Delivering the message of people with intellectual disabilities to the public since 1963

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Activities of the Republic Centre – PORAKAWill the Census in North Macedonia provide useful statistical data on/for persons with disability?

According to statistical data from the World Health Organization, 1% to 3% of the total world population are persons with intellectual disability. In The Republic of North Macedonia there are not accurate statistical data for the number of persons with intellectual disability. There are statistical surveys that include persons with intellectual disability as beneficiaries of certain rights, mostly from social protection, but they do not give even a rough picture, since a large number of persons (especially persons with mild intellectual disability) are not beneficiaries of social protection rights. The civil organizations raised initiatives to establish a practice for official count of the persons with intellectual disability within the census.

This year, The Republic of North Macedonia will realize the most complex statistical operation in one country, i.e., will conduct the population census. The census began on 5th of September and will be carried till the end of September, and afterwards, in the following months, the processing of the received data will be performed. Therefore, the National Coordinative Body for implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities organized a meeting with the Director of the State Statistical Office, which was held on 27th of August 2021. Representatives of the National Coordinative Body, the Ombudsman, representatives of the National Mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and representatives of the Republic Centre – PORAKA participated in the meeting.

The Republic Centre – PORAKA considers that the short question set of the Washington Group are not adequately adapted and applied in the template (form) for the upcoming census, although they are recommended by the United Nations for use in large statistical operations (such as the population census).

The Republic Centre – PORAKA actualized this issue at the beginning of 2021 in front of the National Coordinative Body for implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCT). An attempt has been made through the NCT to point out to the State Statistical Office regarding the inadequacy of the existing questions, but unfortunately, a negative response was received wit the explanation that the preparations for the census are in the final stage and that it is too late for changes in the census form.

The Ombudsman shares the same views, i.e., urgent corrections, changes, and improvements are needed in the content of the Questionaries that will be used in the implementation of the upcoming census, whereby the opinion, remarks and suggestions given by the organizations that are part of the mechanism for monitoring are seriously taking in consideration. The Director of the State Statistical Office said that the Census represents the most massive statistical action through which a large number of data are collected regarding the units that are subject to the census. In that sense, there is no possibility to collect all required data from different categories of subjects, because in that way the statistical census action itself will be significantly burdened. The census is planned to collect a set of data related to the specified category of persons, that will allow to create databases, in which further, by concretizing and adequate statistical survey, it will be possible to collect a larger set of data with the required quality of the abovementioned categories of persons.

The Republic Centre – PORAKA stands on its view that the questions referring to persons with disability need to be adequately modified in order to serve the purpose – receiving usable statistical data to create efficient policies for advancing the rights of persons with disability.