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Ombudsman calls draft law on people with disabilities "maimed bill"

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Ombudsman calls draft law on people with disabilities "maimed bill"

National ombudsman Maya Manolova Monday criticised Labour and Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov for what she called "a maimed bill" on disability and said all proposed reforms have been removed from it. She said Petkov must say what caused this to the bill and then come down.

A public consultation on the People with Disabilities Bill ended on September 28. Because of objections and proposals from various state departments and organizations, the Minister has removed from the bill all key aspects of what would have been a reform in the policy on disabled people, said the Ombudsman.

More specifically, the dropped provisions included one on personal carer, on a fund for accessible environment and personal mobility, on an employment fund for disabled people, on assisted employment and on the financing of organizations of disabled people. Nothing will change regarding assistive devices and medical products. The establishment of a new authority for disabled people gets postponed for the distant future, said Manolova. She said it was "a travesty of a reform".

The Ombudsman said she was "totally demotivated" to participate in joint projects with the Labour and Social Policy Ministry because their work on a key law has proven meaningless. "Right now, I feel humiliated. I guess everybody who has worked on the bill feels the same way," she said.

She said it will make no difference whether the final version of the bill passes or not because the only thing it will change is raise by a little the financial support for disabled people - which very well could have been done with a revision in the effective law.

Manolova said she "will not participate in a lie in which people with disabilities and the whole society are told that a reform is being done when nothing is being done".

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