UN Committee for Rights of People with a Disability with positive comments about Malta
Malta has been under the scrutiny of the UN which vets countries on their implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability. Known as Article 12, this convention outlines the rights and integration into society of people with a disability.
For the first time, Malta took part in the 20th session of the UN Committee for People with a Disability held in Geneva, with a public dialogue as requested by the UN Convention. The questions put forward by the Committee to the representatives of the Maltese delegation were about various aspects of human rights, such as inclusion in education and employment, the provision of services, accessibility, the right to personal autonomy and independent life, the integration with life in the community, and the social and political participation of people with a disability.
The consultant to the Parliamentary Secretary for People with a Disability, Dr Alistair De Gaetano, said that the delegation was positively surprised to hear that Malta had made several advances in this sector and how it has become a model for other countries in certain sectors.
Dr Degaetano said, “afterwards members of the Committee not only praised us but also asked to use the model we have developed in Malta when it comes to the interpretation of Braille, which they described as a very good model.”
The requests for questions to put forward in front of the Maltese delegation were also made in Braille, the universal language of the blind. Dr Degaetanoa said that even here, interest was shown for certain innovations which were implemented in Malta, such as the system of voting poll stations for people who are visually impaired, to be adopted in other countries.
The Chairperson of the UN Committee, Theresa Degener appeared satisfied with the presentation of the Maltese delegation.
Ms Degener said, “this has been a very constructive dialogue with the government of Malta. We’ve received a lot of information and we’re looking very much forward to how you implement article 12 in your country.”
In their replies, the Maltese representatives explained how the Government was enforcing the law against discrimination with the introduction of a number of incentives for people with a disability and employees, which include both formative as well as physical measures.