First of its kind ‘disability research’ forum held in Riyadh

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Updated 10 December 2012

First of its kind ‘disability research’ forum held in Riyadh

Some 40 experts from 20 countries, both local and from abroad, participated in a three-day conference on disability research. The event was part of the Saudi Forum on Universal Design held here yesterday coinciding with the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research (PSCDR) 20th Anniversary celebrations that took place here on Saturday.
Sultan Al-Sedairy, PSCDR director was present and gave a welcome speech on behalf of PSCDR. Talat AlWaznah, director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Social Affairs was also present.
Mukhtar Al-Shibani, president of Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) told Arab News that the forum is the first time to take place here in Saudi Arabia.
The event dubbed “support to disability” was held at Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh on the sidelines of the celebration of Prince Salman Center for Disability Research marking twenty years since its foundation.
Al-Shibani said GATTES, which is based in Canada, is the leading international organization dedicated to the promotion of accessibility of the built and virtual environments. It was incorporated in 2007 by a international consortium dedicated to promoting accessibility worldwide, and has an international presence in six regions; the Asia-Pacific, Arab, North America, South America, European and Africa regions. Its members include technical experts, individuals, organizations of people with disabilities, companies involved in information and communication technologies, architects, experts in emergency planning and life safety and interested supporters.
GATTES has awarded Prince Sultan, PSCDR’s chairman, for his big contribution to the services of peoples with disability problems. Alshibani told Arab New expressing his group gratitude for the utmost care, importance and support given by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah to disability issue.
Forum focuses on the concepts of universal access to urban environment and facilitate access in transportation and technology, also presents international experiences in the field of universal access for use and exchange of experiences.
It is to promote the understanding and implementation of accessibility of the sustainable built, social and virtual environments, including architectural, infrastructural design, transportation systems, habitat, and electronic information and communication technologies so that everyone, including people with disabilities and older persons are able to fully participate and contribute to society, Al-Shibani observed.
He noted that GAATES has also been recognized by other organizations as the international leader in accessibility and has successfully completed a number of projects for UNESCO, the UN DESA and various government agencies and state parties. In her presentation, Betty Dion said referring to UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its optional protocol adopted in 2006.
She said Universal Design “means the design of products, environments, programs, and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal design shall not exclude assistive devises for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed she continued.
She continued: to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, with access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation. These measures, include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility and apply to buildings, reads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces.
Equal access to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems as well other services including electronics services and emergency services, she observed.
She also talked about the measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.
State parties shall take effect measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities.
Forum speakers including, Betty Dion from Canada and currently serving as past president of GAATES, Akiko Ito of Japan, Mohammed Tarawnedh of Jordan, Shuaib Chalkken of South Africa, Soren Ginnerup from Denmark, KC Deepak, Nepal Ahmed El Rida, Libya, Robert Topping, Canada, Amanda Gibberd, South Africa, Eoin O’Herlihy, Ireland, Joseph Kwan, Hong Kong, Monika Anna Klenovee, Austria, Mohammad Aqeel, Japan, Jorge Fernando Plano, Argentina and others.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.