schoolchildren with complex disabilities, suffering from autism, their parents) were provided by highly qualified educational support specialists, pedagogues with adequate theoretical knowledge and practical skills;
11.3.3. to improve and develop the system of identification and assessment of disabled schoolchildren with special educational needs and supplement the competence assessment methodological framework with the methodologies for assessment of linguistic skills, achievement assessment tests;
11.3.4. to develop publishing of special teaching materials and educational technical assistance materials and provision of such with such materials with particular focus on the materials aimed at improvement of the competences and possibilities of schoolchildren with mental disability and complex disabilities with a view to ensuring and increasing the efficiency and accessibility of education services for the disabled with special educational needs;
11.3.5. to provide the disabled who study in higher schools with financial support so that the students with severe disability level or 45 per cent or lower working capacity level could successfully study, receive higher education and successfully compete in the labour market.
12. The second aim of the Programme shall be to ensure the possibility for the disabled to freely move in physical environment and use all information available to them.
12.1. The renovated and modernised construction works are not adapted for the disabled; failure to adapt the environment results in restriction of independence of the disabled and their possibilities to freely move. Article 6 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Construction (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1996, No 32-788; 2001, No 101-3597) provides for that design, construction, reconstruction or overhaul of buildings (with the exception of renovation (modernisation) of apartment houses) and civil engineering works must be carried out in such a way that they will accommodate the specific needs of disabled people. The legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania do not oblige to tailor the existing buildings to the needs of the disabled if there is no need to renovate the building, do not set forth the time limits within which the existing public buildings should be tailored to the needs of the disabled. The legislation obliges to adapt the buildings to the needs of the disabled only in the parts of the construction works being rearranged. Such provisions do not ensure adaptation of all public buildings and objects for the disabled, the time limits for such adaptation are not clear.
The legal regulation of adaptation of construction works and environment is not consistent with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concerning increasing the accessibility of environment to the disabled. Often construction works and environment are designed with separate passages, entrances, premises or means for the disabled that promote social exclusion without considering the needs of deaf and blind people or people with other disabilities. Products are packaged in packages that are hard to open for the weak, information on packages is abundant and hardly legible for people with poor eyesight. In our country just like in other European countries the society is ageing. The percentage of residents who need more convenient and attractive environment including all groups of residents with mobility, perception and other impairments (disabled people, elderly people, children etc.) has significantly increased. Such people would make more than 50 per cent of all residents of Lithuania. Design of construction works, environment and products according to the universal design principles not only satisfied the needs of the majority of the Lithuanians population and matched their potentials, but also would help to save some funds which would be allocated for reconstruction of the construction works with a view to adapting them to the needs of the disabled. Construction works and products of universal design would help to avoid the exclusion of the disabled, elderly people, increase equal opportunities of such persons, the safety of in use of such construction works and products, and help remain independent and choose own activity in the public life.
In Lithuania, more than 60 thousand disabled persons with reduced mobility suffer from indirect discrimination due to not adapted physical environment. This problem is also addressed at the European Union level. The draft directive of the European Union implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation has been considered since 2008. The afore-mentioned draft provides for the time limits within which new buildings, objects, vehicles and infrastructure and renovated existing buildings, objects and infrastructure, all other existing buildings, objects, vehicles and infrastructure in the European Union member states should be adapted for the disabled. In order to estimate the amount of financial obligations for implementation of the obligations provided for in the draft directive, a survey on adaptation of public buildings to the needs of the disabled has been carried out. The carried out survey suggests that there are about 34 thousand public buildings and objects (schools, clinics, hospitals, shopping centres, public catering institutions, theatres, banks, post offices and other buildings) that should be adapted to the needs of the disabled in Lithuania. According to the preliminary calculations, the amount higher than LTL 7 billion would be necessary for the afore-mentioned works. Evidently, this would be a particularly great financial burden for the State and solution of the problems of accessibility of the environment should be complex, i.e. through application of innovative organisational measures and a wide range of the sources of financing and application of the universal design principle.
Adaptation of housing and living environment for disabled people with reduced mobility or self-service functions shall be organised by municipalities. The housing adaptation expenses shall be financed from the state and municipal budgets (the State support shall make 80 per cent of the housing adaptation costs for the disabled with particularly severe and severe reduced mobility and self-service functions and 50 per cent level, i.e. moderate reduced mobility and self-service functions). In 2011, due to insufficient funding 44.5 per cent of the need for adaptation of housing and living environment for the disabled was satisfied. In 2012, attempts were made to satisfy 50 per cent of the above need per year. Satisfaction of the need for accommodation of housing in the largest cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys) is much poorer and people have to wait for funds for adaptation of housing even for several years.
