The United Nations will be questioning the government on the island’s disability legislation later this year to ensure it is in line with international standards, Parliamentary Secretary Justyne Caruana said yesterday.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Caruana said a report on Malta’s disability laws had been sent to the UN’s Geneva headquarters for scrutiny as part of the ratification process of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities signed in 2012.

The 60-page report, drafted late last year, delves into all the advancements in the sector as well as its persistent shortcomings.

Dr Caruana said that while she was confident Malta would fare well under scrutiny, she was aware there were still lacunae in certain areas.

“We will have to face the music. What is good is good and there have been improvements. But we also acknowledge where work still needs to be done,” she said, adding that accessibility was a persistent issue.

Malta is obliged to submit a preliminary report two years after having signed the convention, with supplementary reports sent in every four years.

Dr Caruana said the preliminary report was now being scrutinised and she was awaiting a summary of the UN’s findings before being summoned for discussion.

Asked what areas she expected to come under fire, Dr Caruana said: “Since drafting the report, we have introduced new measures so I am confident we will get some positive feedback.”

Oliver Scicluna, who chairs the National Commission Persons with Disability (KNPD), said he had filed a shadow report which was also being scrutinised by the UN.

While saying that the government’s report was in order, Mr Scicluna said the main difference between it and the report submitted by the disability rights watchdog was the time frames allocated for projects and policies.

“There is no point being a part of the convention on paper if this doesn’t result in a change in practice. Work is being done but there are still improvements to be made,” he said, adding that later this month the KNPD would be publishing a report on the implementation of the Equal Opportunities Act.

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