The Ministry of Information organized a ceremony announcing its plan to launch a new audio description technology after Eid Al- Fitr. This new technology will serve the blind, as it will help them know and understand Kuwait TV shows. While people who can see can watch the shows and understand the story, the blind cannot understand the silent scenes ¨C those without dialogue. For example, if the scene is about someone sneaking and taking other people’s stuff behind their backs; such scenes can only be seen and the blind cannot understand them.
Therefore, the ministry thought of using audio description system, similar to voice over in the radio; but in this case, there will be a story teller who will explain what is happening in the show. I noticed that the invitation card is written in both Arabic and Braille ¨C the means of communication among the blind. It is in line with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which stipulates the need to include Braille in regular and daily dealings. I believe this is a quantum leap in terms of the output of Kuwait TV. Internationally, Kuwait has taken one step closer to humanity.
Nevertheless, the overview on the rights of the disabled and the treatment they get in Kuwait look like there is still a lot more to be done by the government agencies in order to ensure justice and equality for the disabled; especially since Kuwait has joined the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If we take a closer look at the situation of the disabled in the country, we will find out that the steps taken by the government are insufficient. In spite of the fact that Kuwait has joined the international convention, the country’s law number eight for the year 2010 on the rights of the disabled does not follow the regulations and recommendations of the convention.
For instance, the law does not mention the main codes regarding women with disabilities who are treated differently ¨C not equal with their male counterparts; whereas the convention consists of a number of stipulations on women with disabilities to ensure they are equal with their male counterparts. Moreover, the Kuwaiti law violates the non-discrimination codes as it is limited to Kuwaitis who are disabled including the children of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners, but the non-Kuwaitis are excluded.
Actually, some laws are not enforced even for the children of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners. Code number five states that all persons with disabilities should have civil and political rights; yet the social, economic and cultural rights are neglected even if Kuwait is part of the convention which stipulates these rights. The concerned government agencies, in cooperation with the Parliament, must revise law number eight for the year 2010 for the persons with disabilities to enjoy their rights. . . .
By Atyab Alshatti, Esq.