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Independent Living Institute,
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Tel. 08-506 22 179
Government Implementation of
the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
Rehabilitation International - RI
Download 'RI Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (131 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997 Rehabilitation International, Hong Kong
No reply was received from the Government of Hong Kong.
The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in law and in guidelines adopted by the government. The emphasis in this policy is on rehabilitation, anti-discrimination law, prevention and accessibility measures.
Since the adoption of the Rules, the government has conveyed the message of full participation, through education programmes and other action.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special legislation and general legislation. The judicial mechanism available to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is due process (legal remedy though the courts). The non-judicial mechanisms include: a governmental body (administrative), and a special arbitration/conciliation body (equal opportunities commission).
General legislation applies with respect to persons with different disabilities with respect to education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, the right to privacy, access to court of law and property rights. No benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities.
New legislation concerning disability has been enacted, since the adoption of the Rules. (Disability Discrimination Ordinance and Amendments to the Mental Health Ordinance.)
There are rules to ensure accessibility of the built environment requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, means of public transport and housing are made accessible. Accessibility in the built environment is observed by a national authority. The following measures have been promoted by the government to ensure accessibility in the built environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, improving accessibility in housing, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired. There are special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities available for medical treatment, education, employment and for recreational purpose. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments are attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, lack of legislation and regulations and lack of enforcement mechanism. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. 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 others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille and sign language interpretation for major events.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is no national umbrella organization. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making or to work with governmental institutions. Disability organizations are often consulted, when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations occur at the national level. The government gives financial support to existing or new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in government, legislatures, judicial authorities and political parties and to some extent in NGOs. The role of organizations of persons with disabilities is 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 concerning the lives of persons with disabilities, contribute to public awareness, provide services and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the secretary of Health and Welfare. It includes representatives of the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs, and of Education, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of other NGOs, and from the private sector. The government expects the committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has led to improved co-ordination of measures/programmes, improved legislation, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more accurate planning, more effective use of resources and improved promotion of public awareness.
The adoption of the Rules has implicitly but not directly, led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.
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