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^ Children with disabilities

156. As at 31 December 2006, some 11,000 children with disabilities were placed in the long term institutional care. Only 4% of them are in these facilities based on a court decision, otherwise they have been placed in institutional care by parents who do not want, are not able to or cannot care for these children.

157. The care for a child with disability in the family is an alternative option to institutional care. The legal framework that allows such care is the Act on social services.24 It provides the conditions under which it is possible to provide social and activating services for families25 with children and social counselling services.26 This Act allows to draw down a care allowance for persons over one year dependent on assistance from another natural person whose purpose is to secure the required assistance. The amount of allowance is differentiated subject to the degree of the person’s dependence. A person who is granted this allowance may “purchase” for it a social service, either in the facility registered under the Act on social services or from a natural person which may be precisely a family member. If a close person or another natural person living with the person eligible for assistance in a common household provides assistance to the eligible person, the municipal authority of the municipality with extended powers will issue to these persons upon their request free of charge a written certificate proving the period of this care for the purposes of health insurance and pension insurance. The municipal authority will always specify in this certificate the degree of dependence of a person to whom the care concerned is provided.27

158. For a pupil with disability, education in the form of an individual integration in normal school is preferred, if such solution is commensurate with his or her needs and possibilities and possibilities and conditions of the school and at the same time education of an individually integrated pupil follows an individual educational plan that is based on the school education programme of the relevant school, findings of a special pedagogical examination, or psychological examination by the school counselling facility or, where appropriate, recommendation of a registering general practitioner for children and young people or a medical specialist or another expert and opinion of the pupil’s or adult pupil’s legal representative. Implementation of individual and group integration of pupils with disabilities at schools is in certain cases secured by special pedagogues.28

159. Statistical data on the number of children with disabilities attending pre-school educational facilities and kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and higher vocational schools are provided in the Annex to this report (Tables No. 9–12).

160. For pupils with serious mental disability, the Act allows to determine such type of education that is commensurate with the child’s mental and physical abilities, based on a recommendation from a medical specialist and the school counselling facility.29

161. The applicable legislation,30 furthermore, requires to secure furnishing of schools and school facilities with the required equipment and easy-access solutions. Hence, other implemented measures are easy-access building adaptations of schools, stair-climbers,31 ramps, etc.

162. In 2004, the Government of the Czech Republic adopted the ^ Medium-Term Concept of State Policy on Citizens with Disabilities whose objectives and tasks were taken as the basis for the National Plan on Support and Integration of Citizens with Disabilities for the period 2006–2009.32

163. The issue of health services for young people is “inter alia” addressed in the Long-Term Programme of Improvement of Health Condition of the Population of the Czech Republic – Health for All in the 21st Century (Programme Health 21).33 The programme in particular envisages to create by 2020 such conditions that would ensure that all born children and preschool children have better health allowing them healthy start of their life, securing better access to prenatal and perinatal care (especially for immigrants), reducing the infant mortality rate (currently, the infant mortality rate is at the lowest level in history, i.e. 3.4 per mile) and the contribution of congenital defects to the mortality rate of live births and reduction in the mortality rate and disabilities caused by road accidents and violence against children under the age of 5 by 50%.

164. The issue of health services for youth is supported by funding under the programme Strategy for prevention of socially pathological phenomena Healthy life style, then at schools, in connection with school counselling and as part of the drug control policy grant programme. Under the grant programme Crime Prevention in 2006 and 2007, for instance, the project Support for mental health of children by changing and developing their mental and hygiene habits was supported.34

178. ^ The new Education Act35 abolished the so-called special schools. Special schools have been transformed under the new Education Act into primary schools. Pupils are educated according to the relevant education programmes.36 The framework education programme of the primary school also addresses education of pupils with special educational needs37 and pupils with light mental retardation. Education of pupils according to individual programmes is performed on the basis of recommendations from the school counselling facility and with the previous consent from children’s legal representatives. Individual primary schools have prepared their school education programmes in accordance with framework education programmes, the process has been tested at pilot schools. Teaching according to school education programmes is started gradually – kindergartens, primary one to six, followed by additional years of primary schools in next years and other types of schools. School education programmes are assessed according to framework education programmes by the Czech School Inspection, in line with the Education Act, school councils have been established at schools which enable to parents, inter alia, to influence a school’s educational process. In order to increase protection and quality of care for non-governmental nonprofit organizations, but also school facilities for special-interest education, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has put in place the system of vocational training of staff working with children and youth according to the Instruction of the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports on testing of vocational training of staff working with children and youth in the area of leisure-time activities,38 the Guidance Notes of the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports on securing further education of pedagogical staff of facilities for special-interest training of 2 July 2003 and recognition of the so-called Organizations for work with children and youth for the period 2007–2010 by the decision of the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.

231. The schoolmaster of a kindergarten, primary school, special primary school, secondary school and higher vocational school can establish in the class or the study group, attended by a child, pupil or student with special educational needs the function of a teacher’s assistant.39

228. The Campaign against adverse attitudes towards the Roma population continued as part of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All – towards a just society in the Czech Republic (hereinafter referred to as “the European Year of Equal Opportunities”). The aim of the European Year of Equal Opportunities was in particular to raise the awareness of the public about EU antidiscrimination policy and the right to equal opportunities for all. The effort to initiate a public or professional debate on illegal nature of discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation was an integral part of the Campaign.

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State report

References to children with disabilities in the state report:

3. With the advent of the new millennium, the Technical and Consultative Committee of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood in Egypt decided to focus its attention on the rights of children in marginalized groups and to concentrate on core issues affecting them such as the reduction of poverty, empowerment of families, the elimination of the phenomena of street children and child labour, the rehabilitation and reintegration of children with disabilities and school drop-outs, the provision of education opportunities, and the protection of children against violence, exploitation, and discrimination. All these areas will be dealt with in detail in this report

11. Egypt has ratified the following international instruments:

• The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), 5 May 2001.

