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 (25 March 1996)
The disability policy in Bahrain is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government and in guidelines adopted by the National Disability Council. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: rehabilitation, anti-discrimination law, accessibility measures, individual support, prevention.
Since the adoption of the Standard Rules the Government has taken action in order to convey the message of full participation. These actions are: Supporting all the principles and objectives of United Nation Organizations; Ensuring the right of the disabled people, Educational, Vocational, Health, Psychiatric, Social and Rehabilitation; Providing different Homes, Centres and Institutions for disabled children, adults and elderly; Supporting NGOs forpersons with disabilities; Establishing the National Disability Council in order to co-ordinate all rehabilitation services.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The only mechanism available in order to protect the rights of disabled persons is different societies or organizations.
The general legislation applies to all persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, and participation in decisions affecting them.
According to the Government's statement new legislation concerning disability has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.
Laws and regulations for ensuring accessibility in the build environment establish national design standards requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, land, sea and air transportation, and housing are made accessible. A national authority, local Governments, and the organizers/providers of services are reviewing the operation of accessibility standards. The following measures have been promoted by the Government in order to facilitate accessibility in the build environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing automatic doors, lifts, accessible toilets, ensuring access in public places, improving accessibility in housing, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired, and provision of specially adapted motor vehicles. Special transport arrangements for persons with disabilities include: local transport free of charge, and 50% reduction in air transportation. These arrangements are available for medical treatment and education. A disability awareness component is incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language is used as the first language in education of deaf people. Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information make the services accessible. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, sign language interpretation for any purpose, text-TV.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization of organizations of persons with disabilities. 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. Consultations take place only at the national level. Financial and organizational/logistic support is given to existing or new organizations. The 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, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
A national co-ordinating committee includes representatives of the Ministry of Employment, of organizations of persons with disabilities, and of other NGOs. The Government expects the 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 in the disability field, improved legislation and integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more accurate planning, and more effective use of resources.