Mainstreaming disability in Palestinian ministries
National efforts to recognize and protect the rights of disabled persons received strong endorsement from the Palestinian government in Ramallah during a seminar sponsored by Diakonia and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the occupied Palestinian territories to mainstream disability.
Testimonials from people with disabilities
Shatha Abu Srour and Bashar Naser, both with disabilities, gave testimonials about how their lives are affected by the lack of access to services and their expectations that government can lead in changing the situation in Palestine.
The National Strategic Plan about Disability in Palestine launched in December 2012
The minister of Social Affairs, Majida Masri, whose ministry has been the shepherd for these efforts, made a brief presentation to the group explaining the National Strategic Framework for Disability, which was supported by Diakonia and the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD), and which will ensure that the rights of people with disabilities will be prioritized.
Engagement high the latest years
The Palestinian Disability Law was ratified in 1999, but practical implementation has stalled. National efforts to fully recognize disability rights have accelerated since 2011, with the activation of the Higher Council for Disability and the recent launching of the National Disability Strategy on mainstreaming disability.
Important to follow international documents
At the seminar, WHO technical expert Chapal Khasnabis focused on the importance of recognizing human rights standards in government policies and procedures, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and pointed out the relevance of international legal standards to the work of specific ministries and sectors.
Apart from this, Khasnabis suggested necessary steps for mainstreaming disability, including: legal review of policies and procedures, review of access to services and information, checklists that must be adhered to when the ministries are implementing new programs; and that the right-holders participate in program monitoring, evaluation, and auditing.