Right step by UAE on people of determination - GulfToday

Right step by UAE on people of determination

People Of Determination

The UAE Cabinet’s approval of the ‘People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy’ is a praiseworthy and path breaking initiative.

One billion people around the world – one in seven of the total population – have some form of disability. More than 80 per cent of them live in developing countries, and around half cannot afford health care, according to United Nations officials.

What is distressing is that people living with disabilities face stigma, discrimination, and ignorance, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them.

These factors put them at a higher risk of violence, and children with disabilities face a greater than four-fold risk of experiencing violence than children without.

In this background, the UAE Cabinet’s approval of the ‘People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy’ is a praiseworthy and path breaking initiative.

The policy will empower and protect persons with disabilities by allowing them to participate effectively within a safe community environment that offers them enhanced opportunities and guarantees their right to a dignified life.

The policy has a clear goal of protecting ‘the determined’ from abuse, empowering them, their families and their co-workers to deal with cases of abuse, enable persons with disabilities to defend themselves and set mechanisms to identify instances of potential maltreatment of people of determination swiftly.

The policy is noble also because it aims to increase the national cadres specialised in identifying and responding to abuse cases by raising their proficiency in providing adequate care for individuals exposed to maltreatment.

It seeks to provide appropriate restorative programmes for persons with disabilities who have been exposed to any forms of abuse and mitigating the impact of such violence.

The categorising of forms of abuse that may be experienced by persons with disabilities as ranging from depriving individuals of their fundamental rights, lack of access to medical care, recreation or community integration, as well as economic or financial abuse makes perfect sense.

It may be recalled that a People of Determination Retreat was held in March 2019, as part of the nationwide efforts to mobilise resources in support of the people of determination.

Several Sheikhs, ministers, national figures, people of determination and social specialists participated in the retreat sessions where 31 initiatives and programmes were approved to support the future of this segment of society.

In 2018, the UAE launched the first ‘Emirati sign language dictionary’, which seeks to develop and standardise the signs used by people of determination with hearing impairments across the UAE.

The dictionary is available online, and includes 5,000 words for teaching people with hearing difficulties and training sign language translators.

This week, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, ZHO, and the Abu Dhabi Retirement Pension and Benefits Fund, signed a memorandum of Understanding committing to exchanging data and facilitating procedures for persons with disabilities employed within entities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and are registered within the Fund.

The Abu Dhabi pensions fund has emphasised its keenness to support people of determination across multiple levels and the new agreement is a continuation of a series of services provided to persons with disabilities registered within the Fund.

The latest UAE policy is certainly a principled response to global statistics and research findings, which indicate that adults and children with disabilities are at much higher risk of exposure to violence and abuse than non-disabled peers.

There can be no doubt that the policy will help mitigate psychological and emotional trauma that may accumulate as a result of long-term abuse, in all its forms.

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