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                                Member organizations:
              Disabled Peoples' International, Inclusion International,
                International Federation of Hard of Hearing People,
                   Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union,
          World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind,
               World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.
                       Arab Organization of Disabled People,
      European Disability Forum, Latin American Network of Non-Governmental
            Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families

                       May 10 and 11, 2009
                      Nile Hotel, Cairo, Egypt
IDA Member Representatives Present:

II:                                 Ms. Mia Farah (Lebanon)
                                    Mr. Rolan Tamraz (Lebanon)

DPI:                                Ms. Hayat Almacfou (Morroco)
                                    Mr. Ibrahim Abdullah (Lebanon)

AODP:                               Mr. Ibrahim Aljahaf (Yemen)
                                    Mr. Ahmad Hamied (Syria)
                                    Ms. Fedaa Shedoud (Syria)

RI:                                 Mr. Khaled El Mohtar (Lebanon)
                                    Ms. Hanna Alsanieh (Kuwait)

WFD:                                Mr. Ali Alqatrifi (Yemen)

WBU:                                Mr. Ismail Zaghmouri (Jordan)
                                    Ms. Ezzahri Aicha (Morocco)

WNUSP:                              Mr. Samer Sharafidine (Lebanon)

IFHOH:                              Dr. Mohammed Nazal Al-Mutairi (Kuwait)
                                    Ms. Lulwa Salah Al-Mishal (Kuwait)

Other Regional Organizations Represented:

General Union of Disabled Palestinians:    Ms. Rowida Thiab (Palestine)
Adult Motor Impairment Association:          Mr. Suleiman Behaire (Saudi Arabia)

Sudanese Federation of the Disabled:         Mr. Jamal Ibrahim (Sudan)

Association for Challenging Disability:      Ms. Rafika Haddoui (Tunisia)

Tunisian National Union of the Blind:        Mr. Moncef Hamza (Tunisia)

Bir Alaman for Intellectual Disability:      Ms. Samia Badieh (Egypt)
                                             Ms. Souad Yassin (Egypt)

Fajer Altanweer Association of the Blind:    Ms. Dina Ahmad Foda (Egypt)
                                             Mr. Amro Hassan (Egypt)

Egyptian National Federation of the Deaf: Ms. Hoda Samir Abdullah (Egypt)
                                     Mr. Mohammad Maher Ahmad Mustafa (Egypt)

CRPD Committee:                              Ms. Amna Ali Al Suweidi

AODP Secretariat:                            Ms. Jahda Abou Khalil
                                             Mr. Nawaf Kabbara
                                             Dr. Imed Eddine Chaker

IDA Secretariat:                             Mr. Stefan Tromel
                                             Mr. Morgan Welebir


1. Welcome from AODP’s Jahda Abou Khalil and thank you to the IDA and Arab
League’s Civil Society department for hosting the event.

2. Participants introduce themselves, the organization they represent, and their principle
interests in taking part in the seminar. Some shared reasons include:
    - To learn more about the CRPD and what countries in the region are doing to
        pursue the convention
    - To learn about regional efforts made and convention elements relevant to specific
    - To exchange experiences and talk about application of the CRPD
    - To discuss the stigmas faced by disabled constituencies

3. Comments from Nawaf Kabbara:
   - Seven disabilities are represented in this meeting.
   - There are new and different ways to address the challenges facing us all as
      representatives of international and national organizations.
   -   Those from Egypt signed the convention, so you are now obligated to approach
       and apply this convention, this new law.
   -   People who are deaf are a new addition in these regional meetings.

4. IDA’s Stefan Tromel provides a description of the program and details the following
    - To understand the convention and raise awareness among organizations of
        persons with disabilities (DPOs)
    - To share experiences of each participant at a national level
    - To share experiences at a regional level, with the Arab League’s interaction with
        AODP being a good example
    - To share experiences at an international level, especially as the seminar
        participants are joined by a member of the UN CRPD Committee
    - To discuss how we interact between these three layers, to produce good
    - To address specific issues raised

5. Committee for Drafting of the Declaration is selected and composed of Ahmad
Hamied, Hayat Almacfou, Mia Farah, Ibrahim Aljahaf, and Samer Sharafidine

6. Welcome from AODP President Imed Eddine Chaker:
   - Thank you to the Arab League and the Ambassador who invited us
   - Thank you to IDA for its support and for sending representatives in the persons of
      Stefan and Morgan, and for educating and increasing awareness among the youth
      of our regional movement.
   - We have organized several sessions and informational meetings to increase
      awareness. We need and want to take advantage of the advances in legislation for
      persons with disabilities and to make dreams come true in giving rights back to
      persons with disabilities, like other people.
   - We must influence our legal sector and our DPOs nationally and regionally to
      lead the fight on behalf of persons with disabilities, and must have the support of
      civil society and activate the various organizations.

