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Do we still discriminate against disabled people?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 11:29 UK time, Wednesday, 29 November 2006

WHYS is the show where you set the agenda. We are always looking for callers to raise issues that they feel strongly about, especially if they think it is being ignored by the media.

Khaled Armana, from the Netherlands, phoned into the show a couple of weeks ago, to comment on the Burkha debate. He argued that the Dutch parliament should not be concerned with burkhas, since there were far more important things they should deal with. One of which was the rights of disabled people in the country. Ros, presenting the show, interrupted to say that whilst this could not be discussed on that show, we would follow it up...

It's Joe writing, and I spent some of yesterday talking with Khaled, who is blind, and we want to hear whether you feel that his suggestion is an issue WHYS should cover.

Khaled feels that handicapped people in the Netherlands lack sufficient legal rights to help them be involved in society.

Here's what he had to say:

"I came to the Netherlands from Israel in 1992. I am an outgoing person, and enjoy going to cafes and bars etc. But when I moved here, I found people less likely to interact with me, and began to feel isolated. This feeling is felt by many disabled people in the Netherlands.

He gives one example of the poor treatment he has faced:

"I am blind, so at the supermarket I need help picking items from the shelves. A member of supermarket staff was helping me when the manager stopped them, and said they weren't allowed to help me. He told me that I could either provide them with a shopping list and they would do it, or I could leave the shop! How does this help me integrate into society?"

Khaled has also suffered an assault from a shop-owner, and been refused entry to cafes and bars, both on account of his disability. He has consulted lawyers, who have said that there are no legal protections to guarantee respect for handicapped people in society.

Is this simply a legal issue, or does this show that society is still discriminating against disabled people?

WHYS would love to hear from you, and whether you think we should run with Khaled's idea to discuss disability on the programme. Please leave a comment, or email us. Are you disabled? Have you experienced discrimination - and what can be done about it?

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