• The International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 (1999) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 6 May 2002.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), 14 April 2008.

12. Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, 14 July 2002, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, 6 February 2007.

… • The creation of a helpline for disabled children, September 2003.

18. Article 3 of the Law makes specific reference to the four general principles in the Convention (articles 2, 3, 6 and 12) as follows:

a) The right of the child to life, survival and development within a harmonious family environment, and to enjoy full protection from all forms of violence, harm, physical and mental and sexual abuse, negligence, and all other forms mistreatment and exploitation;

b) Protection from any kind of discrimination irrespective of place of birth, parents, sex, religion, race, disability or any other consideration, and ensuring the equality of the enjoyment of such rights;

38. The Council has also prepared a draft law on the rights of persons with disability which is inspired by the international “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”. The intention is to present the draft to parliament at its next session

42. The First Lady, who is also the chairperson of the Consultative Technical Committee of the Council, held regular meetings with the Prime Minister, ministers, governors and other members of the Consultative Technical Committee to discuss problems affecting children and to follow up the implementation of programmes and projects. Minutes of meetings held between 2002 and 2007 reflect the importance that had been attached to vulnerable and marginalized children, and the protection of their rights. The meetings also laid special emphasis on child labour, street children, disabled children, girls’ rights within vulnerable groups, support for families to shoulder their responsibilities towards their children and enabling poor families economically. Other activities involve the creation of a comprehensive database at the national level to classify information by type, age group and geographical zones using advanced scientific methods.

^ Disabled children helpline 08008886666

52. This line provides an opportunity for families with disabled children to obtain free medical advice, information about services provided by the State, civil society organizations helping children with disabilities, and schools and universities capable of accommodating disabled persons. The line also provides free legal advice on a range of issues using experienced staff. This service also gleans information and proposals from callers to help create a viable database and to map out disability patterns in Egypt. The feedback also helps to pinpoint the shortcomings of the service. A total of 29,604 calls were received in the period from 1 March 2006 to 21 December 2008

79. One of the programmes of the “Council” is the publication of an abridged copy of the Convention for distribution to intermediate and secondary schools’ students. Other activities include organizing visits for students and researchers, and providing students with the Council’s publications on the rights of the child and human rights in compact disc form. 3 The Council’s website (www.nccm.org.eg) provides information about all the activities and programmes being undertaken, their objectives and the services provided- the child emergency line 16000 and the disabled help line 08008886666).

80. The Council organizes media campaigns, awareness advertisements and competitions such as the television and radio programme “Red Card for Child Labour” in cooperation with the Ministry of Manpower and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the right of girls to participation in political life advertisement, the elimination of female genital mutilation and the impact of early marriage on girls’ education under the motto “No to Harmful Practices”. This campaign achieved a huge popular success with a considerable impact. It also won several national and international awards. Other campaigns dealt with the rights of disabled children (with the Ministry of Culture), adolescent health, the protection of youth from drug use and smoking (with the Ministry of Health). The “Council” also works on raising awareness of the presence of the child emergency line through the various media outlets and encourages children at basic education level to memorize and use the emergency line 16000.

84. The Ministry organizes seminars on the rights of children with special needs and on how to care, educate and integrate them into society. It disseminates the culture of participation, promotes gender equality and encourages the rejection of violence. It also issues awareness publications such as the “Rights of the Child” leaflet. In conformity with articles 2 and 23, the Ministry produced a series of innovative publications depicting the writings and drawings by disabled children to reflect their thinking and aspirations using words, calligraphy, colours and pictures. Several art competitions have been organized by the Ministry as a means of allowing children to express their rights. Although such efforts are important, there is a need to ensure that such activities are accessible to a wider spectrum of children.

85. Children’s programmes aim to promote their culture, to develop their talents, to inform them of their rights and responsibilities, to raise awareness among parents of the rights of the child and their role in bringing out the best in their children. These programmes are also intended to make parents aware of the dangers of child labour, the harm caused by violence, the need for health care and how to detect disability at an early stage. The Ministry has launched a special family and child television channel and has established a family and child committee representing the Broadcasting and Television Council. The committee is headed by the Secretary-General of the “National Council for Childhood and Motherhood” with the membership of the chairmen of television channels and independent experts. It oversees the implementation of the childhood and motherhood plan, enables children to understand and participate in the work of the media programmes intended for them, submits proposals on how to approach children’s issues in the media, and participates in child-related regional and international conferences. Several of the high quality programmes produced by the Ministry have won international awards. There are, however, other programmes where children’s participation is restricted.

86. Plans have been put into place to train staff working on family and children programmes. More than 100 personnel have received such training. However, the number of training courses remain limited and are not readily accessible to the majority of those involved. As part of the third consultative conference for the Middle East and North Africa held in Cairo in June 2007 to announce the Arabic version of the United Nations’ Secretary-General Study on Violence against Children, a special session on “the role of the media in combating violence against children” was held with the participation of children, journalists, psychologists and artists. Other activities involved a follow up of the national campaign against female genital mutilation which led to a decision by the Minister of Health prohibiting this harmful practice. It is also worth noting that the Council has recently, after years of efforts, succeeded in bringing artists on board. They produced three drama works that were shown during the month of Ramadan at peak viewing times to reflect the problems of marginalized, disabled and street children, child labour, female genital mutilation, child abduction and the importance of child participation. The Council was quick to honour the artists to encourage similar works.

125. The National Council organizes awareness seminars for families and child carers in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity. The seminars discuss children’s problems and how to deal with them, the causes, prevention, types of family relations and how to deal with children. Other services provided include a societal rehabilitation programme to assist parents in the reintegration of disabled children in their local communities regardless of their age, gender or degree of disability.