The associations representing the disabled have been involved in coordination of the designs of the construction works to be constructed in the information system of construction permit and state monitoring of construction activities of the Republic of Lithuania “Infostatyba” (hereinafter referred to as the “information system Infostatyba”) and participation in the work of commissions in acceptance of constructions works relevant to the disabled since 2010. Their representatives examine, on average, over 1,250 drafts of the construction works presented for coordination on annual basis, participate in the work of commissions in acceptance of buildings relevant to the disabled in all municipalities and put forward advices on adaptation of the environment for the disabled to the architects. Participation of representative of the associations of disabled people in supervision of adaption of public environment ensures adaptation of the newly constructed and reconstructed buildings to the needs of persons with disabilities; nevertheless, due to limited financial resources the funds allocation for remuneration of the work of such specialists is not sufficient.
12.2. Not adapted transport infrastructure, routes, vehicles limit the possibilities of the disabled to use public transport and move freely; the transport services for the disable are not sufficient. There is no common transport system in which the vehicles and routes would be accessible to all groups of passengers including persons with disabilities in the country. The environment adapted for the disabled (public buildings, streets, roads, transport and infrastructure thereof, i.e. buses, trolleybuses, trains and stations, stops) shall mean the conditions that must involvement of the disabled in public life; nevertheless, low entry buses are available only in certain municipalities, the environment of bus and train stations and stops is only partially adapted for the disabled.
In 2011, the compensations for transport expenses (LTL 32.5 per month) were received by around 62 thousand disabled persons with reduced mobility. Such allowances do not allow the disabled to get to the institutions and workplaces they have to reach, the compensations for transport expenses are not efficient although in 2011 more than LTL 24 million was allocated for this purpose. People with severe mental disability and the disabled who undergo hemodialysis procedures also cannot use public transport services due to their conditions. The passive system of benefits for reimbursement of different transport costs is not efficient and does not ensure satisfaction of the need for transport services for the disabled.
In pursuance of maintaining as independent mobility of the disabled as possible, the means, equipment, auxiliary technologies facilitating their mobility have been provided to the disabled. Nevertheless, the assistance of helpers and intermediaries that would enable the disabled persons who cannot move independently to choose where and when to travel at affordable price by themselves is not sufficient. Public spaces, i.e. streets, crossroads, have not been adapted for the disabled using the means facilitating mobility yet; special signals for the blind are not sufficient.
12.3. Not adapted information environment has resulted in an increase in social exclusion of visually impaired people, people with hearing impairments and mental disability.
The legal framework of Lithuania only partially ensures the right to information in the formats accessible to persons with visual and/or hearing impairments. Article 5(9) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the National Radio and Television (Official Gazette, 1996, No 102-2319; 2005, No 153-5639) provides for that the National Radio and Television of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the “LRT”) shall prepare broadcasts for persons with visual and/or hearing impairments. The scope of such television broadcasts shall be established by the LRT Council with regard to the financial resources. Article 34(1) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Provision of Information to the Public (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1996, No 71-1706; 2006, No 82-3254) provides for that public information shall be produced and disseminated in the State language or any other language pursuant and disseminators of public information shall, where possible, ensure that the disseminated public information is accessible to the disabled. The universal information system of rehabilitation and integration of the disabled (UNRIIS) which is adapted for the disabled and is accessible online and enable the disabled to find necessary regularly updated and relevant information has been introduced in the country. Nevertheless, there is a lack of adapted sources of information. Public information is often not accessible to persons with disabilities due to funding-related problems.
Visually impaired persons receive public information by virtue of printed matter in in Braille format, mobile phones, computer software which may retrieve images and text and voice them which is characterised by not so high quality Lithuanian voice fusion. In 2010, there were 258 blind persons working with a computer throughout Lithuania. No software producers are willing to improve the Lithuanian voice fusion, since the number of potential purchasers (blind people working with a computer) is too low and a part of blind persons (in particular, young people) use the English voice fusion which is characterised by much better quality.
Subtitles of broadcasts and movies for persons with hearing impairments is one of the most effective measures ensuring accessibility of information to people with hearing disability. In 2012, one broadcast of the LRT lasting 25 minutes with subtitles was available, whereas in other Western Europe countries broadcasts with subtitles make 60–80 per cent of the broadcasting time. Only one LRT news broadcast is interpreted into the sign language. Low scale of broadcasts with subtitles and interpreted into the sign language fails to ensure accessibility of information to persons with hearing disability. The afore-mentioned situation has been slightly mitigated by emerging private initiatives to transmit information broadcast with interpretation into the sign language online and broadcast news with subtitles in private televisions; nevertheless, the scale is particularly low and such initiates have not been promoted.
