Regulations on accessibility to buildings for persons with disability have been given the force of law to ensure greater compliance.  

A legal notice issued on Wednesday has been welcomed by the National Commission, People with Disabilities. 

The commissioner for people with disabilities, Oliver Scicluna, said that to date, accessibility rules had lacked teeth and more was needed to ensure that disabled people’s rights were not trampled on.

Just on Tuesday, he said, he had received a report on a newly built pavement next to a bus shelter that did not take any of these guidelines into consideration.

“People with disabilities are citizens, they are paying taxes like everyone else and if we expect them to be active within the community, the infrastructure and construction projects need to be developed considering their needs and not just haphazardly,” he said.

While national accessibility standards had been a step in the right direction, they were weak in court and did not allow the Commission enough leverage to protect the rights of the disabled, he said. 

“My dream is that more enforcement is provided and that other entities, not just the Commission take action and responsibility for ensuring that the rights of disabled people are respected,” he stated.