Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
Download 'Government Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (440 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (26 March 1996)
Compare with the following Country Report(s): DPI, ILSMH, RI, WBU
The disability policy in the Czech Republic is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: rehabilitation, prevention, individual support, accessibility measures, anti-discrimination law.
Prior to the adoption of the Standard Rules the Czech Government started the new policy concerning persons with disabilities, by the adoption in 1992 of a national Plan of Actions for the handicapped Persons, which in 1993 was updated and adopted by the present Government. This new policy convey the message of full participation.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms available for the protection of their rights are due process (legal remedy through courts). There is also a Governmental body (non-judicial) for the same purpose.
The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy and property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to disabled people: medical/health care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, and participation in decisions affecting them.
Since the adoption of the Standard Rules the legislation of the Czech Republic is being changed to a great extent. Every law and regulation which may concern disability contains special article(s) applying to the persons concerned.
Legislation and other forms of regulation concerning the build environment establish national design standards requiring that schools, hospitals, clinics and other public places, the outdoor environment and air transportation are made accessible. Local Governments review the operation of accessibility standards. The following measures have been promoted by local Governments in big cities to facilitate accessibility in the build environment: marking parking areas, access to public places, financial support for the costs of adapting private buildings, provision of specially adapted motor vehicles, installing of light signalling for the deaf and installing of sound signalling on pedestrian crossings for the blind in big cities. Special transport is available for all persons with disabilities and for all purposes. However, according to the Government, very few public lines are accessible for the physically disabled. Subsidies are provided for individual transport for all purposes. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles, according to the Government, are economic/budgetary factors, lack of knowledge, research and information and lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is a disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
The right of deaf children to be educated by the means of sign language is guaranteed by the law. There are no Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make services accessible for persons with disabilities. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation available only for major events.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There are about 120 organizations of and for persons with disabilities, or their parents, represented in the national umbrella organization. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws with a disability aspect are being prepared. This occurs at the national level. Financial support is provided to national representative organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government and judiciary, to some extent in legislature and political parties and to a great extent in NGOs. The disabled persons' organizations have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, and provide services.
Co-ordination of work
There is a national co-ordinating committee reporting to the Prime Minister's office (the Government Board for People with Disabilities). The committee includes representatives from eight Ministries, from organizations of persons with disabilities and from the private sector. The national co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes, improved legislation, more effective use of resources, and improved promotion of public awareness.
The Government states that the adoption of the Standard Rules has not led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy, disability policy starting only one year before the adoption of the Standard Rules with a new attitude in this field. All aspects concerning full participation of disabled persons were involved in the Resolutions of the Czech Government.