130. Families of disabled children are entitled to special financial assistance to cover a mentally disabled child if the family’s monthly income is below 300 Egyptian pounds. This assistance is renewed on annual basis until such time that the cause of disability has subsided or the child has reached the age of 18 years. According to the September 2007 figures, 868,026 families received social insurance benefits and 43,527 families received assistance under the Children’s Act.

168. As regards the concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.145, paragraphs 39-46) on paragraph 234 in document (CRC/C/65/Add.9) on children with disabilities, paragraph 237 on children’s health and health care, paragraph 238 on adolescent health and paragraph 240 on female genital mutilation, responses are provided hereunder except for female genital mutilation, which was dealt with in paragraph 149 as a form of violence.

170. Mother and child health has witnessed tangible improvement in the past few years. Preliminary data from the Health Demographic Survey of 2008 and the 2007- 2008 Human Development report indicate a fall the under-five mortality rates from 54.0 for every one thousand live births in 2000 to 28 per thousand live births in 2008. The rate of infant mortality dropped from 44.0 for every one thousand live births in 2000 to 25.0 per thousand live births in 2008. Figures for mortality rates among newly- born children under the age of 30 days fell from 24 for every one thousand births in 2000 to 16 per thousand births in 2008. The reduction is attributed to the implementation of several programmes such as the newly-born care programme, the expanded immunization programme, the sick child comprehensive care programme, the safe motherhood and breastfeeding programme and the early disability diagnosis programme, all of which will be explained in detail later in the report.

^ A. Children with disabilities (article23)

Legislative amendments

174- In compliance with the observations by the Committee in paragraphs 234 and 235, and in light of the general principles of the Convention and the commitment by the State to guarantee children the rights enshrined in the Convention, a review of the of the articles of the Children’s Act concerning children with disabilities has been undertaken to strengthen the rights of the child as is shown in Act No. 126 of 2008. Article 75 stipulates that “the State shall guarantee the child protection from disability or any act that may harm his or her health, physical, mental, spiritual or social growth, and shall take every necessary measure to ensure the early detection of disability. The State shall be responsible for the rehabilitation, education and guaranteeing employment for disabled children when they reach the working age. The State shall take the appropriate measures to ensure the participation of mass media in awareness and guidance programmes in the area of protection from disability, to disseminate the rights of children with disabilities, and raise awareness among children with disabilities and those who provide them with the care they need to facilitate their integration into society”.

175. Article 76 states that “^ A child with disability shall have the right to enjoy special social, health and psychological care to develop self-reliance and to help his or her integration and participation in society”. Article 76bis stipulates that “A child with disability shall have the right to education, training, vocational education in the same institutions available to other children, except in cases where the degree and type of disability prevents the child from doing so”. In such exceptional cases, the State is committed to providing education and training in specialized classes, institutions or centres on a case-by-case arrangement. These specialized institutions must meet the conditions set out by law to ensure that the rights and dignity of the child and his ability to integrate into society are guaranteed. Article 86 states that “All aid and support equipment, their spare parts and production tools, and transport means for use by and rehabilitation of a child with disability shall be exempt from all taxes and levies”. Work is ongoing to include a disability component in the next national five-year plan.

176. The council held a series of meetings attended by representatives of civil society organizations, persons with disability and disability rights activists to discuss the draft United Nations Convention on Persons with Disability and their dignity. The meetings helped the development of a strong position reflecting the views of persons with disability in Egypt. Egyptian nationals with disability participated in the drafting of the comprehensive and over-arching convention intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disability. Egypt ratified the Convention on 14 April 2008. The Council and other relevant bodies played a key role in bringing the Egyptian perspective of the Convention together in support of Egypt’s ratification.

177. Several of the programmes developed by civil societies active in the field of disability focus on the link between the Rehabilitation Act No. 38 of 1975 and the proposed drafts for a new law, on the one hand, and the ^ United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, on the other. A number of workshops and round-table discussions have been organized at provincial level to raise awareness of the Convention and to bring domestic legislation into line with its provisions. Persons with disabilities, their families, civil society and Government agencies took part in these discussions. Disabled Egyptians also took part in the formulation of the policies of the Arab Decade for the Disabled (2004- 2013).

^ Awareness, advocacy and the defence of the rights of children with disabilities

178. Civil society organizations’ role of advocacy and the protection of the rights of persons with disability, in particular children, has witnessed important developments in the past few years. Several networks have been set up to involve disability experts and stakeholders. They include:

• The Education Integration Network. It brings together the representatives of 20 specialist organizations, stakeholders and their families, and Government education specialists. The network supports the efforts of the Integration Administration at the ministry and has the mission statement of putting the education of children with disabilities on equal par with the education of normal children.

• The Social Rehabilitation Network. As a juridical entity, this network has brought together an elite of specialists under its umbrella since its inception in September 2008. It enjoys the support of the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood.

• The Disability Awareness Network. It was established through the internet using information technology to bring disability rights advocates, family members and specialists together. The network monitors media coverage of disability issues, suggest solutions to problems and engage journalists on their projection of disability. The network also reviewed the admission policy of persons with disability at one of the private universities.

179. Other civil Society organizations focus, as part of the “Children in Danger” programme sponsored by the Council and the European Union, on raising the levels of awareness of the rights of persons with disability among disabled children and their families through:

• The simplification of the explanation of the Convention.

• The facilitation of meetings between groups of disabled children and some Government officials to demand their rights and submit problems affecting the enjoyment of these rights.

• The preparation of a comprehensive review of the rights of persons with disabilities under Egyptians and a services guide of the rights guaranteed to the disabled and how to obtain them.

