KUWAIT CITY (5 December 2018) – A UN expert today welcomed the initiative to ensure the full and effective inclusion of people with disabilities in society, as laid out in the Kuwait National Development Plan 'Vision 2035'.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, acknowledged the efforts of the Kuwaiti Government to strengthen the Public Authority for Disability Affairs, and the resources allocated to its social protection system.
"This is a matter of approaches, not of resources,” Devandas said in a statement at the end of an official visit to the country. “Kuwait has a very strong social protection system and benefits for people with disabilities, but there are few services available in the community to support their social inclusion.”
The Special Rapporteur cited concerns about education, including the difficulties encountered by non-Kuwaiti children with disabilities to access quality education.
“Instead of investing in inclusive education for all, the Government covers the fees of Kuwaiti children with disabilities in private special schools. This has triggered the creation of more segregated education system,” she said.
Devandas called for more progress in giving people with disabilities full citizenship rights. "Legislation needs to change to ensure that persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities enjoy all their civil and political rights," she said.
During her visit, the UN expert received numerous allegations of discrimination against stateless Bidoon with disabilities. "Many of them are unable to register and obtain an ID card issued by the Central Agency for Remedying Illegal Residents’ Status, which is a prerequisite to access any services,” Devandas said.
The Special Rapporteur will present a detailed report of her findings and recommendations at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in March 2020.
Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar (Costa Rica) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities in June 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council. Ms. Devandas Aguilar has worked extensively on disability issues at the national, regional and international level with the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, the UN unit responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Bank. Her work has focused on the rights of women with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, country page – Kuwait
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