The disabled have not been provided with possibilities to watch television broadcasts, movies, performances in the formats accessible by them. Local, regional, national, international institutions and the respective organisations, radio and television broadcasters and similar organisations are not encouraged so that radio and television broadcasts, art-related activities, literature and cultural information would be accessible to the disabled in accessible formats (accompanied by sound, with subtitles, records and sign language).
Sign language interpreters working in five centres of sign language interpreters (at the start of 2012, there were 96 interpreters) provide sign language interpretation services in institutions providing public services, clinics, courts, police units, interpret during event, in television broadcasts on an individual basis, but the scope of such services is not sufficient. Often persons with hearing impairments have to wait for interpretation services even for several days. The most effective formats of provision of information have been sought, thus, the sign language interpretation services have been provided remotely and the need for such services has increased. In order to ensure use of the sign language, measures including investigations into the sign language use of the sign language, preparation of dictionaries, development of the sign language interpretation services must be prepared, developed and implemented. Publishing of publications and texts for persons with intellectual disability in an easily understandable language have just been launched.
12.4. Visually impaired persons and persons with reduced mobility lack mobility capacity building services. In Lithuania, around 200-300 persons including more than 50 percent children or persons of working age lose vision every year. The afore-mentioned disabled persons find it difficult to serve themselves in household activities, keep relations, use technical assistance means, orient themselves in public places and at home. Mobility capacity building trainings help visually impaired persons to live independently and increase their possibilities to return to active social, working and public life. Nevertheless, today the afore-mentioned services are provided on an episodic basis through financing of the projects for mobility of the disabled from the State funds, continuous services are not sufficient, no inpatient institutions for development of such skills are available.
For the persons with reduced mobility to be more independent and mobile, they are taught to operate a wheelchair, serve themselves and drive a vehicle. Around 200-300 persons who can move only with the help of a wheelchair become disabled as a result of suffered injuries. They also lack mobility capacity building services. Application of physical capacity assessment methods and measures allows determining the possibilities of a disabled person to drive a vehicle and apply necessary rehabilitation measures for acquiring or restoring the driving skills, individually adapt a vehicle (taking into account the functional disorders); nevertheless, the driving courses are inadequate, there are no technologies and workshops for adapting vehicles according to the individual needs of the disabled person.
12.5. Persons with disabilities cannot exercise their right to vote or this right is restricted due to a failure to adapt the environment for them. The building of the polling districts of municipalities and polling stations and voting means (ballot boxes) have not been adapted for wheel-chaired disabled persons. They cannot get to the stations of the polling districts by themselves. As a rule, tables in voting booths are too high. The ballot boxes where ballot papers are placed cannot be reached.
The provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to the Seimas (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1992, No 22-635; 2000, No 59-1760) and the Republic of Lithuania Law on Referendum (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No 64-2570) in force allowing disabled people or elderly people to vote at home have not encouraged and ensured equal treatment in voting at the polling districts together with all other voters and impose extra burden to file an application to the polling district in advance and provide additional information on own disability, agree on the time of arrival of the representatives of the polling district commission. Furthermore, additional costs of drawing up (administration) of the lists of such persons, fuel for the vehicle used to visit the disabled person at home are incurred.
Due to the afore-mentioned provisions the municipalities are not interested in paying attention and allocation of funds for adapting the buildings and stations of the polling districts for the disabled. Although municipalities are obliged to create conditions for the disabled to exercise their constitutional right to vote without any physical obstacles and additional bureaucratic requirements, they have failed to ensure this. The control and responsibility of the municipalities for the failure to provide proper conditions for the disabled to vote should be tightened up.
