© Independent Living Institute
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
Rehabilitation International - RI
Download 'RI Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (131 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by a national disability council and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis in this policy is on individual support, accessibility measures, rehabilitation, prevention and anti-discrimination law.
In order to convey the message of full participation the Ministry of Social Affairs has translated the Rules to Icelandic.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special legislation and general legislation. The judicial mechanism adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is recourse procedure by a special agency, dealing with anti-discrimination issues. The non-judicial mechanism is a government body (administrative). According to the Government, no judicial mechanisms have been adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, but there is an Ombudsman for that purpose.
General legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to education and employment. According to the Government general legislation also applies with respect to the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family and to political rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, participation in decisions affecting themselves. According to the Government, even the benefit of health and medical care is guaranteed by law.
No new legislation concerning disability has been enacted, since the adoption of the Rules.
There are rules to ensure accessibility of the built environment which establish national design standards requiring that public places, means of public transportation and housing are made accessible. According to the Government, there are no rules to ensure accessibility in the means of public transportation. Accessibility in the built environment is observed by a national authority and by local governments. The following measures have been promoted to facilitate accessibility in the built environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing automatic doors, lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, improving accessibility in housing, providing financial incentives/support for accessibility measures in housing, using contrast colours for visually impaired and providing specially adapted motor vehicles. Special lighting for visually impaired has not been promoted. Special transport arrangements include specially adapted cars, run and controlled by the local authorities. Special transport is available for medical treatment, education, work, recreational purpose. According to the Government special transport is not available for medical treatment or for recreational purpose. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments, are economic/budgetary factors, lack of planning and design-capacity and lack of enforcement mechanism. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status, but is used as the official language in education of deaf people and is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are government measures to encourage media to make their information services accessible to persons with disabilities, but no government measures to make other forms of public information services accessible to persons with disabilities. The government states that there are measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible. The only service provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons is sign language interpretation for major events. According to the Government, even literature in Braille/tape and news magazines on tape/Braille are provided.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization of persons with disabilities. There are legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with governmental institutions. Organizations of persons with disabilities are often consulted, when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations occur at the national, regional and local level. The government gives financial support to organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in government, judicial authorities, political parties and to a great extent in legislatures and 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. According to the Government, organizations do not advocate rights or improved services, nor do they promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Social Affairs. The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Social Affairs, of Employment, and of Housing, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of local authorities and of the budget committee. According to the Government, the committee includes representatives from the Ministry of Finance only. The government expects the national co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes, 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. It is too early for an assessment whether the establishment of the co-ordinating committee has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.
Contents of the RI Report | Compare with the following Country Report(s): the Icelandic Government, WBU