7. Stefan Tromel offers a welcome on behalf of IDA and a brief introduction to the
network past and present:
    - IDA Chair William Rowland should be the one welcoming you, but he could not
        be here. This is especially important, because the IDA is run by persons with
        disabilities who are the chairs of the IDA member organisations.
    - The IDA was instrumental in development of the International Disability Caucus
        as an informal network. The job was originally to have a good convention, which
        we now have, and now the job is to get that convention ratified and implemented.
    - We must influence the work of the CRPD committee as well as the other bodies
        of the UN, which need to increase their attention on the rights of persons with
    - The policy we have adopted is that nothing should be done about us, without our
        involvement. “Nothing about us, without us.” Our capacity to work together,
       from different organizations, regions and disabilities, and to produce a unified
       message was what made the difference in our success. This is a very important
       point to take away for international, regional, and national organizations to
       produce results through a unified position. We will only be strong if we can join
       forces and approach governments. A strong and united disability movement is the
       key element.

8. Welcome from Ambassador Salem Quateen, Director of Civil Society Department,
League of Arab States:
    - We have been communicating with the disabled movement for a long time and
       the Arab League is attempting to establish a good relationship with the States of
       the UN and other organizations.
    - We would like to welcome especially our AODP leadership and the IDA
       representatives, as well as those here now representing organizations with which
       we have joint concerns.
    - This convention was just approved and we have organized several sessions to
       confirm and assure that there are joint efforts and cooperation between us. We
       must understand ourselves what the relationship between our organizations is
       before we can take our message forward. This will make the rights and demands
       stipulated by this convention capable of success. Activating the provisions is key
       to educating people.
    - In all fields of society, if any are marginalized we are affecting each and every
       part of the community. There is a role for every part: the civil and legislative
       societies, the media and others. The media is not doing their job and we should
       demand that they do it as a very important tool.

1st Session: Stefan Tromel: CRPD Overview and Discussion of Issues
(Please see attached presentation)

2nd Session: Reports on National CRPD efforts

Imed Eddine Chaker offers an introduction to the reporting, asking that comments be
confined to the movements taken on the CRPD.

Syria: Fedaa Shedoud and Ahmad Hamied
There is a program developed to handle an internal system pursuing the CRPD, which in
the near future will be able to adopt this convention. We are supposed to introduce this
agreement to our parliamentarians. We are working very hard with other colleagues to
adopt this convention.

Yemen: Ibrahim Aljahaf
Yemen has been part of the preparation phase of the convention through a committee.
There were several seminars given in Yemen, with representation in the UN, geared
toward adoption of the convention. During the national day of persons with disabilities,
we have talked about this convention to the government, including the head of the House
of Representatives. The Federation has spoken with the PM and it was agreed that the
government would sign after the convention was presented to the House. Several PWDs,
like the head of the Federation, presented it. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Council
of Representatives were interacted with regularly and we have received the CRPD
Committee in our country.

Palestine: Rowida Thiab
We can’t sign or ratify this agreement. We have ratified several laws and articles for
protection of disabled persons.

Tunisia: Moncef Hamza
We have some pioneering laws related to persons with disabilities. Those laws are
compliant with the country’s ratification of the Convention and OP. We have done this
to make the disabled in our country feel that they have the laws behind them. They may
achieve best results using this tool. The law used to stipulate that anyone blind had to
bring two witnesses for any proceeding, which was nearly impossible for people to do,
but this has been changed by the CRPD. We have pioneering societies supported by the
President himself and first lady. The convention does not come with roots we must
produce them via our efforts on the ground.

Jordan: Ismail Zaghmouri
Jordan has taken several steps to enact a law advancing a strategy of social development.
Jordan then ratified the convention on March 31, 2008. After that, Jordan exerted many
efforts to make the laws comply with the convention, by enacting law 81 on May 1. The
law was drafted by the Supreme Council on Disability Affairs. The society is educated
and their attention is drawn to the importance of the convention through the media, with
important focus on raising awareness.

