The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
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Discrimination against disabled persons still rife in 21st century Malta – Oliver Scicluna

Friday, 11 September 2020, 07:29 Last update: about 3 years ago

Discrimination against persons with a disability is still rife in most of our structure and in Maltese society, according to the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability, Oliver Scicluna.

Writing in the foreword to the CRPD annual report for 2017/2018, Scicluna highlighted some of the forms of discrimination reported to the commission.

The Commission received 205 complaints by disabled persons or their family members. Together with 300 previously pending cases, these 505 complaints formed the case load of the commission’s investigations team during the period under review.

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These ranged from education to employment, from housing to accessibility, from goods and services to insurance and from rights to health.

“While the figures themselves might not appear startling, the quality of some of the complaints makes for some rather grim reading, suggesting that, in 21st century Malta, discrimination on the basis of disability is still embedded in most of our structures,” Scicluna wrote.

“Some of the complaints in this report suggest that discrimination is still vestigially ingrained in policies, for instance, the higher premiums on insurance policies for persons with a disability, the refusal of disabled children at childcare centres or the health centre protocol limiting the number of wheelchairs to two.”

“Society, too, is still rife with discrimination: from the bus driver refusing to let on the guide dog, neighbours who fail to cooperate with their disabled peers or reserved parking spaces constantly being removed, painted over or generally ignored by those who do not require their use.”

Some of the complaints being investigated include the lack of accessibility to bank ATMs, schools, health centres and pavements and the refusal by a childcare centre to accept a child with a disability due to a lack of LSEs.

In another case that is being investigated, Transport Malta renewed the driving license of a disabled person for three years, instead of the usual ten.

Other complaints are related to the lack of lifts in residential buildings.

During its first 18 year, the Commission investigated a total of 2,301 complaints, an average of 128 complaints per year.

 

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