Saturday, June 13, 2015

Persons with disabilities are entitled to protection of their human rights

The UAE 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 levels.
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 disabilities.
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 Egypt,.
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 development. 

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