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03.11.2017

The Ombudsperson exposed his concern related to the use of discriminatory concept and terminology in school textbooks

The Ombudsperson had a meeting with Kosova Disability Forum, with the intention of advancing the cooperation and steps to be undertaken concerning improvement of human rights of disabled people.

A particular emphasis has been given to the discriminatory and offensive language addressed to disabled persons, used in school textbooks.
The Association Down Syndrome Kosova, present in this meeting, exposed its concern to the Ombudsperson related to the terminology used in 10 and 11 grades Biology textbooks, in which Down syndrome is qualified as “Mongoloid idiot” and persons with Down syndrome in these textbooks are characterized as persons that do not live longer than 10-15 years”. In this occasion the Ombudsperson was told that such rude labeling of people with Down syndrome is terminology which has been overpassed since early ’80.

Use of the terminology and concepts in the school textbooks that are not in line with the dynamics of improvement of human rights and freedoms, for the Ombudsperson signifies not only concern but also urgent need for adjustments. Despite the ongoing public reaction, interpretations of this nature, which are inappropriate and exposes indignity, continue to be used. Naming people with Down syndrome in that way, as well as in other cases when derogatory and discriminatory language is used, represents lack of professionalism and hinders development of the knowledge and awareness as per respect of human rights and freedoms.

The Ombudsperson draws attention of the responsible authorities that the textbooks needs to be thoughtfully revised and should be redrafted in compliance with constitutional and legal guarantees in the Republic of Kosovo, for equal treatment and without discrimination.
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