Third Arab symposium on handicap legislation wraps up [Archives:2007/1036/Local News]

March 26 2007

SANA'A, March 24 – Lasting for two days, the third Arab symposium on Handicap Legislation around the Arab World concluded their meetings on Thursday, March 22. The symposium discussed facilitating access for handicapped people to the natural and information environment in Arab legislation. The Yemeni Shoura Council organized the symposium and it was attended by Sheikha Housa bint Khalifa Al Thani, UN reporter on handicapped affairs. Eleven papers were presented by the representatives of Qatar, Palestine, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Kuwait and Yemen. The papers reviewed the situation of handicaps in these countries.

Arab Inter-parliamentary Union secretary general Mr. Nour Eddine Bouchkouj revealed that the total number of handicapped people across the globe reached 600 million souls, about 10 percent of the total number of people. The number of handicapped in the Arab world reached 30 million by 2006 and the number is set to reach 50 million by 2015.

The Sana'a declaration stressed the importance of adopting Article No. 9 in the Handicap International Convention. It also urged all Arab countries to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. It further recommended forming sub-committees in the Arab Parliaments and civil society organizations to address handicap issues.

The declaration also called for reviewing legislation concerning people of special needs and further recommended reconsidering the engineering designs of old buildings in a way that facilities the introduction of mobility measures needed by handicapped people. It also advocated the importance of enhancing facilities and access to information and implementing the recommendations of earlier parliamentary symposiums.