Persons with disabilities are entitled to protection of their human rights
Permanent Mission to UN has, in partnership with Pineda Foundation/World
ENABLED, organised several activities to promote global coordination and
cooperation on the human rights of persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday a high-level event was convened under the title
"Delivering Inclusion: Innovations in Local Practice from the UAE and the
Broader Region", at the ONE UN New York Hotel.
The event highlighted some of the innovative policies and programs
from the UAE and GCC for implementing the CRPD on the local level.
The UAE Mission to UN participated actively throughout the week in
the 8th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
At the event, Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, President, Pineda
Foundation/World ENABLED moderated a high-level discussion between Emirati and
global experts in the field of inclusive development and comparative disability
policy. Presentations included remarks by Dr. Salem Ali Al Shafei, Director of
Policies and Programs, Rights of People with Disabilities at the Executive
Council, Government of Dubai, Mrs. Mariam Al Qubaisi, Head of the special-needs
sector at the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special
Needs, Ms. Reem al Faheem, CEO of SEDRA Foundation for Inclusion and Dr. Ahmad
Alsaif, Saudi Arabia’s Candidate to the CRPD Committee.
The Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the
United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh opened the lunch event by providing a compelling
overview of the UAE’s efforts to promote inclusion, and the participation of
persons with disabilities in public life at the national and international
At the national level, the ambassador pointed out the legislative
and administrative steps, which the UAE has undertaken. She cited the UAE
Constitution, supplemented by UAE Federal Law No. 29 of 2006, as an important
legal instrument to promote the rights and dignities of persons with
At the international level, the ambassador noted that the UAE
signed the CRPD on 8 February 2008; and ratified it on 19 March 2010, pointing
out that the agreement sets forth simple principles that advance human dignity
and a more equitable approach to economic and social development.
The ambassador explained these norms confer the responsibility on
the UAE to promote rights, and new opportunities for people with disabilities.
She added that moving from normative aspirations to implementation has not been
easy, and has introduced a variety of challenges and opportunities for the UAE.
"In order to resolve them, we have been working with the
Pineda Foundation to research our national responses and design effective
policies and programmes," she added.
She cited several examples that reflect the UAE efforts to provide
equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in all fields, including
education, sports, employment, and social participation.
The UAE delegation shared their experiences from several distinct
areas such as innovation in inclusive urban development, innovations in
inclusive education and sports and recreation, with the aims to strengthen
greater coordination of activities across the region.
Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, commended the UAE’s efforts in moving
from a framework of social care to social development and pointed to the
significance of research and data collection as a tool for evidence-based
participatory in the process of policy-making.
Other speakers cited several policies and initiatives taken on by
the UAE to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities into all facets
of society such as those implemented by Abu Dhabi-based SEDRA Foundation for
Inclusion, the UAE Sports Organisations for person with disabilities and the
Executive Council of the Government of Dubai.
On the same day the UAE Mission to UN also co-sponsored on the
same day, another side-event entitled "The Arab Youth with Disabilities:
Opportunities of Empowerment and Inclusion: Case Studies on Employment and
accessibility". The event with the Missions of Palestine and Egypt. The
event organised by DPI Arab regional office with the Missions of Palestine and
On Tuesday, June 9, the UAE participated in the 8th session of the
Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York under the
theme "Mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the
post-2015 development agenda".
Mrs. Wafa Hamad bin Sulaiman, Manager of special needs department
at the Ministry of Social Affairs, delivered the UAE’s national statement,
highlighting the important opportunity the conference provides to direct global
attention to the issue of persons with disabilities who constitute 15% of the
world populations, in every aspect of post 2015 development agenda.
She offered several examples of UAE’s policies that ensure
effective inclusion of persons with disabilities are integral part of key national
and local strategies such as the UAE Vision 2021; Abu Dhabi Economic Vision
2030 and Dubai Strategic Plan 2021.
On Thursday, June 11, The UAE co-sponsored a large-scale event on
the sideline of the Conference, entitled "Forum on Disability and Development
Part I: Accessible and Inclusive Urban Development". The event seeks to
contribute to the preparatory process leading up to Habitat III and its
emerging "New Urban Agenda" and providing a forum to exchange
experiences discuss remaining challenges and make recommendations on furthering
comprehensive disability-inclusive urban development.
These efforts underscore the UAE’s commitment to work
collaboratively with partners around the world to develop innovative approaches
to ensuring that persons with disabilities in the UAE are actively engaged in
the programs and policies that affect them.
A wide number of officials and experts attended these activities,
among them including; HRH Prince Mired, Head of the Higher Council of Affairs
for Persons with Disabilities in Jordan, Commissioner Victor Calise, Mayor’s
Office on Disability, New York City, Prof. Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Chair
of the CRPD Committee, Mr. Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General for
Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs. representatives from the other
missions to the UN and leading global experts in inclusive and sustainable