To Achieve Inclusion, the Arab Region Must Ensure That Remaining Barriers Are Removed

Despite increased awareness and promising initiatives, greater commitment from the Governments of ESCWA member countries is needed to deal with disability affairs.  This commitment should not only address the socioeconomic rights of persons with disabilities but also devise and champion legislative mechanisms to protect those rights.  Some programmes in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic are shifting from a welfare-based to a rights-based approach to disability.  The rights-based approach and the removal of discriminatory, environmental and social barriers will reduce the vulnerability of this group and facilitate social integration. In parallel, existing disability-related policies should be strengthened.  Quotas for employing persons with disabilities, for example, need to be complemented by anti-discrimination laws and enforcement measures.

Governments also need to articulate a clear vision of inclusiveness and establish monitoring, coordination and consultative mechanisms between the State and representatives of persons with disabilities to achieve it. At the same time, raising social awareness and improving data collection on disability are needed for informed policymaking and to remove barriers that prevent the economic, social and civic participation of persons with disabilities.