13. The objective for achievement of the second aim of the Programme shall be as follows:
13.1. To increase the accessibility of (physical and informative) environment and their mobility, improve legal regulation concerning adaptation of the environment. The above objective shall be implemented along the following main lines:
13.1.1. to improve the legal regulation of adaptation of the environment for the disabled. The provisions of the legal acts implementing the laws shall be approximated with the requirements set forth in Article 6(3) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Construction, flexible forms of support encouraging to tailor public buildings to the needs of the disabled shall be sought through cooperation and use of different sources of financing. Associations representing the disabled shall be involved in coordination of the projects published in the information system “Infostatyba”, participation in the work of commissions when accepting constructions works that are important for the disabled, and conducting of monitoring and control of the processes of adaptation of public environment. Creation of universal design (sustainable development methodology) environment and products shall be promoted in Lithuania, i.e. legal regulation of the universal design principle shall be provided, the system of certification of the universal design environment and products shall be introduced, trainings, seminars for specialists acting in the fields of environment, design of the environment, construction works and products shall be held and organised;
13.1.2. to improve the legal regulation concerning adaptation of housing for the disabled and develop adaptation of housing for persons with disabilities. The legal acts shall be improved, more efficient measures shall be sought and financial support shall be increased with a view to satisfying the need for adaptation of housing and its environment as soon as practicable;
13.1.3. to develop the common transport system to ensure travelling and accessibility of vehicles, routes thereof, systems of purchase and validation of tickets for all groups of passengers including persons with disabilities. The system of provision of transport services to the disabled shall be restructured and new flexible forms of provision of transport services shall be sought by replacing the allowances for transport expenses with the services, providing the disabled persons with vehicles specially adapted for carrying disabled people through involvement of municipalities and non-governmental organisations in such restructuring;
13.1.4. to increase the accessibility of public services (digital television, internet, emergency telephone 112, telecommunication equipment etc.) to the disabled. Voice recording services and provision of voiced information with transmitted television broadcasts and movies shall be developed with a view to ensuring that visually impaired persons could easier understand the action of the television broadcasts and movies. Development of technical standards including the equipment required for audible description and retrieval of information on the screen in accessible formats shall be promoted. Accessibility of information to people with hearing impairments shall be ensured by means of subtitling television broadcasts or interpretation of broadcasts into the sign language. The scope of broadcasts (political, cultural and educational) interpreted into the sign language shall be expanded and initiatives for making available any information broadcasts with subtitles and/or interpretation into the sign language online shall be promoted. In pursuance of ensuring the accessibility of information, action plans for persons with hearing disability covering the use of the sign language, drawing up of dictionaries, development of the sign language interpretation services shall be drawn up. Information technology tools (for voicing, subtitling of broadcasts, remote interpretation of information into the sign language, digitisation of the sign language dictionaries, calling the common emergency telephone 112) shall be developed and introduced. The voice-technology based tools (identification, voice fusion) shall be developed and deployed for satisfaction of special needs of the disabled (with visual, hearing, mental or complex disability);
13.1.5. to optimise a range of necessary technical assistance tools for the purposes of improving the mobility of disabled persons with different disabilities (reduced mobility, visual, hearing, mental disabilities). The following auxiliary technical components shall be developed and adapted: computer software, special keyboards, speech synthesisers and Braille format systems, image zooming devices. Technological and applied research in relation to assessment and satisfaction of special needs of the disabled, use of new technologies for satisfaction of such needs shall be promoted;
13.1.6. to increase the mobility of persons with disabilities (visual disability, reduced mobility). The mobility capacity building services for visually impaired persons provided on a continuous basis shall be developed. The reform implemented by the Lithuanian Training Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be further implemented and the functions of the centre in relation to provision of inpatient rehabilitation and mobility capacity services for adult visually impaired persons shall be expanded. As for the persons with reduced mobility, the mobility capacity building services shall be developed, driving courses shall be organised, an exemplary workshop for adaptation of vehicles taking into account the mobility function disorders and condition of the disabled shall be established in Vilnius;
13.1.7. to encourage municipalities to improve the fitting-out of the polling stations in polling districts for conducting elections and referendums and adaptation of the buildings of such stations to people with reduced mobility and visual disability. Accessibility of information in relation to elections and referendum to the disabled shall be improved. In pursuance of ensuring the right of the disabled to take part in elections, the representatives of the organisations representing people with disabilities shall be appointed as observers in electoral committees of municipalities, districts and guidance for the rights and duties of the representatives of the disabled in the work of the electoral committees applicable for constituency electoral committees working in the territory of the municipalities and appointed observers shall be adopted.
14. The third aim of the Programme shall be to seek for higher level of employment of the disabled in the labour market, engagement in cultural, sports, and recreational activities.
14.1. Low number of employed disabled people in Lithuania. According to the data available to the State Social Insurance Fund Board under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, at the start of 2012, 46.66 thousand disabled persons or 17.6 per cent of all disabled people were employed. The country seeks to increase the employment opportunities for the disabled: financial support to the employers that employ people with disabilities have been provided, financial support for starting up own business has been provided, professional and qualification rehabilitation of the disabled has been organised; nevertheless, low level of remuneration for work, low interest of the employers to employ people with disabilities and guaranteed payment of social benefits for the disabled amounting to the minimum wage and different reliefs do not promote the disabled to work. In the light of the statistical data and the existing measures aimed at promotion of employment of people with disabilities, it may be pointed out that legal acts do not create economic assumptions promoting employment of people with disabilities. Inefficient mechanism of employment of the disabled, insufficient cooperation between the employees and the organisations representing people with disabilities and territorial labour exchange offices, lack of measures that would motivate the disabled to receive not social benefits, but higher labour income and the overall situation in the labour market have led to a low number of employed people with disabilities.