Lebanon: Ibrahim Abdullah
We have not ratified the convention, despite our stance being representative within the
region. The Lebanese people have pledged their efforts to this convention and submitted
it to the council of representatives. But there were conflicts between the government and
civil society that have prevented the ratification. The civil society has been working to
move forward. Lebanon did not refuse to ratify, but several differences in policy disputes
were flying in the face of ratification. But, we have launched several educational
campaigns, though they are not necessarily great ones, especially with the elections
upcoming. The HR committee has facilitated two meetings in the House of
Representatives, which were great opportunities to discuss the necessary modifications to
the existing laws to make them in compliance.

Saudi Arabia: Naimah Mansour Albehaire
We have signed and ratified the convention, and took many steps even before the
convention. After the convention, there is more political and media progress and we also
have many meetings that are used to clarify the convention and its importance.

Kuwait: Hanna Alsanieh
Different NGOs are pushing the convention forward with seminars and meetings. We
are doing various workshops on discrimination. There was a committee formed talking
about different issues concerning disability. We translated the convention into English
and French, so that families could better access it. In the Gulf Week, we spoke with the
Minister of Social Affairs and discussed the building of a club for PWDs with intellectual
disabilities. We are speaking to officials attempting to pursue ratification.

Qatar: Amna Ali Al Suweidi
Qatar was one of the countries originally part of the drafting of the convention and one of
the largest delegations in New York. We signed and ratified the convention as the 22nd
country. Steps taken after the convention are very slow, but the Qatar law took some
time to manipulate and affect change in. This convention is a developmental one, so we
made sure it applied to the rights of the people themselves, inclusive of the other

Morrocco: Hayat Almacfou
We are opening a new page in this field and are dealing with the rights of PWDs included
in the pre-existing HR framework. We had an administration later changed to a ministry.
We have ratified the convention on May 8, 2009 and the OP. To do this, we assembled
several organizations, up to 45 associations, to motivate the government to ratify. The
King sent a message that he wanted the convention ratified. Morocco has ratified in its
constitution to enact and follow laws in compliance with the convention. We have
several laws that were enacted before, which make it look as if we are granting something
to them, not something that they deserve inherently. The draft law will be accepted by
parliament hopefully very soon. We need the government to look at the PWDs as a
regular constituency. It is difficult for the government alone to change the culture and
opinions. This can only be done through education and expert discussions. There are
many obstacles that stand in the way of PWDs because of stereotypes.

Egypt: Samia Badieh
I was involved with the discussions from the very beginning. There were some
terminologies that we objected to and we sent responses to them, and they were
ultimately changed. We are concerned with what we really need, the rights granted to us
through what we believe in. Persons with disabilities are granted their right through their
basic human rights. Egypt has amended several laws. Ratification was discussed in the
People’s Assembly. In education procedures of the Assembly, we observed and created
responses to the happenings. We began to focus on the convention, but must
wholeheartedly focus before we can expect ratification. We have developed several
programs to educate people on their rights.

(Imed Eddine Chaker) We need to be objective, even to criticize ourselves. There is no
need for propaganda here, because we are the people who must fight for the rights of
persons with disabilities. We need to simplify the laws (we asked for this in Tunisia).
After we discussed this issue, they began to filter and reconsider these laws. We have
been involved heavily and should be involved in shadow reporting. Even the committee
we have here should take this into consideration, because the government will never
discuss their shortcomings. We need to change our mentality and thank our
governments, but also say respectfully what is wrong with them. If there is something,
we must go to monitoring bodies and the UN.

3rd Session: Nizar Basalat: How to use the Arab Decade and intra-regional
cooperation (Please see attached presentation)


4th Session: Amna Ali Al Suweidi: The Role of the Committee on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (Please see attached presentation)

5th Session: Nawaf Kabbara: Regional and national monitoring

What are we doing to affect our cause? Where are the persons wirh disabilities of the
countries in our region?

Before monitoring must come awareness. So the first thing we need to do is to spread the
word about the convention and raise awareness.

Three Axes to this issue:
   1. Awareness. Build a global movement to pursue efforts regarding the convention
       and movement
   2. Human Rights Organizations
   3. Community activists (women’s groups, children’s groups, etc…)

We must link this convention with all the others. On the national level we need to build
alliances, using leagues and unions that should be working with other rights

These are key steps to take, even before talking to the government, because a strong basis
is mandatory. The meaning is given by having the constituency involved and
demonstrating their unified political and social power.

