The UAE refers to the people with special needs or disabilities as ‘people of determination’ in recognition of their achievements in different fields. This page provides information about how people of determination are protected and empowered through services and facilities in the areas of education, health, jobs and more.
Under the National Policy for Empowering People with Special Needs, people with special needs or disabilities will be referred to as ‘people of determination’ to recognise their achievements in different fields. As explained on the Abu Dhabi portal, the law defines a person with special needs as someone suffering from a temporary or permanent, full or partial deficiency or infirmity in his physical, sensory, mental, communication, educational or psychological abilities to an extent that limits his possibility of performing the ordinary requirements as people without special needs.
The Government condemns all forms of abuse and neglect of people of determination. Abuse and neglects involves depriving people of determination of their basic right to care, rehabilitation, medical care, recreation or community integration. It also condemns using such people to get material profits and not spend on them.
In addition, people of determination can send their queries to MoCD by recording a video and asking questions in the sign language.
This portal and many other government websites use text-to-speech facility. Users just need to select text and a software will read it out aloud.
Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) offers translation service in sign language. Any government entity or business or an individual can request ZHO for translation and ZHO will get the text translated into sign language for the benefit of people of determination.
Roads and Transport Authority has many videos for people who cannot hear properly. The videos have an interpreter speaking in sign language about the features of public transportation in Dubai. View the videos.
The UAE sign language dictionary
In 2018, the UAE launched the first ‘Emirati sign language dictionary’, which seeks to develop and standardise the signs used by people of determination with hearing impairments across the UAE. The dictionary is available online, and it includes 5,000 words for teaching people with hearing difficulties and training sign language translators. The dictionary is in line with Vision 2021 and National Agenda which aim to maintain a cohesive society and promote an inclusive environment that integrates all segments of society.
Watch this video in sign language on tips to stay safe from #COVID-19.
Provision under the law
Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 Concerning the Rights of People with Special Needs (the law) protects the rights of people with special needs and guarantees them the right to live with dignity. 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. This way, the UAE strives to empower and promote the social inclusion of all.
The People of Determination Retreat
The People of Determination Retreat was held in March 2019, as part of the nationwide efforts to mobilise resources in support of the people of determination (people with special needs). Several Sheikhs, ministers, national figures, people of determination and social specialists participated in the retreat sessions where 31 initiatives and programmes were approved to support the future of this segment of society and ensure their integration across various sectors.
The retreat outlined eight tenets to empower people of determination and facilitate their needs at all levels. They are:
Article 3 of the Federal Law No. (29) of 2006 provides: The UAE guarantees people of determination (people with special needs) the equality and non-discrimination between them and people without special needs in all legislations as well as economic and social development programmes and policies.
Ministry of Community Development has launched the Harmonization of Disabled Persons initiative to integrate them into the society. It issues the 'Atheer' card; holders of which are entitled to a variety of services and privileges in the areas of health and housing. They are exempt from fees on vehicle-related services and also get discount on mobile data package.
In Al Ain, the municipality provides mobile unit service. Through this service, the elderly and people of determination can request for a customer service representative to visit them at their premises and process their service requests.
Community Development Authority in Dubai issues Sanad card to Emiratis and expatriate residents of determination. Holders of the Sanad card are entitled to special services and privileges.
The UAE provides access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for people of determination (special needs). Read about the transportation options in the different emirates.
In Abu Dhabi city, public parking spaces, pavements, walkways, pedestrian underpasses and overbridges, entrances of buildings and other public facilities are increasingly becoming friendly for the people of determination to meet their mobility needs.
Abu Dhabi Government offers the people of determination subsidised fares at different modes of public transportation. They are also eligible for free unlimited travel on all buses in the Abu Dhabi city and its suburbs using the Hafilat smart card.
Abu Dhabi Police provides people of determination with special permits to park in the designated parking spaces available in public parking areas and exempts them from Mawaqif parking fees. Those who park illegally at spaces reserved for vehicles of people of determination will get a fine of AED 1,000.
Dubai Taxi Corporation operates taxis to meet the needs of the people of determination 24 hours a day covering all areas of the emirate and driven by well-trained drivers. These vehicles are fitted with special lifts for the wheelchairs, artificial respiratory systems, a wheelchair on board and seats for the companions.
People of determination with personalised NOL cards can use Dubai Metro and public buses in the Dubai city for free. Metro stations in Dubai are featured with:
tactile floor paths to guide visually-impaired persons at the stations
CCTV for hearing-impaired persons
audio notices for visually-impaired persons
stations are provided with escalators fitted with side hand rests stretching along the rail
dedicated parking for people of determination near the station’s entrances
automatic doors to ease the entry and exit process
designated space for a wheel chair in each carriage, located in close proximity to the door.
The public buses of Dubai are provided with all means of comfort and accessibility for the people of determination.
Marine transport stations and water-buses have been designed to be user-friendly for them, as well. LCD monitors are available to provide information about water-bus and safety procedures. Suitable spaces have been provided for two wheelchairs on Dubai Ferry.
Watch this video to learn more about these facilities and services offered for people of determination in Dubai.
The ID card for people of determination issued by the Ministry of Community Development offers many facilities and benefits in transport sector and others. Read the benefits in this document. Contact the local transport authorities to find more about transport and parking services for people of determination across the emirates:
In December 2019, the UAE government introduced a new logo for people of determination, which replaced the old logo. The new logo emphasises that the people of determination are active members of the society and that they are independent, self-determined people who adapt to new environments; thus, easily integrating in various educational, practical and social fields.