Attempts have been made to create favourable conditions for the schoolchildren with special needs to learn in the national vocational training institutions: vocational training programmes for persons with special needs have been drawn up, the formal vocational training programmes have been implemented together with the general education programmes or other additional programmes. Nevertheless, the afore-mentioned measures are not sufficient for the disabled to receive appropriate profession and get employed. Vocational training programmes are not flexible and do not sufficiently reflect the needs and opportunities of the labour market. According to the data available to the Ministry of Education and Science, during the school year 2011–2012 994 schoolchildren were learning in 13 (of 74) educational establishments engaged in primary vocational training according to the targeted programmes for people with special needs. The measures ensuring employment of the disabled in the labour market have not been implemented, employment is not ought for the disabled in the course of vocational training; thus, only a minor part of people with disabilities who accomplish the vocational training programmes get employed in the labour market. Inadequate accounts of employment of the schoolchildren with special needs who have accomplished the vocational training programme have been kept.
A system of professional rehabilitation services for the disabled and a network of institutions providing such services which is developed in the regions (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Utena, Panevėžys, Alytus) using money from the European Union Structural Funds have been developed in Lithuania. Professional rehabilitation centres apply different methodologies; thus, the quality of professional rehabilitation services has not been ensured. Methodical professional rehabilitation centres that draw up the methodologies for provision of professional rehabilitation services to people with different disabilities, introduce new methods and programmes, organise qualification improvement of specialists have been selected by call for tenders. Nevertheless, development of the methodological framework needs time. Generally, due to insufficient legal regulation and managerial support, lack of motivation the disabled who accomplish the professional rehabilitation programme and get employed stay in the labour market for a particularly short period of time. In 2011, professional rehabilitation services were provided by 11 institutions in which professional rehabilitation services were received by 575 persons, 513 persons accomplished 79 different training programmes. Although they were studying under the programmes to receive marketable professions, they have undergone the trainings on the basics of the company work organiser, plant keeper, accountant, small business administrator, cashier-salesman, business organiser, artistic carpenter, tailor-operator, leather artist, storehouse operator and cook and computer basics, only 47 per cent of persons who have accomplished the professional rehabilitation programmes got employed within 6 months from accomplishment of the programmes. Sometimes professional rehabilitation is chosen just because of the paid professional rehabilitation benefit and low wage does not encourage and motive the disabled persons to work.
14.2. People with disabilities lack opportunities to participate in cultural life and a small number of people with disabilities are engaged in sports, physical, recreational activity. Due to their nature of disability (mobility problems, visual, hearing, mental or complex disability) people with disabilities cannot often participate in public events, use cultural (theatre, museum, cinema, library) and tourism services, visit monuments and national cultural values, use cultural material, exercise their right to knowledge of their cultural identity including the culture of deaf people. The disabled people are not enabled to develop and use their creative, artistic and intellectual competences not only for their own benefit, but also for enrichment of the whole community. There is a national professional choir “Vilnius” bringing together people with different disabilities in the country. The projects on activities of the National Colour Music Orchestra which mainly consists of people with intellectual disability from different regions of the country have been funded from the State budget. People with disabilities often use photography, painting art, organise exhibitions, plein air painting as a means of self-expression. Nonetheless, as the support is not sufficient, there exist no conditions for the disabled to become professional artists. Funding of cultural and artistic activities from the State budget is episodic and insufficient, money from private funds have been mainly used for funding the projects.
In Lithuania, 5 national sports of organisations of the disabled have operated for 22 years: 2 federations and 3 committees the members of which are 37 sports clubs of people with different disabilities; 25 special schools; 17 social care homes, 14 special training, day occupation, professional training centres with more than 5.4 thousand disabled people engaged in sports. More than 75 national championships of the disabled with more than 3.6 thousand disabled sportsmen are organised in the country on an annual basis; however, the overall number of disabled sportsmen is low and makes only 2 per cent of all disabled persons. In Lithuania, people with disabilities are insufficiently motivated and too few measure aimed at motivating them to engage in general profile sports, physical activity and recreational activity in a more active manner and more frequently have been implemented; physical development, training have not been ensured, resources for getting to sports, recreational and tourist sites to the same extent as others have not been sufficient.