^ Awareness, definitions and trends

180. Civil society organizations, the Council and the media assume a collective role in altering views towards disability and in changing perceptions through the emphasis on the juridical and development aspects of disability. Such efforts are beginning to yield the desired results as can be seen in the approach by the media to disability awareness. In July 2008, the Council, in cooperation with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability, organized a conference on the media’s coverage of issues affecting persons with disability, the main provisions of the Convention, the juridical aspect of their rights and the need to change the sense of pity and charity directed at persons with disability. The conference agreed to produce a procedures manual for future media and drama works.

^ Data and information

181. Definitions and terms used in the area of disability remain lacking in uniformity and tend to focus on the nature of the disability in spite of the adoption by the World Health Organization of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in 2001, and the definition adopted by the United Nations. Such definitions are not commonly used in official communications between the competent authorities and data collection agencies. This has led to major discrepancies in the available data. Equally, data available on children with disabilities remain limited and not properly classified to allow an easy and efficient use. Efforts, however, continue to improve the situation as follows:

• The creation of an official website for the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.

• The establishment of databases for every project implemented, including the Children in Danger programme.

• The publication of several guides of available services produced by civil society organizations in a number of provinces.

^ Programmes and services for children with disabilities

182. Although services intended for children with disabilities are provided by several ministries and agencies, the rates of children benefiting from such services remain low at nearly 4 % of the total number of children with disabilities.

183. Efforts to raise the levels of awareness and the need to bridge the gap have borne fruit. The number of civil society organizations specializing in dealing with children with disabilities has risen to more than 500. Other organizations have added a disability component into their scope of activity and have joined the disability network. Government services to persons with disability have also been increased and improved as explained hereunder.

^ Prevention programmes

184. The Ministry of Health has implemented a programme for the early detection of lymphatic gland deficiencies among newly-born babies at provincial levels. Several hospitals, health centres, and social rehabilitation societies have had their early detection and intervention capabilities developed. As a result, levels of disability among infants have been drastically reduced.

185. The Cairo Children in Danger programme funded a laboratory for the early detection of a vast range of genetic metabolism disorders providing services to more than 25,000 newly-born infants over the duration of the project. Work has been ongoing to expand the testing through a protocol signed with the Ministry of Health and Population. Another laboratory was established to deal with two major disorders, Phenylketonuria and Glactosemia, and to test all infants born in Alexandria.

186. The increased number of awareness-raising programmes on the normal growth of children has contributed to the prevention of disability through early detection of disease.

187. Another method of dealing with genetic metabolism disorders detected at an early stage, is the provision of special diet and dairy products. One such example is the dietary regime introduced at the main Cairo paediatric hospital. Early intervention for the rehabilitation of children under the age of 4 is another programme introduced by several civil society organizations. Genetic and paediatric units at research centres and university teaching hospitals provide similar services and training for staff using the expertise of civil society organizations.

^ Social rehabilitation services and programmes

188. There is consensus that a community-based rehabilitation strategy represents the ideal approach to closing the wide gap between the needs of persons with disability, and the available services and resources. Several governmental and non-governmental entities have contributed to the planning and execution of programmes and projects.

^ Ministry of Social Solidarity

189- In spite of the various rehabilitation services provided by the Ministry through centres, institutions, physiotherapy units, crèches, protected workshops and multiple disability centres at the national level the rate of use of such services does not exceed 1% of the targeted groups.

190. The Ministry adopted a community-based approach to target persons with disability and their families without limitations on age, type or degree of disability through the various institutions which conduct an evaluation of every case and through the centres which oversee the implementation of projects within specific geographical zones. It has also embarked on reviving the Higher Council for Rehabilitation. New The Public Authority for

^ Health Insurance

193. The Authority provides training for the parents of students in the public and private education systems. It also relies on the parents of students in the public education system to disseminate health information. Other training programmes cover the use and maintenance of disability aids. The Authority has trained 660 doctors, 1774 health workers, and 1219 teachers on the use of disability early detection forms. Services do not cover children with disabilities outside the education system. They constitute the largest percentage especially when it comes to mental, severe and multiple disability.

^ Civil society

194. Several civil society organizations implement community-based rehabilitation programmes and projects in 11 provinces with activities and programmes designed to meet the requirements of the system. They also design and implement training programmes of different levels of specialization to include carers, paediatricians, teachers, sociologists and psychologists. Other organizations provide training to parents on how to accept and provide support to their disabled children. These efforts have had a major impact on parents forming support groups to uphold the rights of persons with disability and to bring their problems to the attention of society.

^ The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood

195. The Council has organized diverse programmes to train staff involved with children with disabilities like doctors, education experts, sociologists, psychologists and administrators on how to deal with health needs with special emphasis on child disability. Between 2003 and 2007, nearly 4000 persons were trained in various disciplines.

196. At present, work is underway to develop a strategy to promote quality services provided to persons with disability with the aim of coming up with proposals to guide the policies governing such services.

197. The “Children in Danger” programme (2006-2008), which comes under the supervision of the Council with funding from the European Union, focuses on the regions in need and relies on civil society organizations and local communities to deliver services to children with disabilities, their families and communities.

198. Services are provided through the “Complaints Office” of the Council and the “Child Treatment Technical Decision Committee”. The Council has set up a complaints office in 2001in cooperation with other agencies and civil society to help solve problems. The technical committee deals with medical assistance decisions reported to the complaints office, to Hotline 0800666888 or the emergency line 16000. Free services are provided to children without a health card or who do not enjoy the health insurance coverage. The line received 29,570 calls in the period from March 2006 to July 2008.

200. One private university established a centre for the care of persons with special needs. The centre enjoys full technical, financial and administrative autonomy, and plays a pioneering role among Egyptian universities. It provides comprehensive medical and educational services for all types of disability, conducts research, organizes training courses, holds seminars and conferences, and cooperates with a specialized civil society organization that trains support teachers for children with special needs. The centre has a cooperation agreement with the World Confederation for Functional Therapy to grant diploma degrees. It also cooperates with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to provide loans to the disabled and their families to start small businesses.

