Campaigns and activities
I believe the authorities are committed to take active measures to remove political and practical obstacles that prevent or limit a person with disability to fully exercise fundamental human rights on equal basis with non-disabled persons. A national focal point was set up in April 2014.
Yes, however, Malta reserved the right to continue to apply its current electoral legislation in so far as assistance in voting procedures is concerned. Visually impaired persons and others with difficulties to read and write are obliged to submit their vote by using the aid of a polling official in the presence of three assistant commissioners and all other assistant commissioners representing different political parties. This is due to the fact that, although, visually impaired voters can make use of a ballot template in Braille and an mp3, voters have to hand-write the numbers of their preferred candidate on their ballot paper in the space provided by the template. Therefore, since only very few persons can read Braille, as we do not have any qualified Braille teachers in Malta, and for those who use the mp3, visually impaired voters are unable to independently verify whether they have written the number in a legible manner or correctly, particularly the persons who were born blind and who are unable to write. Visually impaired persons fear that they will invalidate their vote.
The role of the focal point is to address matters relating to implementation and to consider establishing a coordination mechanism within government and be the point of reference for other ministries. Furthermore, the Focal Point consults with all organisations and entities operating within the disability
Sector with regards to the Disability Action Plan, setting out the government plans, to implement the requirements of the Convention.
The focal point is the main agency responsible for the implementation of the convention. The Focal Point designed a framework to involve disabled people in the drawing up of reports and implementation process. It is planned that communications and consultations with the civil society, non-governmental organisations and all stakeholders, mainly persons with a disability will be conveyed to the authorities by the focal point administration in order that all recommendations provided, will be taken into consideration for the implementation of the Convention.
Seminars, including radio and television programmes are organised in collaboration with the National Commission Persons with a Disability (KNPD) in its role of Independent Mechanism in implementing, promoting, and monitoring the CPRD. KNPD strives to ensure positive representation of disabled people in the media to raise awareness and combat discrimination.
As an Independent Mechanism, KNPD embarked on the creation of a Disabled Persons Advisory Committee (DPAC). The aim of DPAC is to fulfil the obligations under Articles 4, 33.3 and 33.2, that is, to ensure the full participation of disabled people in all aspects of the implementation process of the CRPD. KNPD endeavours to ensure that the rights of persons with a disability stipulated in the Convention are fully and concretely respected.
KNPD monitors the implementation in line with its function as Independent Mechanism.
Broader public consultation and an appropriate coordinating mechanism between various government and non-governmental organisations has been recommended. In the future it is intended that all NGO's, will be involved in ongoing meetings with Focal Point Office and KNPD, with regards to the implementation and auditing of the implementation processes.
A budget was allocated to set up the Focal Point Office. Two persons are employed with KNPD and another three at the Focal Point Office.
A state report, written by the National Focal Point Office will be presented in November 2014.
The shadow report was drawn up by KNPD and was presented in March 2013.
Implementation of the CRPD is in its initial phase, however a withdrawal of the reservation to article 33 is urgently required, in order that persons with visual impairment will be given the right to vote in private as non-disabled persons.