The most powerful disabled sportsmen of Lithuania take part in the in the international matches organised by international sports organisations of the disabled: Paralympic Games, Olympics for the deaf, special Olympics, IBSA, IWAS Games, Global, European championships and other international tournaments. The sports programmes and projects for the disabled have been mainly funded from the State budget, but the amount of allocated funding is not sufficient for development of mass engagement of the disabled (in particular, youth) in posts and promotion of physical education and successful training of the most powerful sportsmen, since there is a lack of sports facilities adapted for the disabled, the problems concerning remuneration and improvement of the qualification of coaches working with disabled people have not been solved yet.
15. The objectives for achievement of the third aim of the Programme shall be as follows:
15.1. To ensure better employment opportunities of people with disabilities and create favourable conditions for the disabled to access to the labour market. The above objective shall be implemented along the following main lines:
15.1.1. to promote and develop employment of people with disabilities and diversity thereof without imposing any restrictions in relation to their residential dwelling. In pursuance of ensuring employment of people with severe disabilities, innovative and social result-focused companies and innovative employment measures have been supported, non-governmental organisations are included in employment processes, the procedure for provision of support to social companies has been improved, the State-owned enterprises run by the right of trust have been restricted, i.e. their activities have been diverted and is lined to employment of the disabled (in particular, people with severe disabilities), adaptation of the workplaces has been supported, investment in development of social business and independent employment have been made, remote work and flexible forms of employment have been promoted;
15.1.2. to improve and develop a system of provision of vocational training, professional rehabilitation services. Placements and apprenticeship of persons with disabilities who are students, mentoring, local employment projects and initiatives encouraging employment of the disabled shall be promoted. In order to increase the opportunities of adult disabled who have lost their professional competences to be employed, return to the labour market and stay in it, the system of professional rehabilitation services and legal regulation thereof shall be improved, active labour market policy measures promoting the professional mobility and entrepreneurship of the disabled shall be adopted and implemented. The methodological framework for provision of professional rehabilitation services for persons with different disabilities shall be developed and improved with the help of professional rehabilitation methodological centres, preparation for professional rehabilitation shall be improved. Provision of professional rehabilitation services shall be linked to improvement of job search, innovative employment, employment, managerial support of the workplace.
15.2. To enhance the opportunities of the disabled to participate in cultural and artistic activity, encourage physical education and activity of the disabled (children, youth and adults) and their engagement in cultural and sports activities. The above objective shall be implemented along the following main lines:
15.2.1. to develop the opportunities of the disabled to develop and use their creative, artistic and intellectual competences. Flexible forms of support shall be introduced so that people with disabilities could participate in different cultural activity and seek for professionalism; objects of cultural objects were accessible to them (construction works, development and introduction of information technology products). The groups of artists that are unique in their form of expression and seek for professionalism shall be supported;
15.2.2. to develop physical activity and sports of the disabled. The sports projects of the municipalities shall be funded, the requirements for the qualification categories of disabled sportsmen and the description of award of such categories, documents providing for recruitment of teams for education of disabled sportsmen, the number of hours of training per week in sport training institutions shall be drawn up and approved. An exemplary sports and rehabilitation complex for people with disabilities shall be constructed in Vilnius in order to create conditions for people with different disabilities to do sports and increase their physical activity.
16. The fourth aim of the Programme shall be to ensure protection of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled without discrimination on the grounds of disability and enable improvement of management of the process of social integration of the disabled.
16.1. Exercise of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled is limited by the scope of application of the legislation not favourable to the disabled, not clear distribution of competences among state and municipal institutions, weak performance of the non-governmental sector and insufficient funding. The public institutions that must ensure implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disabilities face different problems: heavy workloads, lack of experience, unclear distribution of competences and poor financial capacities impede coordination of this process. Inadequate attitude to implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled still prevails at the national level, the number of specialists for monitoring of implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities is not sufficient. Attempts to coordinate efficient and smooth activities within the mechanism of independent implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disabilities have resulted in a failure, the involvement of the organisations of disabled people in the process of monitoring the implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled is not clear.
One of the problems of the process of implementation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled is the negative image of the disabled and prejudice against the disabled prevailing in the society and shaped by the mass media preventing from recognising of the contribution of people with disabilities in the society. Lack of employment opportunities has led to dependence of the disabled on the support and benefits from the State. There is a lack of systemic approach to the problems faced by people with disabilities. Only disabled people are interested in and analyse the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; meanwhile, the State and municipal institutions that must implement the Convention implement only separate fragments of this legal act.
Equality before the law and access to justice have not been ensured to the disabled. The legal acts of Lithuania provide for the concept of full incapacity for the persons suffering from mental diseases and mental disability; nevertheless, the legislation does not provide for the possibility to revise the incapacity and limited capacity established for the person.
