86 895 099 million.1
The 2006 census used a measure of mobility impairment to calculate the prevalence of disability in Egypt. Experts estimate that the actual number is likely to be much higher, as the census only accounted for impairment and did not include activity limitations or participation restrictions as part of its measure.
The 2006 Egyptian census estimated that 1,8 per cent of the Egyptian population is living with disabilities. The UN estimates a much higher figure, estimating that 12 million people are living with some type of disability.2
According to the Government of Egypt’s UPR Report in 2010,3 statistics for 2006 indicated that there are 475 576 persons with disabilities in Egypt, 170 360 of them females. A 2011 study of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and local civil society organisations estimated the percentage of persons with disabilities to be approximately 11 per cent, or approximately 8.5 million persons. 4
The 2006 census indicated that of the 475 576 persons with disabilities in Egypt, 170 360 of them are females. The census did not include activity limitations or participation restrictions in its definition of disability.
There is little reliable data concerning the prevalence and forms of disability in the Egyptian population. A 2002 study commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency found that mental disabilities comprised almost 75 per cent of all disability in Egypt with mobility impairment making up 15 per cent and visual and hearing impairment constituting the remaining 11 per cent.5
Egypt signed the CRPD on 4 April 2007. Egypt ratified the CRPD on 14 April 2008. The Government of Egypt and Egyptian disability advocates participated in the drafting of the CRPD within the Ad Hoc Committee.
On signature of the CRPD, Egypt entered the following statement as an Interpretive Declaration: 6
The Arab Republic of Egypt declares that its interpretation of article 12 of the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which deals with the recognition of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others before the law, with regard to the concept of legal capacity dealt with in paragraph 2 of the said article, is that persons with disabilities enjoy the capacity to acquire rights and assume legal responsibility (‘ahliyyat al-wujub’) but not the capacity to perform (‘ahliyyat al-’ada’), under Egyptian law.
Egypt has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. In its UPR Report in 2010, the Government of Egypt pledged to consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the CRPD. 7
In view of Egypt’s ratification of the CRPD in 2008, its first report was due on 3 June 2010. To date, it has not submitted its report to the CRPD Committee. The National Council on Disability Affairs is responsible for reporting Egypt’s progress in implementing the CRPD. Due to political instability in Egypt since 2011 and several changes in national leadership, the government has yet to produce the report.
Egypt has submitted numerous reports to relevant human rights treaty bodies, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. It is, however, late in submitting its periodic reports under current reporting cycles for all the human rights treaties within the UN system that it has ratified.
Egypt has, in past reports, to some extent made references to persons with disabilities. It has not, however, done so in any detailed, consistent or comprehensive manner. 8
In Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review, in 2010, Egypt includes a section on persons with disabilities.9 While it notes the ratification of the CRPD in 2008, it provides no information on efforts made to implement the CRPD domestically.
The Ministry of Social Affairs capitalised on the momentum around disability issues and drafted the Law for Persons with Disabilities for consideration by the Egyptian parliament. Due to political unrest and regime changes, however, the law was never brought before Parliament. On 1 January 2014, the Egyptian Council on Human Rights drafted an amended version of the Law for Persons with Disabilities and organised a one day conference for comment on the draft. To date, no further action has been taken. The Law for Persons with Disabilities would act to supplement the provisions of the CRPD. According to article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution, treaties become binding domestic law upon ratification without any further implementing steps from the legislature after ratification and signature.
According to the article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution, treaties become domestic law upon ratification. The CRPD therefore, operates as domestic law in Egypt. Because of continued political transition, Egypt has not significantly reformed laws that would enhance its compliance with the CRPD.
Egypt’s current Constitution was approved by popular referendum on 14 and 15 January 2014 and contains several provisions related to disability. The Constitution became effective on 18 January 2014 following announcement that the text was approved by general referendum. Chapter 2, article 81 directly establishes the ‘rights of the disabled’. The article states:
The state shall guarantee the health, economic, social, cultural, entertainment, sporting and education rights of dwarves and people with disabilities. The state shall provide work opportunities for such individuals, and allocate a percentage of these opportunities to them, in addition to equipping public utilities and their surrounding environment. The state guarantees their right to exercise political rights, and their integration with other citizens in order to achieve the principles of equality, justice and equal opportunities.
The Social Welfare Law 79 of 1975 and subsequent amendments, in particular Law 25 (1977) and Law 92 (1980), are amongst those that deal specifically with persons with disabilities' welfare rights. The main function of these provisions is to ensure that people who acquire impairments through work related injuries or disease receive appropriate compensation and pensions.
The Law of Civilian Employees 47 of 1978 and the Law of Public Sector Employees 48 of 1978 include articles relating to the employment of workers with disabilities. These statutes were introduced to secure employment for disabled workers in state sponsored agencies and organisations.
Rehabilitation Law 39 (1975), amended under Law 49 (1982) raised the employment quota for disabled workers from 2 per cent to 5 per cent. The definition of disability under the Rehabilitation Law is ‘any individual who became unable to depend on him/herself in performing his/her work or another type of work and remains in it. His/her inability to do so is the result of physical, mental, sensory or congenital impairment’.10
‘Rehabilitation’ in Law 39 is defined as presenting social, psychological, medical, educational, and professional assistance to all disabled persons and their families to enable them to overcome the negative consequences resulting from impairment.
Also the Egyptian childhood law number 12 for the year 1996 concerned the disabled children in its 6th chapter under the name ‘Care and rehabilitation for the disabled child’, articles (76) and (77) provides that disabled child have the right to:
(2) Rehabilitation, which includes all social, psychological, medical, educational and vocational services, required to help the disabled child and their families to overcome the consequences of their handicap.
The law determines that the state should provide rehabilitation services, technical aids and appliances free of charge and according to the budget allocated for this purpose. It provides that the Ministry of Social Affairs has the duty to establish the institutions and bodies required to provide rehabilitation services to children with disabilities. In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs can provide certificates giving the rights to other bodies to open such institutions according to the regulations identified by the internal charter. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education is entrusted with establishing schools and classes to educate disabled children according to their abilities and potential, and the entry requirements, curricula, and examinations are to be decided by the internal charter.11
Various pieces of legislation indirectly address issues related to disability insofar as they address, amongst others, access to social services for persons living in poverty, political participation for citizens, and access to employment.
The Ministry of Telecommunications provides training and education for teachers working with students with disabilities. Al Azhar University provides specialised programmes in higher education for students with visual impairments.
The newly established National Council for Disability Affairs is an independent government council established by Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri in June 2011 to investigate issues related to persons with disabilities. Complaints and comments may be submitted to the body for investigation related to individual rights.
The Council also adopts a general comprehensive policy through the set-up of the different national committees and their sub-committees throughout the country that supports policies and services to promote issues such as inclusion in schools and universities, accessibility in all its forms, health services, employment, legal issues, raising awareness in the media, and collaboration with the Ministry of Health to set up comprehensive and inclusive centres for needed medical services.