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Workshop Sets Out To Enhance Rights of Disabled

January 16, 2016
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Public Relations Office - Birzeit University

The Center of Development Studies at Birzeit University held a workshop on Thursday, January 14, 2015, to commence the work of structuring a national shadow report parallel to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006.

The workshop aimed at involving disabled people and their organizations in developing laws and regulations by developing a shadow report on the Palestinian government’s submission to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The workshop was held in partnership with The Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) and Palestinian General Union of People with Disabilities (GUPD) and attended by civil society institutions.

Keynote speakers Ayman Abdel Majeed, acting director of the Center of Development, Rafiq Abu Saifain, head of the General Union of Persons with Disabilities at GUPD, and Islam Tamimi, researcher and coordinator in the Awareness and Training Unit in ICHR briefed the audience about civil society efforts to develop laws on the rights of persons with disabilities. They called the workshop an important step towards maintaining the fundamental rights of the sector through their participation and consultation.

“People with disabilities encounter a range of physical, cultural, social and attitudinal barriers which prevent them from accessing the same rights as non-disabled people,” Abdel Majeed said, “However, this must stop. We at the Center of Development Studies, ICHR and GUPD believe in the importance of structuring a clear report that includes laws and regulations and where disabled people have the right to take responsibility as full participants in the society in which they live.”

He told the audience that this report will not be merely words on paper, but rather a full practical journey advocating for the prevention of discrimination against people with disabilities and working with the government and society on protecting their rights.

 Abu Saifain said that it is important to consolidate efforts towards building a community culture that observes and implements laws and regulations that safeguard human rights, especially the rights of people with disabilities.  

Al Tamimi concluded the session by emphasizing the importance of developing the position of persons with disabilities in the Palestinian community, especially in the absence of a detailed law to reduce the existing gap between the reality that people with disabilities live with and the principles of equality and human dignity, which are the fundamental principles of humans.

At the end of the workshop, the speakers and participants agreed on the importance of structuring a shadow report starting with the participation of civil society organizations in order to improve the reality of people living with disabilities within a legal form and based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

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