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Important law endorsed

Jun 11,2017 - Last updated at Jun 11,2017

Jordan can be proud about its recently Parliament-endorsed law on the rights of people with disabilities, the “most advanced” in the region, that will change the way the country deals with these people, which constitute about 13 per cent of the population.

Reflecting the country’s leadership’s resolute commitment to the cause of this group of people, the law, with its “clear” anti-discrimination provisions, adopted a broadened definition of disability which takes into account the physical barriers that hinder these people’s ability to lead a normal life and allows them “to practise their legal capacity as citizens”. 

Jordan was one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, in 2008, but, according to the secretary general of the Higher Council for People with Disabilities, a “gap has been evident between principles and practices when it comes to the rights of citizens with disabilities”.

The new law is expected to bridge this gap, going beyond considering purely the medical angle of disability to give notice to the physical and behavioural barriers that stand in the way of those with disabilities.

It introduces the concept of informed consent, whereby citizens with disabilities, after receiving enough information about the consequences of their decisions, will enjoy the right to decide for themselves what course they take in life. 

The new law was no doubt drafted on the basis of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

That should earn Jordan high marks from the international committee on the rights of the disabled when its next periodic report will be considered.

This segment of the population, not negligible as the figure shows, is vulnerable and needs the protection of all.

Many can be integrated in the labour market, not to mention society, and become productive members, self supporting and earning a dignified living.

Those who need special help should not have to suffer, and they will not, at least on account of the law, which stipulates that the government should incorporate the needs and rights of people with disabilities in its programmes and plans, while intensifying the oversight system, especially in disability care centres.


Now that the law was endorsed, it is hoped that there are monitoring and follow up mechanisms to ensure its appropriate implementation.

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The law should also look at the way the city is being built to accommodate those with disabilities. First, sidewalks need to be easily accessible for handicapped people. Having to go up 6 risers of stairs in every building in Jordan should be forbidden. These are just some of the measures that need to be implemented to assist people with disabilities.

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