Events, Middle East, News, December 11 2019

QATAR: Qatar Foundation for Social Work (QFSW) launched the ‘Doha Declaration’ at the closing ceremony of the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development (DICDD) yesterday. The two-day conference, which has attracted over 1,500 policy-makers and practitioners, took place at the Qatar National Convention Center under the theme: “Leaving No One Behind”.

Group of persons seated int he front row of an event.

Doha Declaration to promote rights of 1.5 billion people with disabilities worldwide.

The Doha Declaration on disability and development sets out an action-oriented approach that Qatar hopes will be an international reference point for world governments to integrate the rights of persons with disabilities into their national development plans.

The aim is to ensure the needs of persons with disabilities are included in policies related to education, health, employment, and other relevant areas.

The Doha Declaration states: “We, the conferees of the Doha International Conference on Disability and Development  December 7 to 8, 2019 held under the patronage of H H Shaikha Moza bint Nasser, came together in the spirit of the UN Charter to advance peace, justice and human rights for all and especially for the 1.5 billion persons with disabilities in the world.

“Whereas, we are painfully aware that the legacy of the past has left many persons with disabilities behind.

“That legacy of invisibility, exclusion, segregation, discriminatory policies and law is an affront to the human conscience.

“Whereas, we call for a rethinking the disability concepts at all levels, stepping out from the cultural barriers, stigmas and medical approaches towards CRPD definitions ensuring empowerment, comprehensive social wellbeing, belonging, inclusiveness, equality and dignity for all.

“Whereas, we acknowledge that humanity now has at its disposal two powerful instruments reflecting the values of change and each, in their own way, driving that process of change.

“Whereas, we acknowledge legal obligations arising from the UN CRPD and view the UN SDGs as key guiding principles in development, complementary action as between the two can help create a more inclusive future for all persons with disabilities.

“Whereas, we stress on the interoperability and interdependence of the two global instruments; SDGs and UNCRPD, where leaving no one behind cannot be achieved without mainstreaming the rights-based approach embedded in the UNCRPD as human rights and development cannot be divided.

The participants recommended to combat structural barriers causing the exclusion of persons with disabilities, with a noteworthy emphasis on discriminatory laws and policies, fragmentation of services, lack of accessibility to physical and visual environments, lack of access to assistive technology and to rehabilitation and lack of measures to promote independent living of persons with disabilities.

It was also recommended to establish large scale awareness raising campaigns promoting disability rights, using the voice of persons with disabilities as a key driver to nudge the community, reducing discrimination, negative attitudes and stigma which hinders the social participation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that SDGs strategies at the national levels consciously take into account the need for cultural transformation.

The recommendations also included Mainstream disability in the implementation of all SDGs, including the development of national strategies, policies and action plans are nationally addressed and aligned with the UNCRPD commitments.

Promote full and active participation and representation of all persons with disabilities in societies and in all policies and programs. All duty-bearers must prioritize the representation of all persons with disabilities as leaders, active citizens and active agents of change in the community, country, and international level, thus reaffirming the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’. Encourage governments, civil society and others to innovate with new methods of co-production of policies.

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