Deaf in Bosnia protest discrimination

Jobst said they had gathered because they want to fight for legislation which will allow them more rights and make their lives easier

Deaf in Bosnia protest discrimination

On the occasion of the International Week of the Deaf, about 500 people from across the country suffering from deafness and hearing difficulties gathered this morning in front of the Olympic Hall in Sarajevo.

The crowd started a protest walk to the building of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina to point at the difficulties of this minority.

The protesters chanted "We are deaf, can't you hear us?"; "Deaf Discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina must stop."

The President of the Assembly of the Union of the Deaf and people with hearing difficulties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Veselin Jobst, said they had gathered because they want to fight for legislation which would give them more rights and make their lives easier. He stressed the problem of the lack of qualified interpreters for the deaf people.

"Now we have only two interpreters in Sarajevo. We want seminars and training for interpreters," said Jobst.

Professor of Graphics Aleksandar Bosnjak (25) from Banja Luka said he cannot work in schools and teach children because of his difficulties in hearing and the lack of an interpreter. He attended primary school for deaf pupils but completed high school and college in a typical educational environment, a very difficult and painful process for him.

"There was nothing I could understand in class, like I was in a show without text. I graduated from high school and college with great difficulties," said Bosnjak.

During his four years of college, he did not understand a word from the lectures and was forced to learn only from books.

"To get a clear answer to the problems of the deaf and persons with hearing difficulties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I recommend you to clog your ears, put the band on your mouth and go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor or administrative services. Only then you will see how difficult it is," said Bosnjak .

Milenko Ignjic who lives in France said that the situation is completely different abroad. Referring to the problem of the lack of interpreters, he said that deaf people are often denied the basic human rights to life and health.

"How can a deaf person call the police or ambulance? In France there is a special service for deaf people. If you dial their number they start a video chat with the operator who knows their sign language. If there is a bigger problem, they locate the person via GPS," said Ignjic.

Assistant Minister for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina Duderija Salih said she was set to receive a delegation that will present the problems of the deaf and people with hearing difficulties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, promising to listen to their complaints and to request competent authorities to improve the living conditions for this minority.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Eylül 2013, 21:07

Muhammed Öylek

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