Saudi Human Rights Commission and OHCHR successfully organized a seminar on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Jan 10, 2017

The Human Rights Commission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (HRC/KSA) in collaboration and coordination with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), organized a one-day seminar on the rights of disabled persons on Tuesday 10th of January 2017.

The seminar was organized in the framework of the Technical Cooperation Program between the HRC/KSA and OHCHR. The objective of the seminar was to strengthen awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities in pursuant to Article 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which focuses on the obligation of State parties to raising awareness and promoting equality and education for people with disabilities.

The seminar was attended by more than 650 persons including high ranking decision-makers represented in the presence of the Minister of Labour and Social Development, the President of the HRC/KSA and the Vice-President of HRC/KSA, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development in addition to members of the Shura Council in the KSA.

The seminar was also attended by representatives of Saudi associations and organizations working in the field of disability, a group of persons concerned and interested in the disability issue, many persons with disabilities, the public and the media. The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Saudi Arabia and other U.N. agencies were among the presence in addition to representatives of some foreign embassies and the E.U.

The seminar discussed three main issues in three sessions focusing on: human rights approach to disability, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (CRPD/OP), and the rights of persons with disability between reality and expectations.

Papers presented by local and international experts, generated thorough discussion with positive attitude for the way forward while acknowledging the progress so far achieved in the KSA taking in consideration various obstacles.

The seminar endorsed a number of very relevant recommendations including:

The need to review the relevant national legislation related to the rights of persons with disabilities;

Strengthen national efforts among the various government agencies that provide services for persons with disabilities, including considering the establishment of government-specialized body to deal with issues related to persons with disabilities and to be tasked to draw plans and policies in various fields as well as to coordinate national efforts among all relevant authorities;

Encourage government agencies to continue efforts to implement its relevant obligations embodied in CRPD/OP and to take all necessary actions in this regard;

Support the role of civil society and institutions in their efforts in the field of disability and to expand the quality and locations of services in order to cover  the different types of disabilities;

Speed up adoption of a national strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and publish progress reports as appropriate;

Raise public awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities and CRPD/OP through various media, including social media.


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