UAE re-affirms support to efforts of a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond

NEW YORK: The United Arab Emirates has re-affirmed its support to the efforts of a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond, thereby contributing to the achievement of the necessary political commitment to take the necessary measures to improve this category.

This declaration was made in a paper submitted by the country’s Mission to the United Nations during the seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The paper reviewed the efforts made by the U.A.E. to ensure the care and protection given to this category of citizens, noting that the country’s constitution guarantees respect and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and their rehabilitation for their own benefit and for the benefit of society.

The state’s mission also pointed to Federal Law 29 of 2006 regarding the Rights of Individuals with Special Needs which promotes the philosophy of inclusive education by ensuring that all students with disabilities in public and private educational institutions in the U.A.E. have access to equal educational opportunities, the number of students with intellectual disabilities being included in general education schools is increasing.

It explained that, “Since the launch of the federal government’s strategy for 2011-2013, the U.A.E. has followed a new approach towards giving greater importance to comprehensive social development which primarily aims to enable persons with disabilities and integrate them into society.” The paper also reviewed other U.A.E.’s efforts to support, protect, and rehabilitate persons with disabilities, noting that the United Arab Emirates hosted many international conferences in this regard.

It also pointed to some local initiatives such as the initiative of H.H. Sheikha Alyazia bint Saif Al Nahyan, wife of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, to train teachers on implementing the programmes to include the disabled, and the Princess Haya Award for Special Education, PHASE, which aims to highlight the role of the special needs sector and its responsibility to educate and rehabilitate children with special needs, improve the standards of services provided for special needs children in all fields, and encourage people working in the special needs sector to excel and set higher service standards in all fields of special education.

In conclusion, the paper highlighted the U.A.E.’s wise leadership’s commitment to make the U.A.E. a country with equal opportunities for all regardless of disability.