Press release

December 18, 1996

'Ain Shams university violates the rights of the disabled

The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid (CHRLA) expresses its strong condemnation of the unexpected decision taken by 'Ain Shams university to expel 179 disabled students who joined various faculties of the university this year.

The students were admitted to the university in accordance with a ruling of the university admissions bureau, which stated that disabled students, having undergone various official medical tests to ascertain the degree of disability of each student, would be exempted from admissions standards applied to the rest of the students.

CHRLA also strongly condemns the security siege imposed on the university, and the actions taken by the security forces to intimidate students and prevent them from holding peaceful protests against such measures as throwing tear bombs inside the university, and the arrests of 10 students on charges of causing riots and vandalism. The students were referred to Al Waily prosecution office and despite the fact that the General Prosecution Office has ordered their release on condition of LE 50 bail, by the time this communiqué was released two still remained in prison without charge.

CHRLA would like to point out that the arbitrary measures taken against the disabled students came more than two months after their admission to the university and their regular attendance of classes. These measures constitute an infringement upon their legal positions, which had been consolidated by the decision of the university admissions bureau to admit them and their receipt of university ID cards, regardless of the university's claims that the actual degree of their disabilities did not conform with the certified medical tests by which they were regarded as exceptions to the standard admissions procedure.

CHRLA also believes that any attempts to re-admit the students to other institutes or universities in compliance with the conditions and rules applied to healthy students, would cause those students to miss a whole academic year - it should be taken into consideration that the mid-term tests are due to be held in few weeks.

CHRLA believes that the measures adopted by the administration of 'Ain Shams university represent an infringement upon the rules of the International Declaration of the Rights of the Disabled ratified by the UN General Assembly in December 1975 and which stipulates in its sixth article the right of the disabled to education, vocational training and employment, as well as receiving other services that enable them to develop their skills and capabilities to the highest possible levels and accelerate the process of incorporating them into society.

CHRLA demands that the authorities put an end to the siege on the university, halt their provocative actions against the students, and release the students detained without charge.

In addition, CHRLA asks that the authorities honor their commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and guarantee the rights of citizens to peaceful gatherings and freedom of expression, as stipulated in that covenant.

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