A need for a Mediterranean Agenda on human rights of persons with disabilities

23 November 2013
Participants of the conference

On 22-23 November, the 'Euro Mediterranean Conference on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities' in Madrid brought together participants from 18 countries of the Mediterranean region.

Organised by EDF, the Arab Organisation of Persons with Disabilities and the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities, in the framework of the MUSAWA II project, the conference focused on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) at national level,the involvement and exchange of best practice on policy making and projects, asylum and post 2015 development framework.

It was also an opportunity for a discussion on the draft national reports on the rights of persons with disabilities on six countries of MUSAWA II project: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine territories and Tunisia, counting as well on experiences from Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen. Representatives from South European countries also brought their experiences and knowledge on the Mediterranean cooperation. 'The conference was a main proof of the solid alliance between the European and Arab disability movements when it comes to the human rights of persons with disabilities in the Mediterranean region and the world', stated Dr Nawaf Kabbara, president of Arab Organisation of Persons with Disabilities.

Based on the discussions of the two days, participants explored strategies to define a common agenda in the Mediterranean region in order to implement the UN CRPD and to influence the main policies of intergovernmental organisations in the region. Participants claimed their right to participate in the policy making in the region and the need to reinforce the human rights agenda, including a call to the remaining countries in the region to ratify the UN CRPD.

This can be achieved only by working together with a unified voice. 'We need to join forces around the UN CRPD implementation in the Mediterranean region and to advance in the structured and permanent cooperation between our organisations building on the achievements of MUSAWA II', stated EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis.

The conference ended with a declaration on the human rights of persons with disabilities in the Mediterranean region.

The conference was funded through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).


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