Government Implementation of
the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
Rehabilitation International - RI
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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997 Kuwait Society for the Handicapped, Kuwait
No reply was received from the Government of Kuwait.
The officially recognized disability policy is expressed in guidelines adopted by the national disability council and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis in this policy is on rehabilitation, prevention, accessibility measures, individual support and anti-discrimination law.
Since the adoption of the Rules, the government has not done anything to convey the message of full participation.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by 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 mechanism include a governmental body (administrative) and independent expert bodies.
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 and the right to privacy. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, and participation in decisions affecting themselves.
No new legislation 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, the outdoor environment and means of public transport are made accessible. Accessibility in the built environment is observed by a national authority and by local governments. The only measures promoted in order to ensure accessibility in the built environment are marking parking areas, installing automatic doors, lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places, providing financial incentive/support for accessibility measures in housing and providing specially adapted motor vehicles. There are special transport arrangements available for medical treatment, education, and for recreational purpose. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments are attitudinal factors, geographical and climatic factors, lack of legislation and regulations, lack of knowledge, research and information, lack of user participation, and lack of enforcement mechanism. There is a disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language is recognized as the official language of deaf people, is used as the first 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 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, sign language interpretation for any purpose and easy readers for persons with mental disabilities.
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 always 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 great extent in government, legislatures and NGOs. The role of organisations of persons with disabilities is to advocate rights and improved services, 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 to promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the Ministry of Social Affairs. It includes representatives of many Ministries, of organizations of persons with disabilities, of other NGOs and from the private sector. The government does not expect the committee to participate in policy development or 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, to a certain extent, led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.
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