Qatar participated in the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.
Qatar was represented by head of family affairs at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Najat Al Abdulla, advisor on disability affairs at the ministry and president of the Arab Union for the Blind Dr. Khaled Ali Al Nuaimi, specialist in care and rehabilitation programs for people with special needs at the ministry Dr. Nora Al Hassan.
On the sidelines of the session, the permanent representative of Qatar to UN, health and human-based technology section at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and Qatar Foundation for Social Work, organised a panel discussion entitled on how technology can help people with autism which highlighted technologies that would help support autistic people in education and workplaces to ensure non-discrimination and facilitate the full and effective participation of people with autism.
It also highlighted Qatar's pioneering role in support technology facilitation to help people with autism and people with disabilities through research and the support provided from the organisations participating in the discussion.
Her Excellency Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani reiterated Qatar's belief to support people with autism to enjoy a happy, healthy and independent life within their communities.
Her Excellency added that Qatar is the only country in the region that has a national plan for people with autism, and that it is one of the few countries that have a work day for persons with disabilities. She also pointed out that, in December 2019, Qatar will host the International Conference on the Comprehensive Development of Persons with Disabilities.
For her part, CEO of Qatar Foundation for Social Work Amal Al Mannai, called for improving national policies and laws to support technology for people with autism, stressing the importance of providing assistive technology products and ensuring the creation of barrier-free environments.
Al Mannai also called for encouraging scientific research and development of assistive technology, stressing the importance of developing the skills and abilities of people with autism and raising awareness of their families about the importance of assistive technology.
Executive Director of 'Mada' Centre for Assistive Technology Maha Al Mansouri reviewed the Centre's services in the development of assistive technology and offered a number of solutions to help develop the skills of people with autism, including language assistance through the 'Mada' Innovation programme, to enable equal opportunities for the participation of people with autism and people with disabilities in the digital community. She said that services and consultations aimed at developing skills and achieving equality in education and employment opportunities are not limited to Qatar but include the Arab world.
Al Nuaimi said at the round table of the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , which discussed the integration of persons with disabilities into cultural life, recreational activities and sporting entertainment.
He reviewed Qatar's experience in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, noting that since Qatar ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, it has taken many measures and procedures in this regard to protect and promote the rights of this group and its full integration in society to ensure their participation in decision-making, access to jobs that suit their situation and promote their participation in cultural life, entertainment, leisure and sports activities.
On the cultural level, Al Nuaimi said that many governmental and non-governmental institutions have organised with the support of the State many conferences dealing with many issues of people with disabilities, such as the Doha International Conference in its different editions, and other conferences that play a role in spreading culture and awareness.
He also pointed out that Qatar has established specialised cultural centre, such as the Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for Blind and the Qatari Centre of Social Cultural for the Deaf. He added that on the sports level, the Qatar Sports Federation for the disabled has been established for a long time and has played a major role in the rehabilitation and social integration of persons with disabilities.
He said the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy took into account the special needs of persons with disabilities in terms of access to facilities to enjoy the events of the World Cup, which will be hosted by Qatar in 2022.
He added, Qatar has allocated recreational spaces in public parks for persons with disabilities, provided some games that children can use without risk, and has provided mandatory training courses for staff at the National Tourism Council and airport staff on accessibility.
The delegation of Qatar had participated in a number of panel discussions held on the sidelines of the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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