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United Arab Emirates – Disability

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country located in the Middle East, consisting of seven emirates. The country has made significant progress in the field of disability rights and accessibility over the past few years. This article will explore the common attitudes towards disability in the UAE, discrimination and legislation issues, accessibility of public transport and buildings, and advocacy groups for the disabled in the UAE.

Attitudes Towards Disability in the UAE

The UAE has a generally positive attitude towards individuals with disabilities. The UAE’s leaders have expressed a strong commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities, including initiatives to enhance their access to education and employment opportunities. In recent years, the country has taken steps to increase awareness of disability issues, such as holding events to promote the rights of individuals with disabilities and the inclusion of disability in the national education curriculum.

However, despite these positive attitudes, there is still some degree of stigma associated with disability in the UAE. People with disabilities may face discrimination in various areas, including employment and access to education. Additionally, societal expectations of individuals with disabilities can be lower than those of their non-disabled counterparts.

Discrimination and Legislation Issues

The UAE has made significant progress in the field of disability rights and legislation. The UAE’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and the country ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. Additionally, the UAE has established a federal law that mandates accessibility in all new public and private buildings, transportation, and other infrastructure.

However, despite these legislative efforts, discrimination against individuals with disabilities still exists in the country. One area where discrimination is particularly prevalent is employment. Despite the fact that the UAE has established a number of initiatives to encourage companies to hire individuals with disabilities, such as financial incentives, many employers still prefer to hire non-disabled individuals.

Public Transport and Building Access

The United Arab Emirates has made considerable progress in improving accessibility for people with disabilities in public transportation and buildings. The Dubai Metro, for example, is fully accessible, with lifts, ramps, and designated seating areas. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) also operates a dedicated service, called the Dubai Metro Accessibility Center, to assist passengers with disabilities.


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Similarly, most new buildings in the United Arab Emirates are required by law to be fully accessible, with features such as ramps, lifts, and designated parking spaces. Many existing buildings have also undergone renovations to improve accessibility. However, there is still room for improvement, particularly in older buildings, and many areas outside major cities may have limited accessibility options.

Advocacy Groups

There are several advocacy and support groups for people with disabilities in the United Arab Emirates, including:

  1. The Emirates Association for the Visually Impaired: A non-profit organization that provides support and services for people with visual impairments, including rehabilitation, education, and social activities.

  2. The UAE Down Syndrome Association: A non-profit organization that supports people with Down syndrome and their families through education, awareness-raising, and advocacy.

  3. The UAE Autism Society: A non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for people with autism and their families.

  4. The Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs: A non-profit organization that provides education and therapy services for children with disabilities.

Contact details for these and other organizations can be found online.

Conclusion

The United Arab Emirates has made significant progress in improving accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in recent years, particularly in terms of legislation and public transport. However, there is still room for improvement in areas such as employment, education, and attitudes towards disability. Advocacy groups play an important role in raising awareness and promoting the rights of people with disabilities, and their work will be crucial in driving further progress towards a more inclusive society.


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