Legal services are used by people with different disabilities who do not always understand certain concepts, terms or meaning and content of legal acts due to their disability; thus, specialists of institutions rendering legal assistance services must take into account the nature of the questions posed to them, allocate a sufficient amount of time to the person they represent and convey complex information in the form understandable to the disabled. The provision set forth in Article 56(1)(6) of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No 36-1340) entitles associations to represent the interests of their members before the court; nevertheless, such practice is not effective, since non-governmental organisations are often incapable (due to a lack of financial, human resources, qualified specialists) of providing legal services to the disabled, draw up procedural documents and, in particular, represent the interests of the disabled before the court independently and in a high quality manner).
The number of complaints concerning discrimination on the grounds of disability received by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (hereinafter referred to as the “Office”) does not reflect the real situation of people with disabilities in the society. Official statistics suggests that the majority of disabled persons of working are unemployed. Often people with disabilities cannot find a jog due to unwillingness of employees, unreasonable fear and other reasons. The Office receives just a few complains concerning discrimination on the ground of employment relationship. An increasing tendency of multiple discrimination, i.e. cases where the person complains about discrimination on two or more grounds has been noticed.
Lack of information, limited public education on the situation of people with disabilities are one of the major reasons determining passiveness of the disabled in protection of their infringed rights. Insufficient funding, the legal framework not favourable to satisfaction of the needs of people with disabilities, the scope of application thereof, lack of innovative solutions of state and municipal authorities lead to insidious practice, thus, preventing from efficient implementation of the institute of rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disabilities.
16.2. Insufficient cooperation between state and municipal authorities as well as institutions and organisations representing the persons with disabilities prevent the effective and timely understanding of disability issues. The policy of social integration of persons with disabilities includes a great number of state management areas; however, there is a lack of cooperation among state, municipal institutions and agencies when dealing with key issues of the persons with disabilities. When drafting legal acts and programmes that have significant importance for the persons with disabilities, the opinions of organizations representing the people with disabilities as well as the Department for the Affairs of Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour are not always taken into account. Municipalities fail to exercise its statutory opportunities to establish standing panels which would deal with the issues related to the persons with disabilities and would help municipalities to better understand the needs of the disabled as well as effectively solve the problems of the persons with disabilities related to life in a community. Currently, only 11 municipalities have such panels. The establishment of this kind of panels would improve the communication of municipalities and the organisations working in the field of social integration of the persons with disabilities.
There are approximately 30 actively operating umbrella associations of the disabled in Lithuania. The associations represent more than 105 thousand of the persons with disabilities and have branches in different municipalities. Every year, in accordance with the procedures of national law provided, the projects of the associations of the persons with disabilities get support from the state budget; however, due to limited financial resources and therefore insufficient support, the activities and services cannot be developed, its scope in defending the rights of the persons with disabilities and monitoring the rights of the disabled cannot be ensured. There are no conditions and encouragement for the persons with disabilities to take part in public affairs, non-governmental organizations, the activities of which are related to public and political life of state and its governance.
The planning of changes that would be applicable to social integration policy usually lacks administrative data and systematic information on the persons with disabilities, services provided to them, as well as the integration of changes in various fields. Statistics Lithuania has been annually collecting and publishing information on the changes of social integration of the persons with disabilities. However, when planning policy measures of the social integration of the disabled and assessing the effectiveness of the implementation of these measures, more administrative data, which would be open to the public, are needed.
17. The objectives for the fourth aim of the Programme shall be as follows:
17.1. To provide adequate legal assistance to the persons with disabilities as well as to develop a national mechanism for the monitoring of human rights. The objective shall be implemented in the following key directions:
17.1.1. To promote full realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the persons with disabilities without any discrimination related to disability. Awareness-raising measures shall be promoted in order to create more positive understanding of the persons with disabilities and greater public awareness; training workshops on Disability Rights Convention and its provisions shall be developed; surveys on discrimination conducted and amendments of legal acts initiated. The organisation of trainings shall include organisations operating in municipalities and other organisations that operate in the field of social integration of the disabled. The problems related to the incapability issues shall be tackled in a comprehensive manner: ability to determine incapacity of natural persons, their recognition as incapacitated or partly capacitated shall be revised by the Institution on the Determination of incapacity and Involuntary Hospitalisation. It shall also be aimed to draft projects on legislative amendments that would meet international standards of human rights;
17.1.2. Improve the accessibility of legal services to the persons with disabilities. It shall also be aimed at enhancing cooperation of legal aid offices that organise the provision of state-guaranteed legal assistance, municipal authorities, social workers, and non-governmental organisations of persons with disabilities. Organise trainings to law enforcement authorities, lawyers, notaries, persons providing state guaranteed legal aid, and NGO staff, in order they would better understand the needs of the disabled and follow the principle of mutual understanding. There will be a cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science as well as institutions of higher education regarding the practice of students (lawyers) in non-governmental organizations of persons with disabilities. In addition, the opportunities for the engagement of non-governmental organisations into state-guaranteed legal assistance shall be analysed and legislative amendments drafted. The purpose of it is to make proper conditions for the non-governmental organizations to represent persons with disabilities in courts. Opportunities will be sought for adapting public environment in institutions providing legal services as well as any other institutions arranging state guaranteed legal aid.