^ Services and education programmes

201. In spite of all the efforts made by the Ministry of Education to provide services to children with disabilities in three main areas namely the deaf and hard of hearing, the blind and visually impaired, and simple mental disability, there remains a wide and important gap in the provision of these services. According to the 2005 statistics of the Ministry, there were 804 special needs schools accommodating no more than 36,808 students, which accounts for only 1.48 % of the total number of children with disabilities at school age.

202. A comparison of education coverage rates for normal children and children with disabilities up to the age of 18 years shows that the former enjoy a coverage rate of 73% to the latter’s 1.1 %. In the case of normal children there is one school to every 454 students as opposed to one special needs school for every 44,850 students with disability. This represents a serious deprivation of the right to education. Opportunities for students with disability to attain higher education remain extremely limited. Deaf students cannot effectively enrol in a higher education institution while blind students and students who are physically handicapped can only enrol in a restricted number of faculties which constitutes a serious breach of their right to education.

203. The Ministry has started a programme for the development of intellectual education in cooperation with the Comprehensive Care Association. Fourteen schools in Cairo have been introduced to the scheme as a first step to cover a total of 429 schools nationwide.

204. Integral education is another area where programmes and projects have been developed. Between 2003 and 2008, the European Union funded a technical assistance programme that was executed by two civil society organizations as an extension of an integral education pilot project which was started in 1998. As a result, 15 primary schools and 15 kindergartens in Cairo, Alexandria and Minya benefitted from the programme with more than 300 students with disability integrated into the system. More than 300 teachers received integration education training. Two parents’ associations and two integral education networks in Cairo and in Minya were established. The Ministry of Education published special teaching books for children with disabilities taking into account their needs and respect for their dignity.

205. On the policies level, the success of the abovementioned project has had an important impact. Integral education for children with disabilities became part of the strategy to overhaul the education system as was outlined in the Presidential Statement of 2006, as well as in the political platform of the ruling party, the National Democratic Party. In 2008, an integral education committee was established at the Ministry of Education and included in its membership representatives of civil society. The five-year national plan for educational reform (2007-2012) has integral education as a component in its programmes.

206. The number of special needs schools has been on the increase. Such schools rely on the teacher and assistant teacher method in the classroom, facilitating participation in classroom activities, the adaptation of the normal curricula to suit the needs of students with disability, measuring the performance of students to adapt the individual curriculum to students’ requirements, and enabling students with disability to be involved in extracurricular activities such as music, drama and sport.

207. A number of private centres have started providing services to children with learning difficulties. They include the measurement and evaluation of psychological and educational aptitudes, educational support, the training assistant teachers on how to work with students with disability in integral education schools and the training of teachers in regular schools on how to pay attention to learning levels among students in the same class.

^ Recreational and cultural programmes

208. Mentally handicapped children participate on a regular basis in the special Olympiads organized on the regional and international levels and have won 47 gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2007 Beijing Games. They also participate in activities and competitions organized by the Sports Federations for the Disabled. Results in these competitions are used for qualifying purposes when determining participation in world events and the Olympic Games.

209. As part of the implementation of ministerial decisions, an increasing number of youth centres are now accessible to children and youth with disability to use sport facilities and to benefit from recreational activities. In the same context, staff of youth centres are trained to plan and execute activities to integrate persons with disability. At present, only 2 % of existing youth centres cater for children with disabilities. Other activities involve the provision of access to public children’s libraries (Suzanne Mubarak libraries- Comprehensive Care Association) for physically handicapped and visually impaired children.

^ Cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities

210. Cooperation between the bodies responsible for funding disability services like the relevant ministries and the Council, civil society organizations, the World Bank, the European Union and the private sector (major companies) saw a noticeable improvement. Cooperation in the area of funding initiatives also improved as the case was with the “Children in Danger” programme referred to earlier. The initiative was supervised by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Council with the help of civil society organizations.


211. Despite the intensification of efforts, several areas continue to suffer from shortcomings and require solutions. Such areas include:

• The absence of agreement among the competent authorities on the adoption and development of a national strategy to deal with disability through a partnership and through the distribution of tasks to give disability priority in development plans, and the lack of a legal framework to guarantee persons with disability their rights and equality of treatment instead of the charitable approach.

• The absence of accurate databases to help provide a clear picture on the magnitude of the problems and types of disability, available services, how to access them and the effectiveness of these services.

• A shortage of qualified staff in all areas of specialization, limited exposure to good training programmes, poor quality of services and coverage for more vulnerable children with disabilities (children with severe or multiple disability) attributed to the lack of resources available to the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the reticence of civil society organizations to be involved because of the difficulties encountered.

• The need for additional funds to improve the quality of services, the adoption of the minimum required standards for such services and a quality control regime.

• The need to include the rights of children with disabilities as a component in all children’s activities (health, education, culture, work...etc).

219. The Council launched a programme to improve the quality of life for children in Tarra and Helwan in cooperation with the Suez Cement Plant with a budget of 8,400,000 Egyptian pounds over two years. As part of an environmental camps scheme, children are handed hygiene kits containing iodine salt, sulphur and glycerine soap, a tooth brush and paste, a medical loofah and hair disinfectant. The contents of the kit are the subject of discussions with children on the use of each item. Several meetings on healthy food, personal hygiene and avian flu have been organized with topics for discussion turned into puppet shows by the children. These activities covered 1,477 students including 37 with disabilities. The Council aims to expand the activity to cover all schools in poorer areas.

223. School health insurance focuses on preventive care and the provision of clinical testing and vaccination services by age group, the monitoring of mental and psychological disorders, congenital diseases, mental and visual and hearing and elocution and physical disabilities, and nutrition. The scheme is also involves disability programmes organized by the Ministry of Health and civil society organizations.

