Bosnia and Herzegovina

The current situation of severly handicapped in Bosnia-Herzegovina


The Dayton Agreement  ended the civil war (1992-1995) and divided the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina BiH) into two entities: the Federation of BiH (FBIH), inhabited in the main by Moslems and Croats and the Republika Srpska (RS), dominated by Serbs. (The “Region BRCKO”, which is under international administration, is without political importance). Political power lies primarily with the governments of the two entities. The central government plays a minor role, there is therefore no ministry of health or social services. The support given by the state to the severely handicapped varies enormously: war veterans receive  sufficient support, even compared with general  European standards. Civilian invalids with congenital physical, mental or sensory impairments receive a catastrophically low level of financial support: in the FBiH approximately €130 a month and in the RS as little as €20. A considerable number of these people and their families drift into extreme poverty.

Those holding positions of political responsibility in BiH are aware of these inhuman conditions. Both federal entities are making hesitant moves towards improving these defects. Our NGO “Doctors for the Disabled” has been invited to formulate, with local specialists, a definition of the “Group of  the Severely Handicapped”.

We consider the steps towards the inclusion of the severely handicapped in BiH to be as follows:

  1. Definition of the degrees of handicaps along the lines of international classification (ICF, Austrian Attendance Allowance model)
  2. Step by step exact documentation of the handicapped in the whole territorial area  of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  3. Increased benefits for the handicapped, equal in both federal entities
  4. Training of specialists: assessment doctors, carers for the aged and handicapped, personal assistants
  5. The inclusion of handicapped children and youngsters in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and universities.
  6. Employment of personal assistants.
  7. Development of community based living
  8. Political lobbying in Austria and BiH, in the media and with opinion-makers propagating the inclusion of the handicapped.

The recognition of the Kosovo and the arrest of the Serbian General Ratko Mladic has decidedly worsened the relations between the RS and the FbiH. Our hitherto tenacious but successful political efforts have been interrupted completely.

© Doctors for Disabled