The Malta Independent 30 September 2023, Saturday
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694 requests for investigations of alleged disability discrimination - CRPD Annual Report

Monday, 5 June 2023, 15:44 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) received a total of 694 requests for investigation in 2022, marking an 11% increase compared to 2021, the CRPD’s annual report of 2022 showed.

These figures were revealed in the CRPD's annual report for the year 2022, which was presented to the Minister for Inclusion Julia Farrugia Portelli by the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Samantha Pace Gasan. The CRPD serves as the national regulatory body for disability equality in Malta and Gozo.

Of the 694, 301 reports were related to lack of accessibility, 208 reports concerned misuse or abuse of the Blue Badge, and 88 reports were related to educational services provided by the government, the Church, and the private sector.

Significant decreases were recorded in reports concerning employment and housing (-33% and -38% respectively).

Farrugia Portelli said that during 2022, the enforcement section within the CRPD seized 171 illegal Blue Badges and confiscated 110 fraudulent Blue Badges.

She said that ongoing work is being carried out to amend the Blue Badge legislation, which includes expanding enforcement powers and introducing new offenses, particularly related to the falsification of Blue Badges.

Farrugia Portelli thanked all employees within the commission for their dedicated work in support of the disability sector.

Pace Gasan provided an extensive overview of the commission's services during 2022.

By the end of December 2022, there were 23,400 registered persons with disabilities under the CRPD's remit.

2,128 applications for planning permission were evaluated, which showed a 14% increase compared to 2021.

The commission approved 1,168 applications while issuing objections to 960 applications. Additionally, more than 200 inspections were conducted on-site.

In 2022, training sessions on Disability Equality were organized for 2,250 participants from various public and private entities in Malta and Gozo, an increase compared to the 1,488 participants in the previous year.

A total of 4,223 EU cards were issued, out of which 672 were renewed. The commission also collaborated on six EU projects related to disability.

2022 marked the first year of implementation of the three-year strategy (2022-2024) set by the commission. Apart from ongoing work, the CRPD focused on proactive strategic priorities that will contribute to the growth of the disability sector in the coming years.

“It is time for subjects such as intersectionality, deinstitutionalization, and digital innovation to become part of the disability discourse because they provide new opportunities for sectoral growth,” Pace Gasan said.

She also said that a research study on deinstitutionalization is underway to strengthen the CRPD's capacity to contribute to policy development in the field of deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities.

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