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Independent Living Institute,
Storforsplan 36, 10 tr
123 47 Farsta
Tel. 08-506 22 179
Government Implementation of
the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
Inclusion International - ILSMH
Download 'ILSMH Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (258 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the government, in guidelines adopted by the National Disability Council, in policy adopted by political parties and in policy adopted by NGOs. According to the Government, disability policy is expressed in law. The emphasis in this policy - in descending scale - is on anti-discrimination law, rehabilitation, accessibility measures, individual support and prevention.
Since the adoption of the Standard Rules the government has not done anything to initiate or support information campaigns conveying the message of full participation. According to the Government, several measures conveying the message of full participation have been initiated. For example, technical assistance is provided in several formats, such as training programmes, information materials and brochures, grants and resource centres.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special legislation and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities include: due process (legal remedy through courts) and recourse procedure by a special agency dealing with anti-discrimination issues. Non-judicial mechanisms include: governmental body (administrative), independent expert bodies and special arbitration/conciliation body. According to the Government non-judicial mechanisms include also an Ombudsman.
General legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, political rights and access to court-of-law. According to the Government general legislation is also applicable with respect to the right to privacy and property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities with a low income only: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling and financial security.
New legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Standard Rules.
There are laws and regulations to ensure accessibility of the built environment which establish national design standards requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, land, sea, air transportation and housing are made accessible. However, the extent of accessibility varies widely, according to the Association. Accessibility in the built environment is observed by a national authority and by local governments. The following measures have been promoted by the government to facilitate accessibility in the built environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing automatic doors, lifts, accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, improving accessibility in housing and providing specially adapted motor vehicles. According to the Government, such measures as financial incentives/support for accessibility in housing, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired have also been promoted. Special transport is available for medical treatment and education, as well as in some cases also for work and to a limited extent even for recreational purpose. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments, are attitudinal factors and economic/budgetary factors. In some cases there is a disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
There are government measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their 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 and easy readers for persons with mental disabilities.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization of persons with disabilities. The Government states that there is national umbrella organization, but there are several groups who could be considered as leaders within their fields. There are legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with governmental institutions. Disability organisations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Their views are taken into account at the national level. According to the Government, the views of the organisations are taken into account also at the regional and local levels. The government financially supports existing and new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in government, legislatures, judiciary, political parties and to a great extent in NGOs. Disabled persons' organizations role is to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities and participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures concerning the lives of disabled persons. According to the Government, organizations also contribute to public awareness, provide services and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Office of the President. The committee includes representatives of several Ministries, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of other NGOs and from the private sector. The government expects the national co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development.
On the issue whether the adoption of the Standard Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy, the Association states: "Not to my knowledge - most improvements in disability policy have occurred due to the advocacy of NGOs". According to the Government, since the Standard Rules were adopted and after major US disability Act (ADA) was enacted, the Rules are used concurrently with a rethinking.
Contents of the ILSMH Report | Compare with the following Country Report(s): the US Government, WFD