Bahrain in move to protect rights of disabled
Manama, December 24, 2010
Bahrain is preparing a national strategy to protect the rights of disabled and also promote the inclusive development of people with disabilities through mainstreaming of services such as education, health and housing.
The initiative, said to be the first of its kind in the region, is being spearheaded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Social Development Ministry and Higher Committee for the Care of the Disabled.
The year-long project began more than four months ago and includes conducting background studies and compiling existing data.
In addition to drafting a strategy there are also events such as workshops and training for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and those working with the disabled.
"It is a bottom-up strategy that is being conducted in co-ordination with NGOs, those with disabilities and other relevant groups," said UNDP development programme analyst Ali Salman.
"We need a doable strategy rather than a dreamy one and we want to link the strategy with a timeframe work plan," he remarked.
Bahrain signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 but it has still not been ratified, said UNDP lead consultant on the National Strategy for the Right of People with Disability Mona Abdel Jawad.
According to official statistics, less than one per cent of people in Bahrain have disabilities, which is much lower than World Health Organisation estimates of between 5 to 10 per cent of any population.
"It might be that they hide their disability because society might feel disability is a source of shame, also the quality of diagnostic centres is not there yet," said Jawad.
She said diagnosis and definition of disability and early detection in Bahrain needed to be looked at.
"It was also important to establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure laws and strategies for people with disabilities are implemented," she added.-TradeArabia News Service