239. In 2006, the first adolescent psychology clinic was established at the medical school of Cairo University to be affiliated to the Qasr al-Aini hospital. It provides adolescent mental health services and training for members of the community on treatment methods, and cooperates with the Council through the mobile adolescent health care clinic intended for villages and hamlets.

240. In 2004-2005, the Ministry of Health and Population established youth advice clinics in several provinces in cooperation with the Teaching Hospitals Authority. Other clinics were established in cooperation with civil society organizations and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide advice and testing on a voluntary basis. The Health Insurance Authority provides services to help combat violence among adolescents. To that end, several training courses were organized for doctors and psychologists in cooperation with the “Council” and the University of Alexandria. The General-Secretariat for Mental Health at the Ministry established an adolescent unit to provide in-patient and out-patient services to adolescents aged 12-19 years.

262. Article 53 of the Children’s Act relevant to pre-university education objectives has been amended to include the realization of peace in full conformity with the Convention and the observations by the Committee. Measures taken in this respect are:

• The development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential while ensuring the conformity of educational programmes with the respect for the dignity and personal identity of the child; the preparation of a child to participate in life and share responsibility; and develop in him or her the sense of respect for the rights and freedoms of others.

• The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, and for national and religious values; the preparation of the child for loyalty to his or her country, tolerance and respect for others; and the preparation of the child to accept the principles of equality of sexes, and non-discrimination against all peoples regardless of religion, ethnic origin, race, social background, disability or any other grounds for discrimination.

263. In addition to the principles of peace and respect for others as pillars of the various educational programmes (as indicated in article 53 of the Egyptian Children’s Act), other principle include:

• The development of respect for the rights and freedoms of human beings.

• The development of the child to respect loyalty to his or her country of origin, and to show friendship and tolerance towards others • The preparation of the child to accept the principles of equality of sexes, and non-discrimination against all peoples regardless of religion, ethnic origin, race, social background, disability or any other grounds for discrimination.

359. Problems facing working children/street children in Egypt are:

…• The exposure to injuries or disabilities caused by their presence on the streets, workplace pollution and hazards, and sexual abuse.

^ Social development and civil society programme “Children in Danger”

367. This programme targets several categories of children in danger and is being implemented in cooperation with the European Union over a period of four years at a total cost of 20 million Euros. The programme also involves 101 civil society organizations and other Government agencies and targets five groups of marginalized children: those outside the education system, street children, children with disabilities and girls facing female genital mutilation. It also has components relevant to civil society capacity building and networking to ensure the sustainability of meeting targets.

368. The programme, which started in March 2005, has achieved significant results such as bringing basic education to the fore through the preparation of guides on societal participation, the development of curricula and the training of women facilitators. Another achievement is the development of a comprehensive follow-up and evaluation guide, and a Geographical Information System (GIS). The programme has introduced to Egypt, for the first time, an early warning system to detect disability in infants and has succeeded in bringing the industrial sector on board to deal with child labour problems.

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State report

References to children with disabilities in the state report:

1. A central legislative reform that has taken place after the submission of Finland’s third periodic report concerns daycare services provided to children in need of special support, child welfare, and services provided to children with disability. The Primary Health Care Act (1972/66) was supplemented by an obligation to monitor the state of health of children and young people and to focus on preventive measures. Paternity leave was improved, allowances were increased and certain other benefits were improved by amendments described later in this Report. The safety of young workers was improved. The act on the restraining order (898/1998) was supplemented by a provision on the inside-the-family restraining order. A new Aliens Act (2004/301) took effect in May 2004. The Penal Code (1889/39) was supplemented in 2004–2006, for example, by provisions criminalising trafficking in human beings and child abduction.

10. Act on Services for Persons with Disability. The Act on the Services and Support Measures to be Provided Due to Disability (380/1987) was amended in 2006 (amendment 1267/2006) by improving the access to interpretation services for the severely hearing disabled, hearing and visually disabled and mute children and adults. A new Bill for amending the Act will be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2008. The Act will be supplemented by provisions on personal assistance to be provided for severely disabled persons and on the ways of organising assistance. Personal assistance could be organised either by reimbursing the expenses incurred by the disabled person for hiring an assistant or by providing such assistance as a municipal service or as a service by another service provider. The variety of ways to organise assistance also enhances the possibilities of providing personal assistance for severely disabled children and adolescents. The amendments are scheduled to enter into force from the beginning of 2009.

33. Finland signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol on Individual Complaints in March 2007. The Convention and the Optional Protocol entered into force internationally on 3 May 2008. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has requested key national authorities and civic organisations to submit their views on the legislative amendments required for the ratification of the Convention. The national legislation already meets majority of the requirements of the Convention. The legislative amendments under preparation and the setting up of a national monitoring and coordination body for the implementation of the Convention are likely to require several years of preparation after which Finland will be able to ratify the Convention and its Optional Protocol.

84. To date, in Finland there is no general monitoring, which would cover the state of health of all the children, nor is there any comprehensive information on disabilities available. This is a deficiency, however, that is being remedied. Monitoring the state of health of children with disabilities and chronically ill children is being developed as a part of a more general LATE-project launched by the National Public Health Institute. The goal of the project is to develop a system where the most essential data on children’s health could be collected directly in connection with physical examinations carried out by child clinics and school health care. The system will be tested during 2008.

90. The Ombudsman for Children considers the available basic information related to children as clients of child welfare and, as a broader context, their social exclusion, insufficient. According to the Ombudsman, specific research is necessary in order to get more information on wellbeing of and the services provided for children with disability, chronically ill children and those children in need of special support as well as on immigrant children. The statistical monitoring of the living conditions of these children belonging to the most vulnerable groups is not possible on the one hand because of the existing restrictions on collecting sensitive data on individuals and on the other hand because of the small number of persons belonging to these groups. Therefore the Ombudsman suggests that the living conditions of children belonging to these groups could be monitored by means of specific research conducted on a regular basis.

