KUWAIT, Feb 3 (KUNA) -- The Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) has unanimously approved the disability rights act in the second and final reading on Wednesday.
The new legislation, with 74 articles falling in ten chapters, was referred to the government for enforcement.
It stipulates the healthcare, educational and employment rights of Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti nationals with special needs.
The law defines a person with special need as the one who suffers from a permanent disability, whether total or partial, which impairs their physical or mental or sensual ability to ensure the basic necessities of life.
It provides that a disabled person who was born to non-Kuwaiti father and a Kuwaiti mother should be treated as a Kuwaiti person throughout life under a nationality decree from the Minister of Interior.
The law asks the government to take the necessary administrative and regulatory measures to effectively ensure the provision of the basic necessities of disabled persons while developing the state policies and programs.
It asks the government and non-government employers which have workforce of 50 persons or more to recruit at least 4 percent their workforce from vocationally rehabilitated persons with special needs.
Employers should not try to evade this provision without an acceptable reason, the law makes clear.
The state should provide financial incentives in the form of subsidies, remunerations and awards to employers from the public or private or sectors who exceed the set percentage. The law demands that the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) launch world-class sporting, cultural and recreational centers for people with special needs nationwide and work to integrate these persons into the society.
It demands that the government foster the athletic abilities of the disabled persons, encourage these persons to participate in sporting events and treat them on equal footing with normal person in terms of sports rewards and vacations in line with the professionalism act.
It demands the Ministry of Information to employ sign language interpreters at the visual mass media in order to enable deaf viewers follow up the political, cultural and social news.
The move should be made then two years since the law got force.
The law entitles the Kuwaiti male youths with special needs to marriage grant from the Savings and Credit Bank (SCB) even if their would-be wives are non-Kuwaitis on equal footing with normal persons.
As for the housing care, the legislation entitles the persons with special needs to a grant which is KD 10,000 more than the sum available to normal persons in order to enable the disabled persons buy certain equipment and facilities they need.
A person with partial disability can get a grant which is KD 5,000 more than the sum available to a normal person.
The monthly loan installment should not exceed 5 percent of the monthly pay of a disabled person with a maximum ceiling of KD 50, according to the law.
A Kuwaiti woman who is married to a non-Kuwaiti and has a severely disabled husband or child is entitled to a housing unit with special specifications for their convenience and public utilities for free.
Regarding the employment rights, the law stipulates the rights of people with special needs to medication, maternity and other special vacations.
It also sets forth a retirement pension equaling 10 percent of the monthly for disabled male and females if they worked for 20 years and 16 years respectively. The rule applies to the persons who sponsor children with a severe disability.
The law provides for launching an independent authority called the public authority for disabled affairs which should be affiliated to the cabinet and sponsored by the first deputy premier.
The planned authority will be in charge of all affairs and policies relating to the care and rehabilitation of disabled persons including the provision of their basic necessities and the development of procedures pertinent to the implementation of the state obligations.
The supreme council of the authority will be chaired by the first deputy premier and include minister of health, minister of education, minister of higher education, and PAYS board chairman as members along with four representatives of the civil society organizations who are active in this domain.
The eighth chapter of the law stipulates penalties for persons who rig documents to manipulate the disability rights as well as penalties for connivance in this regard.
It provides for penalties for a officials of state-run institutions or corporations and the private employers who fail to employ a disabled nominee without a reasonable justification.
It also stipulates punishments for employers who fail to recruit the set percentage of disabled persons out of their workforce.
The state budget has to bear the costs of the enforcement of the law which should take force three months after its publication in the official gazette. (end) ms.mtt.rf.gb KUNA 032252 Feb 10NNNN