CAIRO: A draft law concerning the rights of people with disabilities is slated for discussion during the upcoming Cabinet meeting this month before submitting it to the People’s Assembly and the Shoura Council for final approval.
"We are trying to reach the international standards for the rights of disabled people," said Moushira Khattab, Minister of State for Family and Population.
The draft law includes 20 clauses and will serve approximately seven million disabled people in Egypt.
The clauses include references to the right to education and employment as well as a plan to set up a national council for disabled people affiliated with the Ministry of Family and Population.
The council will have a broad mandate including the proposal of laws supporting people with disabilities and the provision of services.
Khattab explained that the disabled will be involved in the administration of the proposed council along with representatives from the Ministries of Health, Transportation, Social Solidarity and Interior Affairs.
A fund for the council will be established through civil society donations, according to local reports Sunday.
Egyptian law stipulates a quota of five percent of employees in companies and factories must be dedicated to people with disabilities.
Yet people with disabilities have often complained from discrimination at work.
In early April, dozens camped outside the Parliament building demanding basic rights such as jobs, housing and the opportunity to start a business.
Khattab, however, says that the new law will respond to all these demands.
"The law protects [disabled people] from discrimination, not only by providing people with job opportunities but also by creating the proper environment to integrate them with their fellow colleagues," Khattab said.
She added that a project to add a barcode to their national identity cards of disabled people is in the pipeline to cater to their special needs.
A council affiliated with the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration has already been tasked with collecting and recording data about the unemployed disabled people who protested in front of Parliament.
State news agency MENA reported that Manpower Minister Aisha Abdel Hadi has given strong directives to ensure that the five percent quota is adhered to strictly.
She spearheaded inspection campaigns of all facilities employing more than 50 workers to ensure that the law is properly implemented.
"It is their right to participate, learn and have an active role in society," said Khattab, who also blamed the families of people with disabilities for the isolation of their children.