The purpose of the World Braille Day, observed on 4 January, is to raise awareness about the significance of the alphabet enabling blind and partially sighted people to convert the written word into a tactile form so they can read and write. The Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina stresses that this alphabet is one of the most important steps in providing the blind and partially sighted equal opportunities to integrate in society. An inclusive society seeks solutions and acts on ideas that do not exclude the blind and partially sighted from society, but help them live as normally and fully as possible. “It has to be made possible for each and every one of us to realise our own potential. Learning and education belong among fundamental human rights and it is inclusive education that opens the door into the world and independent living for blind and partially sighted children and young people. With adjustments they can acquire a multitude of information, communicate, and integrate into society and actively participate in it,” emphasises the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina.
The institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman frequently calls on decision makers to ensure that all citizens enjoy equal access to information in a form understandable to them. “We encourage different state institutions to enable the disabled to be heard, seen, and understood, regardless of their impairment. Furthermore, we make sure that those who can and must act are familiarised with examples of discrimination of the blind and partially sighted as well as of other vulnerable groups. I can still not be satisfied with the accessibility of facilities in public use for sensory disabled people. Namely, our recent Special Report on Accessibility of Centres for Social Work for People with Movement and Sensory Impairments revealed that none of the offices of the centres for social work in Slovenia provides signs in the Braille alphabet for the blind and partially sighted. At the time of inspection, only one unit of the total of 63 in the country had tactile markers for the orientation of the blind and partially sighted installed. Without adjustments, disabled people are even more vulnerable and pushed to the margins of society since their constitutionally guaranteed rights are not respected. The institution of the Ombudsman will always raise its voice for all those who cannot do it for themselves and help them live a decent life,” says the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina on the occasion of World Braille Day.