The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

Accessibility standards become Maltese law through legal notice

Jeremy Micallef Wednesday, 21 August 2019, 10:07 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Accessibility Standards for all in a Built Environment Regulations were formally announced today by Parliamentary Secretary for Persons with Disability, Anthony Agius Decelis, and the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability, Oliver Scicluna.

The standards used to be a Maltese National Standard adopted by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority which came into effect upon publication of a notice on the 10 April 2015, but are now directly transposed into Maltese law.

Speaking from the CRPD offices in Birkirkara, Scicluna said that the focus was primarily on physical access for built-up properties, or for buildings being re-constructed into, for example, boutique hotels.

“We felt that these standards were not enough,” the Commissioner insisted.

The legal notice also gives the Commission more powers to allow it to more easily contest those who do not follow the law, noting that before “the standards did not have enough weight” – to the point that they had lost cases in court.

Plans were also announced for the formation of an enforcement unit to allow the Commission to move ahead on its own in certain situations.

Scicluna maintained that collaboration with other business such as Transport Malta was important, and that independent living and inclusion are encouraged.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that this will be making the quality of life for disabled person in Malta and Gozo better – particularly those that do not have full access.

The work was partly done to get in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) guidelines that came out last year.

“There should not be any barriers for a person to enjoy an environment due to physical barriers,” Agius Decelis maintained.

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