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More precisely, "studies show that disabled persons experience lower labor force participation rates, higher unemployment rates, and higher part-time employment rates than nondisabled persons." This is largely due to the fact that there is a sense of discrimination. Still, while the United States, more or less, is independent from this point-of-view, in terms of Germany, its approach is strictly connected to that of the European Union. A proof of this aspect is the actual statement made in 1999 to strengthen its commitment "to achieving the integration into employment and work of people with disabilities by promoting equal social standards for them" thus excluding discrimination. Moreover, the Treaty of Amsterdam which was fully accepted by Germany points out the need for a fair and non-discriminatory behavior.
There are several aspects which must be taken into account concerning the German way of handling the problem of people with disabilities. Thus, according to Esping-Andersen's theory, dealing with the inclusion of disabled people implies their reintegration in the labor force. More precisely it means that the welfare state, in the first instance approaches the idea of the reintegration process through commodification. The term is used to signify the fact that the individual, through the reintegration on the labor market is made dependent on the state for its basic needs. The next step in the process is, theoretically, the de-commodification which means the ability of the people to be as less dependable of the state as possible.
The strategy of the German state concerning the approach to the issue tends to follow these lines that were established at a theoretical level. In this sense, the first measure taken was at the level of the ministries of the unified country in the sense that "At federal level a division of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMA) is responsible for relief payments to war victims, laws relating to disabled people and vocational integration of disabled people." Therefore, it represents the main body which coordinates the activity and the measures undergone concerning the persons with disabilities.
There is more and more often the discussion over the best means to ensure that people with disabilities are protected from discriminatory behavior and at the same time they are helped by the state to become again part of the society. The latest approach on this issue concerns the duty of the state to protect civil rights as part of the state's decision to help people with disabilities. In this sense, while the European Union has made efforts to include these provisions in the treaties of the European Community, Germany has often fallen behind, taking into account that it was only recent regulations that enabled it to have a more coherent protection policy. In this sense, "German anti-discrimination rules were, with few exceptions, based on the constitutional charter of human rights and case law."
There is explicit mentioning of the idea of discrimination on account of disability in the German which take into account "no one may be discriminated against on account of their disability." Despite the fact that the Constitution offers wide protection, there are no specific and clear rules on the way in which employers must engage in the process of reintegrating people with disabilities on the labor market. Still, as considered by the Council of Europe "constitutional provisions bind public authorities, (...) are these rules applicable in the private sector - as a result of the interpretation of private-law principles in the light of the constitution. The interpretation of private-law principles must entitle persons with disabilities to take part in the private sector on the same footing as non-disabled persons."
The 2001 Law concerning the Prohibition of discrimination of people with disabilities in the field of civil law tried to address the first issue mentioned by Esping-Andersen the commodification process. In this sense, it tried to regulate the duty of the private sector to employ people with disabilities. Still, the power of the state to impose certain aspects on the private sector is limited and from this point-of-view it is clear that the law, despite its initiatives, cannot have the best effect.
Germany finally achieved an equal status through the 2006 Anti-Discrimination Law which points out that "employers are now expressly prohibited from discriminating against job applicants or employees on the basis of gender, race or ethnic origin; religion or belief; age; disability; or sexual orientation." Therefore, under these circumstances, the means through which the state can ensure the reintegration of the people with disabilities are stated by the law. The employment need for the people with disabilities is crucial because it represents their only means for reintegration and at the same time it offers the state the possibility to distinguish between those who are severely damaged and who cannot undergo any type of jog and those who can to a certain extent be integrated in the society.
According to this classification, for the German state the most important aspect is to tailor the social service assistance according to the needs of the citizens. In this sense, "The goal of social benefits in accordance with section 1 of this Book of the Social Code is to promote self-determination of people with disabilities or who are in danger of acquiring them and their equal participation in life within society." This measure implies the financial help of those who do decide to take it in such a manner as to offer the state the possibility to take care of those who can no longer be part of the labor force through medical care.
Aside from the employment of persons with disabilities, another critical aspect in the way in which they are treated represents education. In general it can be said that the most important aspect of the human behavior is education. This is the reason for which the UN Declaration of Human Rights presented the right to an education as a universal right which must be ensured by the state. However, when children are treated in a discriminatory manner, the state automatically fails to ensure their right to schooling. From this point-of-view it is important that action be taken at this level as well.
Concerning Germany, the treatment varies according to the land the child is in. For instance, while in Brandenburg, children with disabilities have the right to day care, in other parts of Germany, they have it but only in the limit of the day care capacities. Furthermore, concerning the education system in Germany, there are efforts being made to try to include children in normal systems of education and school in order to reduce discrimination. Nonetheless, the situation in Germany cannot be fully considered a success. More precisely, it is due to the limited possibilities of children and students with disabilities that they often fail to keep up with the rhythm of the normal school. In this sense, "although there is a movement toward the integration of students with disabilities into the regular public school system, few students with disabilities currently attend the regular public schools. (...) Disabled students who were integrated into the Grundschulen (...) were usually students described as dyslexic, learning disabled, or behaviorally disabled. The teachers noted that they try to keep these students at the Grundschule and have them repeat a year if necessary." Therefore, at times, despite the legislative framework as well as the means used to support the initiatives, there is a lack of physical capacity which tends to limit the students from attending regular schools.
There are both positive and negative effects for this point in case. The negative aspects are that indeed children fail to live a normal life in an environment that does not discriminate. At the same time, given the fact that children with disabilities are forced to follow special schools only advances their handicap and their power to adjust to the world in which they live and in the society. The positive aspect of attending normal schools for children and students is precisely the reverse. In this sense, it is important that children be integrated in a society which does not discriminate them on the basis of their handicap, nor judges them. Moreover, the fact that they follow normal and not special schools allows them to enter in contact with the society as a whole and with normal individuals in particular. As stated before, even though children are willing to attend twice the same year, it is important for them to be in a normal environment. For the children around them as well the presence of children with disabilities offers them the possibility to nurture tolerance.
Finally, another important aspect concerning the way in which the German state is dealing with people with disabilities is through its programs of rehabilitation and integration. In this case, Germany has a rather comprehensive system of action which includes the increased political action in order to ensure that people are reintegrated in the society. This is an important aspect…[continue]
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