Egypt has joined the Valletta declaration on Arab-European cooperation to support persons with disabilities, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in statement on Tuesday.
The declaration was signed during the European-Arab meeting on the rights of persons with disabilities held at the Maltese parliament on 25 April, which was attended by 22 delegations from Arab and European countries.
Ambassador of Egypt in Malta Nada Darraz signed the declaration, which also makes Egypt a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
The Egyptian delegation participating in the meeting included Egyptian MP Heba Hagras, who spoke about the measures taken by the Egyptian government over the past years to support the rights of persons with disabilities.
The meeting, which was organised by ESCWA in coordination with the Arab League, resulted in the launching of the European-Arab Forum on Persons with Disabilities/Valetta to serve as a platform for exchanging experiences and promoting Arab-European cooperation to support the rights of persons with disabilities at the bilateral and regional levels.
Earlier this year, Egypt’s parliament approved a law establishing the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, as the country continues to execute its plan to empower citizens with disabilities.
The 18-article bill is concerned with integrating and empowering people with disabilities through the newly established council.
Egypt designated 2018 the year of persons with special needs, who are estimated to number 10 million out of Egypt's population of 104 million.
According to Article 81 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution, the state must provide work opportunities for individuals with disabilities and allocate for them a percentage of job openings, in addition to adequately equipping public utilities and the surrounding areas for use by disabled persons.
In December 2018, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced that the Tahya Misr Fund will provide an EGP 80 million donation to a new EGP 100 million investment fund for people with special needs.