110. According to the Non-Discrimination Act (21/2004), discrimination on the basis of age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics is prohibited. The Act applies to both public and private activities in the following contexts: 1) conditions for access to self-employment or means of livelihood, and support for business activities; 2) recruitment conditions, employment and working conditions, personnel training and promotion; 3) access to training, including advanced training and retraining, and vocational guidance; and 4) membership and involvement in an organization of workers or employers or other organizations whose members carry out a particular profession, including the benefits provided by such organizations. The Act also provides for sanctions for the violation of the prohibition to discriminate as wells as supervising the observance of the law.

117. Report on Disability Policy. In 2006, the Government submitted to the Parliament a Report on Disability Policy, the central principles of which were defined as follows: the right of people with disability to equal treatment, to participate and to have access to necessary services and support measures. On the basis of the Report and its background material, proposals on how to further develop the disability policy arose. These development measures are designed to ensure the realisation of human rights and non-discrimination in respect of people with disability, among other things, by implementing equal educational opportunities and ensuring a reasonable level of subsistence. A disability policy programme based on the Report, is currently under preparation, which will outline Finland’s disability policy measures for the years to come.

118. According to the ^ National Council on Disability, discrimination of persons with disability is general and wide-scale. Discrimination takes place for instance in working life. People with disability encounter difficulties in being employed, and those who have managed to be employed often experience discrimination. Mobility of people with disability is often hindered by obstacles in the physical environment and public transportation.

121. The NGOs also consider that in addition to other children, the rights of children with disability are insufficiently materialised. Services provided for persons with disability vary considerably from one region to another, which places children with disability in an unequal position according to the municipality in which they live. From the perspective of mainstreaming gender-based equality, it is essential to have equality as a goal in all aspects of the society. In this context, children belonging to sexual and gender minorities is mentioned as a group, which typically encounters sexual and gender-based harassment at school and outside it.

136. The National Council on Disability pay s attention to the Article 10 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities providing that every human being has the inherent right to life and that states shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. The National Council on Disability considers it important that the preparative work for the legislative amendments enabling the entry into force of the Convention be carried out as soon as possible. In November 2007, the National Council on Disability and the National Advisory Board on Health Care Ethics organised a seminar on the theme “The rights of persons with disability in social and health care; Perspectives into resuscitation, medical fertility treatments and adoption”. In the discussions it came up that a child with a disability may be denied ordinary health care measures on the basis of his or her disability. There have even been some cases, where without the knowledge of the parents, entries have been made in a child’s medical records concerning prohibition of resuscitation measures. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has also brought this issue into the attention of the National Authority for Medicolegal Affairs.40

163. The National Council on Disability underlines the special status of children with disability especially in situations calling for the application of Article 12 of the Convention. The rights of the speech-impaired, especially dysphasic persons are not realised in the manner required by the Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients (812/2000).

213.^ Services for the family of a child with disability. Disabled children and their families are entitled to the same services and support measures as other children and families. In addition, they are provided with special services and support measures on grounds of their disability. From the very beginning, professionals of social services and health care provide the parents of a disabled child support and information on disability. In child clinics, the child’s development is monitored on a regular basis, and efforts are made to discern developmental delays as early as possible. The municipalities, the Social Insurance Institution and many organisations organise adjustment training for disabled children and their parents. The improvement of the wellbeing of disabled children, young people and their families is one of the measures contained in the Development Programme for Child and Youth Policy.

219. According to the NGOs, the monitoring practices of the substitute care services are varying across the country. The revisions made by the new Child Welfare Act in the number of groups of children and the staff in charge of caring for and educating them are welcomed, even if they remain very modest. It would be necessary also to revise the maximum number of children cared for in foster care. To increase the amount and share of foster care as a form of substitute care would require enhanced planning, the rationalization of the provision of information and recruitment and increasing the training and support provided to foster families. Currently, the availability and use of foster families vary considerably from region to region. According to the NGOs, the resources allocated to preventive services remain insufficient, which is a significant obstacle to the realisation of the objective of early support. In particular, the support measures directed to the families with disabled children are inadequate.

249. The ^ National Council on Disability pays attention to indications brought up by research that persons with disability encounter much more abuse and violence than the main population in general. Solicitation through the Internet (Grooming) is also mentioned as a new form of threat.

310. Children with disability. Objectives of the disability policy are the equal treatment of disabled persons and strengthening their opportunities in life management, working abilities and capacities as well as independence. The focus of the activities is to remove obstacles to participation, and improve services and rehabilitation. The objective is to have sufficient public services which are suitable to the needs of all citizens. A secondary objective is to create special services related to, for instance, housing, equipments, transportation and interpretation.

311. A personal care plan is drawn up for disabled persons, including children, with an objective to assess, which services and support measures are needed. The plan is written by municipal authorities with the assistance of the disabled person or his or her legal guardian or other relatives. The purpose of the care plan is to improve the client’s autonomy and possibilities to have influence. The plan is reviewed at regular intervals, and a person in charge is designated with the task of contacting all the relevant authorities and compiling a comprehensive service package.

312. ^ Persons with severe hearing impairment, the deaf-blind and persons with speech impairment are entitled to free of charge interpretation services provided by the municipality. The services are provided in sign language or by other forms of communication using new technology. The Act on Services and Assistance for the Disabled (389/1987) was amended in 2006 (amendment 1267/2006) by adding a provision on interpretation services in it. People with severe hearing impairment and visually impaired persons are entitled to benefit from interpretation services of at least 360 hours and persons with other types of severe disability at least 180 hours of interpretation a year (the corresponding amounts used to be 240/120). The changes took effect from the beginning of 2007. Also children with severe disabilities can take advantage of these services, and improve their opportunities of participation.

