JEDDAH: Major infrastructure rebuilds to aid disabled people have been completed in Makkah and Madinah, the United Nations heard on Thursday.
Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), made the announcement in Geneva during the 21st session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He said that the move came as part of a wider range of programs aimed at empowering the disabled in Saudi Arabia, to provide them with a suitable education, tools and the employment opportunities to ensure their independence and maintain a good quality of life.
He added that the infrastructure updates included public transport facilities that were disability friendly, and easy access to government buildings and important historical and religious sites across the two cities.
“The Saudi government is keen to serve the Two Holy Mosques and other holy sites, and harness the necessary resources to serve pilgrims, and this includes the completion of major infrastructure targets that take into account the needs of people with disabilities,” Al-Aiban said.
“The government’s financial support for associations and NGOs for people with disabilities amounted to more than SR70 million ($18.7 million) in 2018. People with disabilities are also members of the Shoura Council, and hold leadership positions in various sectors.
He also mentioned the recent establishment of the Saudi Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, noting the growing number of centers for disability rehabilitation across the country, and the exemplary standards they set for disabled services in the Gulf.