We need to create a working plan (example: By 2010, I am expecting a, b, and c to be
accomplished) that we take with us to present our case. We need the Arab Decade
reprogrammed, not the old Decade, to focus on convention implementation.

          a. Focused on Rights, rather than on rehabilitation/medical model
          b. Implementation
                i. 70% of the region’s governments do not have disability as a focus
                 ii. A new culture should be developed to recognize disability in the
                     new human rights understanding, rather than the old established
                     one of disability being a problem
           c. Monitoring
                  i. It is for all parts: government, civil society, media, etc… to be
                     involved in this process
                 ii. We want you to use your own rights, per Article 29
           d. Training
                  i. In conjunction with the IDA and other international organizations,
                     we can train on methods of advocacy that you can use to become
                     active and involved.

6th Session: Working groups

Working Groups:
  1. Employment (Led by Ibrahim Abdulla of Lebanon)
  2. Education (Led by Aminah al-Suweidi of Qatar)
  3. Health (Led by Rowida Thiab of Palestine)

Task 1:
The groups should act just as you would at home, by comparing what the convention says
about an issue with what the Arab Decade document says

What changes should be made to the Arab Decade document? Discrimination is never
mentioned in the Decade document, so there is a huge difference between the Decade and
the convention.

Task 2:
Group 1 (National Level): Make recommendations to governments
Group 2 (Regional Level): What can the Arab League do for regional cooperation?
Group 3 (International/UN level): What message to send to the UN level? What do you
expect IDA to do?

TASK 1: Conclusions

Group 1 Employment: The Convention supported the right to employment and
eliminated discrimination. Though it mentioned some defined objectives to be reached.

We recommend making a separation between rehabilitation and the work in the Decade.
We should add work to a section on habilitation. There is no mention of discrimination
in the Decade, and there should be this addition.

Group 2 Education: The convention provides a simple distinction speaking to

For the Decade, we call for addressing discrimination.
We need to not limit education for PWDs, which should be committed the same way as
non-disabled people. Speaking to experience of the deaf, she was rejected from
University study because of her disability.

We need to take this common comment on discrimination as a need to update legislation
at home.

Group 3 Health: The convention was more detailed and focused on rights and anti-

The Decade is demanding and overly general. The Decade did not offer anything on
implementation procedures. The Convention focuses on persons with disabilities and
their involvement, as well as their independence, whereas the Decade mentioned nothing
about it.

TASK 2: Conclusions

Group 1 on National Level:
Demand that government comply with educational accessibility. Launch a campaign for
accessible education. Call on civil society to take on this issue and form regional
coalitions to push this issue forward over greater area.

Group 2 on Regional Level:
We need to demand equipment to be involved in this process. The first point we
observed is that the educational process is not available to all disabled persons. So the
necessary equipment needs to be provided to make it available. We encourage the
development of special frameworks to pursue disability issues. We need to encourage and
provide equipment to families.

Group 3 on UN Level:
Disability must be included in all UN programs, linking to all the assistance offered by
the convention. Also, disability must be included within all other related constituencies
(women, children etc…) and efforts in conflict areas.

Final Session

Recommendations made for inclusion in Cairo declaration:
   1. Activating the role of civil associations and media
   2. Focus on working as an ideal group, willing to work together and inclusive of
   3. With the convention, we need to take a new look at our stereotypes and overcome
      the old traditions
   4. Need a mechanism for following up the ratification in all Arab countries and to
      activate the Conference articles
   5. We need to allocate a larger role to persons with disabilities in educating on issues
       and the process
   6. Emphasize the involvement of civil society
   7. Work toward all countries ratifying the Convention and OP, and implement them
   8. Work toward equal employment without discrimination
   9. Want the right to ratify and use our societies to monitor in Palestine
   10. Need some focus to convert the experience here into empowerment at home in
       educating people about the convention.
           a. Need a group that is trained and efforts that are concrete
           b. Need to build on the teams we already have in place at home
   11. Need to take into consideration those blind or with visual impairment. We need
       to start early with children to address inclusion of any disability.
   12. There should not be a document produced that indicates the jobs suited for
       persons with disabilities, when we’re saying that they are just the same as
       everyone else.
           a. It is shameless to ask for things against the convention, in the form of
                special employment. Our recommendations are intended to be a call to
                ratification. Later we will focus on monitoring.

We are asking the IDA to have another training, to be held in other Arab countries
through the AODP, especially in those regional countries that have not ratified.

The suggestions above, included in the Cairo declaration, should be sent to:
The Arab League, UN, national governments, IDA and AODP, and media outlets

Closing comments: Ambassador Quateen, Nawaf Kabbara, Stefan Tromel, and
Imed Eddine Chaker

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