Challenges remain for disabled rights, expert says
The UAE faces significant challenges in changing attitudes towards disabled people, a leading academic said.
Prof Eman Gaad from The British University in Dubai said more work was needed to ensure society accepts people of determination on equal terms.
Prof Gaad was speaking at the launch of a new book chronicling the city’s drive to improve disabled access this week.
Building the Inclusive City, by Victor Pineda, provides a road map for other cities wanting to provide better facilities for people of determination. “Dubai has always been an inclusive city but when it came to disability we needed to do some work,” Prof Gaad said.
“I am glad to see we have the right policies in place when it comes to physical accessibility. The challenge now is to avoid trying to be politically correct and doing someone a favour because they are disabled.
“It is about accepting they are equal and have the same rights as anyone else.”
Prof Gaad’s comments came days after UAE authorities launched a nationwide campaign to increase support for people with disabilities.
The drive, part of the legacy of the Special Olympic Games held in Abu Dhabi in March, includes a proposal to be put before the country’s Executive Council guaranteeing disabled people the right to work in the Emirates.
Mr Pineda, whose book focused on the years 2007 to 2013, said he was grateful for the assistance of the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government in Dubai.
“This book documents how a transformation took place here [in Dubai],” the University of California, Berkeley lecturer said.
“Now, the book can act as a guide for other cities that want to follow in Dubai’s footsteps in becoming accessible to people with disabilities.”
Avoid trying to be politically correct and doing someone a favour because they are disabled PROF EMAN GAAD The British University in Dubai
Victor Pineda at the launch of his book chronicling disabled access in Dubai