Shafallah to focus on disabled caught in crisis zones
DOHA THE Shafallah Declaration on Crisis, Conflict and Disability, which called for action to make the perspective on disability a part and parcel of all humanitarian efforts, was endorsed at the conclusion of the Fifth Shafallah International Forum on Tuesday.
Chairman of Shafallah Centre for Children with Special Needs Hassan Ali bin Ali urged the attendees to sign the declaration to further encourage the adoption by the global community of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The declaration, among others, underlines commitment to continue evidencebased research on the physically challenged people caught in crises or conflicts as well as to collect comprehensive information and profile of people with disabilities for initiation of more inclusive and appropriate programmes.
It also reiterates Shafallah chief’s earlier plea for the use of mainstream media to raise awareness about facts and issues concerning persons with disability. The declaration refers to the establishment of a working group to coordinate and monitor the progress made in implementation of the Shafallah Declaration.
“By endorsing this declaration we will be encouraging adoption of the UNCRPD by the global community; we will be establishing a concrete framework under which to begin ensuring the rights and addressing the condition of people with disabilities.
“Through ratification of the UNCRPD-especially the resolutions that support Article 11 of the UN convention we will lift the status of the one billion persons living with disabilities, of which 800 million live in poverty, and 6.5 million are refugees or displaced,” Hassan Ali bin Ali said.
He hailed the three-day Forum a major success highlighted by the participation of over 250 delegates from over 50 countries including ‘first ladies’ of various countries and noted experts.
“This week’s forum underscored three main facts that we believe to be true about disability in crisis and conflict.
First, attention to disability must be an integral part of all emergency and humanitarian response.
Secondly, the principles in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should underpin all humanitarian efforts.
“Thirdly, there is urgent need for disability to be seen as an issue in all phases of humanitarian assistance, including disaster preparedness, early warning, emergency response, and postconflict recovery and rebuilding.
I now call on all of us here today to make a pledge, and to encourage all governments, civil societies, and private actors to adopt it as well,” he added.
On the occasion, Hassan Ali bin Ali referred to Shafallah Centre’s forthcoming announcements on the formation of many new and fruitful partnerships as a result of the Forum. He said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed with key partners on how to help refugees with disabilities in Uganda and Palestine within 30 days.
He further solicited support of key organisations to the promotion of the global initiative ‘One Billion Strong’, a recently launched international NGO inspired by the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza.
The initiative aims to support real implementation of the UNCRPD by raising global awareness about disability issues and in-country development programmes at the community level. Among its core programmes is the one relating to refugees with disabilities.
One Billion Strong is a collaborative initiative of Shafallah Centre, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Women’s Refugee Commission, Refugee Law Project of Uganda, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Meanwhile, at a gala dinner held on Monday, Prince Mired bin Ra’ad al Hussein of Jordan praised Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Chairman Hassan Ali bin Ali for taking “bold steps” in forming an organisation like the One Billion Strong and reaffirmed bi-lateral cooperation on elevating issues relating to disability.
Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Rima Salah lauded Qatar for signing and ratifying the UNCRPD as well as the Anti- Personnel Mine Ban Convention.