314. In autumn 2007, the Supreme Administrative Court adopted a judgement41 in a case concerning the arrangement of service housing for a minor in his own home as provided for by the Services and Assistance for the Disabled Act (389/1987). The decision clarifies the inconsistent legal practise, concerning whether service housing can be organised for a child in his or her own home or whether this is to be arranged by the parents of a disabled child as a part of their normal parental obligations. In its decision, the Supreme Administrative Court considered that services and support measures provided according to the Act (380/1987) are meant for the benefit of children with severe disability also in cases where the special needs of the child, taking into account his age and level of maturity, require additional supervision and care in excess to that normally required of parents.

315. According to the non-governmental organisations, services provided for the disabled vary considerably according to the municipality of residence. The availability of personal assistants, interpretation and transportation services for disabled children are insufficient. These insufficiencies jeopardize disabled children’s right to development and independence. The right of the families of disabled children to special services and to home help services has not been ensured to an adequate level by legislation. Substitute care is not sufficiently provided for children with severe disabilities, which might promote the well-being of their parents. The NGOs also consider that sufficient attention has not been paid to the special needs of disabled refugee and immigrant children.

338. Special-needs Education. The steering group set up by the Ministry of Education drew up a report for “Strategy for Special Needs Education”42 in 2007. The report stressed the importance of intensified early intervention before transferring a pupil to special needs education. A pupil should be provided with remedial training, part-time special needs education and student welfare support measures. A decision concerning transferral to special needs education should be made mainly for a fixed term and should provide in binding manner information concerning where the education is planned to be provided, the resources needed, assistants and other student welfare services. The central idea of the report is that the pupil should go to the school closest to his domicile and the realisation of the principle of inclusion. The basis for organising education is the pupil’s right to study in the school closest to his or her home regardless of the special support needed. On the other hand, the right to education of those pupils who cannot attend school, including those with physical disability and those mentally disabled, is emphasized.

342. The non-governmental organisations for the disabled have made the following proposals for addressing the future challenges of disability policy: Efforts must be made to make it easier for the disabled to study; and support must be provided as much as possible. Having a school assistant should be made a subjective right. School assistants should be provided with more training, and their working conditions should be improved. More attention should be attached to enhancing cross-professional collaboration, that is, cooperation between the school, family and other specialists. Better opportunities should be offered to the disabled children of school age and students for experimenting and training on jobs in different sectors of education. Better possibilities should also be provided for them to visit different educational institutions.

Recommendation 47. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to take appropriate measures to combat the phenomenon of bullying and violence in schools with the full involvement of children, including by carrying out periodic surveys among students, staff and parents about the quality of peer relations being fostered by the school. There should be special focus on bullying and violence towards children with disabilities and children with disabled parents.

350. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has been informed by representatives of minority groups that Roma children, in particular, still have considerable problems related to their school attendance and that they still encounter bullying. The same applies to immigrant children and representatives of other minorities as well, including children with disabilities and children and adolescents who are developing a differing sexual orientation. The Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman in charge of the observance of legality of the school administration has resolved a couple of complaints per year concerning bullying. Regular school inspections have offered an opportunity to focus on the prevention of bullying and appropriate ways of addressing bullying.

371. The physical exercise programme for children and adolescent emphasizes enhancing the activities of clubs, making sports accessible to an increasing number of youngsters, developing the quality of sports as a part of the afternoon activities, developing the activities of 3rd to 9th graders right after school, setting off local pilot projects, including disabled children in sports club activities following the example of the project Sports for Everyone and activating children and adolescents who do less sports.

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State Report

References to children with disabilities in the state report:

19. Furthermore, the committee resolved that proposals should be drawn up, in joint consultation involving the state, the social partners and the municipalities, for measures to harmonize the demands of economic life with those of family life, and on services to families with children. In particular, attention should be paid to methods of ensuring that enterprises will adopt a policy on family responsibilities and on the shortening and increased flexibility of working hours, and to methods of ensuring that parents can take better care of their children, e.g. in cases where children are ill or disabled.

34. Every year, the Government Agency for Child Protection organizes seminars, information sessions, forums and conferences concerning child protection and the rights of children for the personnel of child protection committees and the staff of treatment homes, as well as for cooperative parties, professionals and the general public. In all its education services the Governmental Agency for Child Protection takes account of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular, and places great emphasis on equality, service and the interests of children in all its decision-making. Similarly, the Government Agency of Child Protection has, in particular, concentrated on the rights of children in delicate situations, e.g. children who have been sexually abused, children who have been physically abused, children dwelling in institutions, children with mental disturbances, disabled children, and children of foreign origin.

42. Similarly, pursuant to Article 20 of Act No. 100/2007 on Social Security, child’s pension is awarded to children under the age of 18 if one of the parents has died or accepts disability benefits, provided one of the parents or the child itself has had its legal residence in Iceland at least for a period of three years immediately before submission of an application.

43. A new Act on Payments to the Parents of Chronically Ill or Seriously Disabled Children, No. 22/2006, entered into force 1 July 2006. The objective of this Act is to secure temporary financial assistance to parents when they are not able to work or study in acute situations when their children are diagnosed with serious and chronical illnesses or serious disabilities. Pursuant to Article 3 of the Act, the definition of a child is an individual under 18 years of age.

47. The new Preschool, Primary School and Secondary School Acts provide for increased assistance to non-Icelandic speaking pupils and students. The Acts propose the legislation of the principal orientation that school shall be without segregation and will serve all children irrespective of their origin, language, health or disability. This is in agreement with the Salamanca Declaration of the United Nations and the established policy in Iceland in recent years:

a) A growing demand is being made on primary schools to meet the needs of those whose mother tongue is not Icelandic, or who use sign language, suffer from dyslexia, an illness or are disabled. Even though all children ought, in principle, to be able to obtain their primary school education together with other children, parents or guardians may continue to request that their children be granted access to special remedies within primary school or a special school.

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