Working meetings on the issue of the disabled during the year 2002
As a result of the excessive use of force by Israeli troops to quell the second Intifada, the number of people with disabilities has increased to alarming levels. When added to the victims of the first Intifada and those born with a disability, the number of people with special needs has reached such a high level that special preparations and plans are required to cope with the increase.
A bill concerning disabled people in Palestine has already passed several legislative phases. However, it is yet to be approved. Therefore, many obstacles still remain before disabled people can secure their needs. Presently, official measures only relate to regulations for building projects which require the needs of the disabled to be considered.
The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) has been keen to adopt this issue and pursue the various phases necessary for the completion of legislation that would practically deal with it. In previous reports, it referred to people with disabilities as the challenged.
The following steps have been taken in this respect:
¢ Preparing a database concerning the challenged.
¢ Issuing a report entitled, Activating the law and the project concerning the rights of the handicapped.
¢ Following up the executive list relating to the law of the challenged with relevant parties.
¢ Holding a workshop to discuss the report with the formation of a task force that would follow up on recommendations made.
ATF s follow-up constituted a positive contribution with all parties interested in the matter of the challenged. It helped contain some of the negative aspects and move matters forward.