To the Kind attention of the Italian Parliament
The House of Deputies
Dear Deputies and Senators, right wing and left wing, centre right and centre left, independent and not and I hope that I haven’t missed anyone out. I would like you to consider an extremely important matter which is a part of our lives, offensive to our intelligence and to our dignity as human beings: There are people who, just because they are disabled, are denied their basic rights.
The Right to Education. Ours is the only western country where a disabled person can be prevaricated. Headmasters, representatives of the Ministry of Instruction, abuse their power and deny the right to attend school to some 190,000 disabled pupils, 16,500 more than last year. We lack 65,000 sustaining teachers to cover the needs of the disabled pupils (the numbers were released by the Ministry itself). In our community a mother who wants to respect her childs right to study is forced, through shortage of personnel, to stay at school in order to accompany her tetraplegic son to the bathroom, And this happens in Milan, our financial capital.
The right to Medical Care. Everyone knows that scientific research relating to bio-engineering is incredibly advanced: New generation prostheses, physiologically much closer to the functions of our limbs, represent an important conquest for the disabled and this is the direction in which the contribution and the attention of our country could have a fundamental value. The only problem is that the Price Nomeclature, the instrument which regulates the provision of prosthetic appliances, hasn’t been updated since 1992 and so doesn’t take into account the fundamental progress made in this field. Today in order to have rehabilitative care, we sustain enormous costs privately to make up for everything that isn’t included under the public service, and we have daily arm wrestling competitions with bureaucracy to obtain those things that are included by law and by the national health service.
The Senate of the Republic
The right to work: The relationship between the disabled and work has always been problematic, filled with social and bureaucratic obstacles. So the disabled person must add to the drama of his or her physical and psychological limits with the difficulties in obtaining his or her basic rights. These rights are legittimate, regulated by law 68 of March 1999, which subsituted regulations, laws and bye laws which were more than 20 years old. Among the objectives of the new regulations, apart from a full contract in public and private enterprises, it specifies that the insertion in the work environment of the disabled person aims to “show the importance of residual abilities and unfulfilled potential”. But in practice, things work differently.
In fact 1 in 4 companies aim for the complete integration of disabled employees, with suitable introductory training supported by colleagues with collaborative duties. The other three companies only want to fulfil their legal quota of disabled employees. Without wanting to enforce policies for ad hoc insertion, a far cry from law 68/1999 which emphasised the passage of the disabled person “from being an obligation to an active resource”. Not to mention the cases of some companies which prefer to pay the laughable fines, in the few areas where a commission which controls the obligatory hiring exists.
Illustrious Deputies and Senators, with reference to the foregoing, we cannot deny that this is incredibly short sighted for a country like ours which as far as regulations go, has extremely advanced laws and above all at the level of local institutions, often gives a great deal of attention to the integration and assistance of disabled people.
Thank you for your kind attention