Arab lawmakers urged to back rights of disabled


Addressing a seminar on the ‘role of Arab parliaments in raising awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities’ Essa bin Rabia al-Kuwari, vice-chairman of the Shura Council, said yesterday that Arab parliaments have a role in urging their governments and proposing legislations for the rights of the disabled.

The seminar was organised by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA).
Al-Kuwari noted that the convention not only stresses the obligations of states to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, but also outlines the steps to be followed to create a conducive environment.

SCFA secretary general Abdulla bin Nasser al-Khalifa said that Qatar’s permanent delegation to the UN in New York had suggested a committee to pursue the draft in order to develop a clear position.

“This committee will be formed by Qatari institutions concerned with persons with disabilities,” he added.

UN Special Rapporteur on disability to the Commission for Social Development Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa al-Thani said that the Arab world was bursting with resources, and goodwill but looking down upon persons with disabilities.

“Other countries have outpaced the Arab world, in terms of law amendments in this regard,” she added.

Sheikha Hessa appealed for co-operation in order to speed up changes on the Arab stage.

She stressed the importance of embedding the convention into each country’s laws.

“Parliaments are required to pass legislations that raise awareness about the rights, needs and abilities of the persons with disabilities,” she added.

Amna al-Suwaidi, consultant at SCFA’s department of special needs said that the council has been working on a national strategy for family and persons with disability that will be completed in 2013.

Representative of the Arab Organisation of Disabled People Nawaf Kabbara said that the Arab laws about persons with disabilities faced impediments because the matter is not treated like a human rights issue.


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