During a workshop, organized by PNGO Rehabilitation sector: there needs to be collective efforts, so that people with disabilities attain rights and get proper municipal services


Representatives of various organisations member of the PNGO rehabilitation sector, along with the ministries of social development and local government, local municipalities, as well as experts, emphasized on the need to concentrate all possible efforts that would enable people with disabilities have access to  municipal services that are unified and adapted to their needs.

This came during a workshop, organized by the PNGO rehabilitation sector where   

they also called for setting up proper  plans and cooperation among all relevant parties     including national organizations , concerned ministries and local municipal councils to ensure  adaptation of  local society and government-provided services for people with disabilities.

The workshop, titled “Municipalities Roles in adaptation and providing services for persons with disabilities” was held by the PNGO's rehabilitation sector, in coordination with the ministries of local government and social development, in the Gaza Strip.

 Jamal Rozzi, coordinator of the PNGO rehabilitation sector, delivered an opening speech in which he asserted on the significance of the workshop, saying that it aims at finding ways to provide proper services for people with disabilities.

Rozzi made clear that various bodies have been exerting efforts to ensure  appropriate services for people with disabilities. However, he further noted that such efforts are still inadequate and that more efforts need to be made, so that people with disabilities can attain their given rights, within a proper framework that would guarantee them  adequate services and help them realize their own aspirations.

From his part, Dr. Ghazi Hamad, deputy-minister of social development, appreciated efforts made by the various local society organizations for the support of people with disabilities. He believed that those efforts had helped to improve the quality of services, provided for people with disabilities.

Hamad pointed out that the ministry's coordination with national organizations had reached has reached advanced stages in the completion of the “disability card”,., which would enable  people with disabilities have access to various services including proper medical care. The services are subject to exemptions or facilitation in various aspects, noting that the ministry is working with the Ministry of Health and NGOs to finalize all procedures. Technical to start issuing the card for people with disabilities.

Mona Skaik, director general of planning and development within the ministry of local government, said that the ministry has been relentlessly working on ensuring   adaptation of public and private facilities for people with disabilities, within relevant laws and measures.

Skaik explained that all municipalities in the Gaza Strip have made some efforts to make sure that their services and facilities fit in people with disabilities. Such efforts, according to Skaik, are being exerted within available resources and plans to reinforce municipal role in the field.

In her presentation, Suha Shuhaibar, from the ministry of local government, outlined main efforts, services and facilitations, offered by the ministry, to people with disabilities, in cooperation with municipalities. She noted that the ministry has been also working on ensuring compatibility of public and private facilities for people with disabilities, based on international standards and through coordination with all relevant syndicates including the engineers syndicate.

For his part, Mr. Naji Naji, Secretary General of the Union of People with Disabilities in the southern governorates, pointed out main interventions by the union to put pressure towards realising the right of persons with disabilities, exemptions of fees, facilitations by various local society organizations as well as the union's role in supporting all possible efforts that aim at offering best services for people with disabilities.

Mohammad Alsalty, from the Ministry of Social Development, illustrated to participants the mechanism, pertaining to planned 'Disability Card, as well as a package of services, offered by the ministry. He noted that the “Disability Card” is in itself a proof that the person, holding it, is a person with disability. In this case, all concerned government and non-government bodies are required to help holders of the card, based on law no. 4 for people with disabilities, which was issued back in 1999.

He also presented a list of the categories supposed to benefit from the card, criterions for getting it, required documents to be provided by an applicant, validity of the card, as well as card contents and the form to be filled in by a potential applicant, referring to the special mechanism for classifying people with disabilities to determine the services provided according to the needs of the person with a disability who has the card.

Abed El Rahman Muzanen, representative of the rehabilitation sector within PNGO, said the people with disabilities, are the most vulnerable in the local community, as their involvement in the community is highly restricted affecting their effective participation in public life.

Muzanen recommended that law no. 4 of 1999, pertaining to people with disabilities, should be applied entirely including its internal regulations. He also called for forming a reference body, comprising of experts from both the Gaza Strip and West Bank to deal with all issues related to people with disabilities.

In the end of the workshop, all participants agreed that all possible efforts by all parties, should be united, so that people with disabilities will eventually have access to easier and more compatible services. They also emphasized on the need for adapted municipal buildings that would meet all possible needs of people with disabilities.

Participants also called for setting plans within joint coordination among all relevant institutions including rehabilitation centers, ministries and municipalities, for the best of granting people with disabilities all possible rights at various levels within a more comprehensive, integrated and appropriate perspective for the various types of disabilities in society.

Participants recommended that more legislations, based on the international convention for people with disabilities, should be enacted and developed.

In this respect, executive procedures should be put in place, for the best of services adaptation that would help grant rights to people with disabilities, participants urged.

In their final say, they called for forming various joint committees, comprised of all relevant parties in a way that would help reinforce team work and come out with more specialized policies and facts that address core issues and meet the aspirations of people with disabilities.


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