Egypt’s Constitution obliges government and non-government agencies, as well as the private sector, to allocate at least 5% of their job opportunities to persons with disabilities, according to the Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights (SSCHR).
In celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, the SSCHR prepared a report on the nationwide efforts to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Egypt.
The report said that Egyptian constitution ensures equality before the law, without any discrimination based on a disability. The state should guarantee the economic, social, cultural, recreational, educational, health-related and sports-related rights for persons with disabilities, the SSCHR said.
The constitution also ensures the right to social security for every citizen who does not fall under the social security system, because of their inability to work and support themselves and their dependents in a way that guarantees a decent life.
Egypt has signed the African Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with the constitutional procedures for its ratification being currently finalised, the report added.
Meanwhile, to ensure adequate representation for persons with disabilities in the House of Representatives, the law allocates eight seats for this social segment within the list system.
Egypt launched the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to promote, develop, and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, in accordance with the constitution and international conventions ratified by Egypt.
The Council works towards consolidating the rights of persons with disabilities, raising awareness, and contributing to the exercise of their rights.
It aims to raise the quality of educational and health services available to children with disabilities, by promoting inclusion and early diagnosis.
It works towards raising the enrollment rates of children with disabilities in educational institutions and schools by ensuring that all buildings are properly equipped according to the type of disability. This will ensure that a suitable curriculum is also developed, and teachers receive the appropriate training on these curricula.
In 2020, Egypt established the Support Fund for Persons with Disabilities which aims to provide protection, care, and social development for persons with disabilities and to also support them in all economic, health, educational, and training fields.
The Fund disburses financial assistance, in particular scholarships to schools, institutes, and universities inside and outside of the country. It also contributes to covering the costs of prosthetic devices and surgery related to disabilities, and contributes to covering the costs of accessibility by improving public facilities via the implementation of the “accessibility code”.
Within the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy, Egypt’s Vision 2030, a number of ministries and agencies are undertaking the implementation of the National Plan for Persons with Disabilities.
For example, the Ministry of Health and Population is undertaking tests for the early detection of disability, and provides health and treatment services to persons with disabilities as well as medical examinations. It also sets the standards for treatment and rehabilitation based on individual needs and type of disability.
The Ministry aims to expand the implementation of the early disability detection programme in primary healthcare units. This looks to train medical personnel to deal with children with disabilities, and increase the screening for all newborn babies to ensure early detection of hearing impairment.
The Ministry of Education also plays a role in implementing inclusive education for persons with disabilities, and providing them with educational opportunities through different technologies. The Egyptian government has allocated EGP 1bn to educational programmes for this segment.
The ministry’s Digitization Project Curriculum aims to convert curricula for persons with disabilities into highly accessible curricula, in order to serve 18,000 students with hearing and visual impairments. The efforts will target the integration of students with minor disabilities and hearing impairments into public education and technical education schools.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) has indicated that
persons with disabilities represent10.64% of Egypt’s total population.
The country has launched a Presidential initiative to support and empower persons with disabilities, with programmes including the Technology Access Program to support 3,000 schools for special education and inclusion. Another programme will see 30,000 school teachers trained on the use of assistive technology in education.
The programmes also include providing and qualifying 100 tele-medical units to serve persons with disabilities and others in poor and marginalised areas.
The government is also applying Tax and customs exemptions for modified cars for those with disabilities, which are the right of every person regardless of the type of disability.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity provides monthly cash assistance to families that have one or more children with intellectual disability.