'Stricter measures to enforce disability law in UAE'
Isphana Al Khatib, Director, Al Noor Training Centre speaks.
How would you describe the current disability employment scene in the UAE?
The government is definitely encouraging this issue and the UAE is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). However, considerable awareness, information and understanding needs to be disseminated to corporates and prospective employers on this matter.
What are the strengths, weaknesses of disability empowerment in the UAE?
Strengths - the UAE's backing of the UNCRPD shows the government is committed to providing all the rights for people with disabilities. Also, Dubai has set up the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020 headed by Shaikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which aims to pro-vide equal rights and services to people with disabilities in Dubai by 2020.
| What the law saysThe UAE's Federal Government passed the UAE Disability Act (Federal Law No. 29/2006) in 2006. In March 2014, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Mak-toum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai issued Law No. (2) 'To Protect the Rights of People with Dis-abilities in Dubai'.|
The law aims to provide high-quality medical care and social services to all people with disabilities; boost public awareness; and contribute to integrating people with disabilities into society.
Weakness - no clear and structured quotas estab-lished, or measures to enforce the mandate of the UNCRPD.
How can we encourage more companies to give more opportunities to people with disabilities?
As a society we are obliged to provide opportunities for all people. If we do not support them for active integration, we may eventually, as a society, end up spending more on people who get marginalised and have other associated issues.
How does inclusion benefit an individual?
Society is made up of individuals. Each individual who is productively employed, is empowered and positively habilitated contributes to the well-being of society as a whole.
What needs to be done to empower more people with disabilities?
Activities and initiatives to raise awareness; provide relevant appropriate infor-mation to concerned parties on disabilities; more laws that provide clarity on the equality and rights of people with disabilities; hold people/organisation responsible if the appropriate laws are not adhered to.