Owners of buildings are now required to have specific access provisions for people with disabilities (PWDs).
These include, specialised toilets, designated parking spots closest to the entrance, signage, and substitution to stairs and steps as well as provisions for the visually impaired.
The resolution was reached during a meeting the Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) had with architects and representatives of PWDs, Thursday.
The new directives concern both public and commercial buildings.
Esther Mutamba, the Director General of RHA, also want the banks to lower the counters to enable PWDs to access their services with ease.
“Most of the buildings are difficult for PWDs to access, yet they offer public services,” Mutamba said.
“We want to enforce the new rules and regulations because PWDs have the rights to access the services, like any other individual.”
Mutamba told The New Times that RHA will, before the end of the year, organise various public debates and carryout massive public awareness through advertisement.
Eng. Catherine Kalisa, the Director of Inspection at RHA, said the situation was alarming.
“We were shocked that during a recent inspection carried on 50 public buildings which include hospitals, banks and hotels around Kigali city as none of them had the required facilities for PWDs,” she said.
Eng. Kalisa called on all public buildings to at least ease access for the PWDs on the ground floor. She added that all properties under construction will be inspected to ensure they meet the minimum standards.
Gaston Rusiha, the President of the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) decried the fact that an order from the ministry of Infrastructure that was gazetted in 2009 required public and commercial buildings to have facilities for PWDs, has been ignored.
He called for more stringent measures and pointed out that the ongoing construction of schools for the 12 YBE basic eduction considers students with disabilities.