Issued in 2006 by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, the Federal Law No. (29) of 2006 concerning the rights of people with special needs is the first law in the UAE to protect the rights of people with special needs. The law provides for equal care, rights and opportunities for people with special needs in education, health care, training and rehabilitation and aims to ensure their rights and provide all services within the limits of their abilities and capabilities.
The law guarantees an unspecified job quota for people with special needs in the public and private sectors, and focuses on increasing accessibility to public buildings and residences. It also places emphasis on integrating people with special needs into public and private schools, and takes into account retirement considerations, allowing people with special needs to retire with full benefits earlier than their normal counterparts.
The law defines a person with special needs as every person suffering from a temporary or permanent, full or partial deficiency or infirmity in his physical, sensory, mental, communicational, educational or psychological abilities to an extent that limits his possibility of performing the ordinary requirements as people without special needs.
Discrimination is defined as any segregation, exclusion or restriction due to special needs leading to the damage or denial of recognition of any rights granted by the prevailing legislation in the country or its practice or enjoyment on an equal footing.
A person’s special needs shall not be a reason to deprive him/her of their rights and services especially in welfare as well as social, economic, health, educational, professional, cultural and leisure services.
The UAE guarantees people with special needs the equality between them and people without special needs and non-discrimination because of special needs in all legislations as well as economic and social development programmes and policies.
The UAE guarantees people with special needs their right to expression and opinion using Braille, sign language and other means of communication, as well as the right to request, receive and communicate information on an equal footing with others.
The country guarantees people with special needs equal opportunities in education within all educational, vocational training, adult education and continuing education institutions in regular classes or special classes with the availability of curriculum in sign language or Braille or and any other methods as appropriate.
UAE nationals with special needs have the right to work and hold public office. Their special needs shall not be a barrier for their nomination and selection for a job. Special needs should be taken into account while testing the candidate’s competency for the job.
The country shall take the necessary measures to ensure the participation of people with special needs in the cultural, sporting and leisure aspects of life.
The concerned authorities shall coordinate with each other to specify the engineering standards and specifications for facilities and public utilities in order to ensure their appropriateness for the use, requirements and safety of people with special needs. For this purpose, a resolution shall be made by the cabinet based on the proposal of the Minister of Social Affairs. The resolution shall set the regulations necessary to implement these standards, specifications and their exceptions.
The vehicles of people special needs shall be exempt from all taxes and fees based on the certificate of disability issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Any person who uses the card of a person with special needs in an unlawful manner shall be punished with a fine not less than AED 1,000 and not more than AED 5,000. The punishment shall be multiplied in case of repetition.
Ministry of Social Affairs Website