On 19 February, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ratified the Law for Persons with Disability, Law 10 for 2018, after it was passed by the House of Representatives.
The law includes 58 articles in eight chapters which cover health and medical rights for persons with disability; their right to education, vocational training and work, and the State’s commitment towards securing their rights. They also tackle legal and criminal protection for persons with disability, and their political rights. A whole chapter is dedicated to their right to sports and entertainment, and the final chapter covers penalties against violators of the law.
The new law stipulates that the bylaws that govern implementation of the law should be issued by the Prime Minister in the space of six months.
The new law is widely seen as a gain for persons with disability, and has generated much comfort in circles concerned with disability. According to Sherifa Massoud, herself a person with disability who is also an expert on the issue, founder of the NGO EduFoundation which concerns itself with early intervention in disability cases, Managing Editor of the now defunct Watani Braille, and a disability rights activist; the law was drafted through active input from persons with disability and those concerned with their rights. “This is among the main reasons it so adequately answers their needs,” Dr Massoud told Watani.
Among the law’s more positive features is that it has, for the first time in Egypt, placed a non-ambiguous definition for ‘disability’ in its first article, and criminalised discrimination based on disability. It secures the rights of persons with disability to benefit, equally with non-disabled persons, from all State services: education, transport, health, social security, and others.
The law stipulates that persons with disability should be granted health and social insurance; integrated with mainstream pupils and students in schools and universities; accommodated in literacy classes in case they are illiterate; and secured 10 per cent of places in university hostels, 5 per cent of public and private entity jobs, and 5 percent of State-built housing units. Disability-friendly transport and building codes should be applied.
The new law also ensures the right of persons with disability to high-ranking and leadership posts; and grants them and their care-givers generous tax cuts.
The estimated number of persons with disability in Egypt amounts to some 13 million.
22 February 2018