CAIRO: A bill pertaining to the rights of people with disabilities will be reviewed by the People’s Assembly, following the next parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in October, announced Minister of Family and Population Moushira Khattab on Thursday.
The ministerial committee was assigned to draft the bill.
Khattab explained that the bill proposes the establishment of a powerful council for the disabled and a fund, to finance their projects and activities.
Manal Hussein, head of the human communication association, which is part of the Egyptian Coalition to Support the Rights of People with Disabilities, told Daily News Egypt, “Only two or three people with disabilities, participated in drafting this bill, we had hoped more people [with disabilities] were included.”
The bill is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Egypt ratified in April 2008.
The UN convention promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promotes respect for their inherent dignity
Article 29 of he UN convention states that “Persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programs, including those directly concerning them.”
The Egyptian Coalition to Support the Rights of People with Disabilities issued a study that reveals a staggering lack in the disabled people’s political participation.
Khattab said that the bill guarantees the disabled person’s rights to freedom of expression, and to integrate completely and participate in the society.
There is nothing in the Egyptian constitution that prevents the disabled from voting or running in the parliamentary elections, as long as they are not mentally disabled.
But according to Hussein, the electoral commissions are not equipped to accommodate the disabled.
“The election forms in the electoral commissions are not translated into sign language for the deaf and there are no forms in Braille for the blind, there are no passageways for the wheelchairs of the disabled, to help them navigate freely,” Hussein told Daily News Egypt.
Hussein added that the coalition will present a project, addressing all these issues to the National Council for Human Rights and the supreme electoral commission this month.
According to the Coalition’s study, 7.7 percent of disabled people would like to set a quota for those with disabilities in different parliamentary councils, while 53.8 percent demanded more awareness about their social engagement and fighting stereotypes about the disabled as a marginalized group.
Hussein said that the coalition is prepping four disabled individuals to run in the next parliamentary elections.
“We’ll have to wait and see how they will be received,” she added.