17.2. Improve the management of the process of social integration of the persons with disabilities on municipal, national and international levels. This will be implemented in the following main directions:
17.2.1. develop cooperation of agencies and sectoral on municipal, national and international levels by involving associations representing people with disabilities, as well as to form evidence-based social integration policy;
17.2.2. encourage municipalities to establish standing panels for the disabled-related issues according to the laws. It is planned that such panels could effectively solve social integration problems of the disabled in a particular municipality and improve communication of municipalities with organisations operating in the field of social integration of the disabled;
17.2.3. improve support for the associations representing people with disabilities. Projects on umbrella associations of the disabled shall be supported;
17.2.4. to collect and gather information about changes in the social integration of persons with disabilities. The Department for the Affairs of Disabled together with institutions according to its competence shall prepare an annual list of indicators describing the social integration of the disabled on the basis of the administrative data, collect interagency information on the social integration of the persons with disabilities, summarise it and publish on the website www.ndt.lt. The Statistics Lithuania carries out annual statistical survey of social services, prepare and publish information about the number of persons with disabilities, who have received the social services at home, day care centres and residential care facilities. More information and administrative data related to the changes of social integration of the disabled shall be available. In such a way, a more precise politics of social integration of the disabled shall be formed.
III. CRITERIA FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME
18. Implementation and assessment criteria of the programme as well as its values for 2019 are set out in the Annex. According to the indicator values of 2012, indicators of the assessment of the programme implementation (laid down in the Annex) show the initial status of implementation. It shall form the basis for the assessment of its implementation in 2019.
IV. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME AND RESPONSIBILITY
19. Implementation of the programme is coordinated and monitored by the Department for the Affairs of Disabled. The programme includes the following participants: the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Health of The Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture, Statistics Lithuania and the Department for the Affairs of Disabled.
20. The period for the implementation of the programme provisions is 2013–2019. The implementation of the programme shall have three measure plans approved by the Minister of Social Security and Labour (2013–2015, 2016–2018 and 2019).
Annex to National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013–2019
LIST OF THE CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE National Programme for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities for 2013–2019 AND TARGET VALUES
Institution conducting monitoring of achievement of the assessment criterion*
To develop a favourable environment and conditions for dignified and full life of persons with disabilities in Lithuania, ensure equal treatment and the quality of life to them
an increase in the quality of life index of the disabled (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (hereinafter referred to as the “Department for the Affairs of Disabled”)
index of equal opportunities of the disabled (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
2.1. To ensure satisfaction of special needs of people with different disabilities in the fields of social security, health care, education
an increase in satisfaction of the need for social security services (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
an increase in satisfaction of the need for healthcare services (per cent)
Ministry of Health
an increase in satisfaction of the need for education services (per cent)
Ministry of Education and Science
2.2. To ensure the possibility for the disabled to freely move in physical environment and use all information available to them.
an increase in the number of public construction works and objects, transport routes, vehicles and services adapted to the needs of the disabled (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
an increase in accessibility of public information to people with visual, hearing, intellectual disabilities (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
an increase in the level of independence and mobility of the person who have become disabled as a result of impairment of visual and movement functions (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
2.3. To seek for higher level employment of the disabled in the labour market, engagement in cultural, sports, and recreational activities
an increase in the level of employment of disabled people in the labour market (per cent)
Ministry of Social Security and Labour
an increase in engagement of the disabled in cultural activities (per cent)
Ministry of Culture
an increase in engagement of the disabled in sports activity (per cent)
Department of Physical Education and Sports under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
2.4. To ensure protection of the rights and fundamental freedoms of the disabled without discrimination on the grounds of disability and enable improvement of management of the process of social integration of the disabled.
public opinion on discrimination of the disabled (points) (1 – lowest discrimination, 10 – highest discrimination)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
an increase in the number of people with disabilities participating in the activities of public organisations and movements (per cent)
Department for the Affairs of Disabled
*Collects information on achievement of the assessment criterion from the institutions in charge of the respective implementing measures of the Programme and other sources of information, summarises, assess it and provide to the institution coordinating implementation of the Programme.
**The value of the indicator shall be established in 2013 and entered into the information monitoring system.