RIYADH: King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR) and Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission signed a joint memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and to achieve the best standards in this domain. The MoU was co-signed by Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees of KSCDR, and Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, president of the Human Rights Commission.
Prince Sultan said in a press statement following the signing of the MoU: “The signing of this agreement comes in culmination of years of active and fruitful partnership between KSCDR and the Human Rights Commission.”
He said that under the MoU the two sides will coordinate their areas of specialty to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and to achieve the best standards in this domain, including contributing to the review and development of the relevant regulations, rules and procedures.
Prince Sultan pointed out that KSCDR, under the guidance and supervision of King Salman, has taken the lead in embracing disability, establishing relevant legislation governing the cause, and establishing the Authority for the Care of Persons with Disabilities (ADP) based on strong government, charitable and civil practice, as well as experience of more than three decades.
He said: “KSCDR has several programs on persons with disabilities, who need care and attention to be able to integrate into society in a way that suits them. These programs include the Universal Access Program that came from the Disability Welfare Act.”
“KSCDR has also adopted the National Newborn Screening Program to detect metabolic disorders that cause disabilities. This program has been imposed in the majority of the Kingdom’s hospitals and more than 1 million newborns have been screened.”
Prince Sultan said that KSCDR is implementing the National Newborn Screening Program in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and all other health sectors in the Kingdom.
“It aims to detect 20 genetic disorders that lead to mental underdevelopment and acute morbidity conditions, some of which lead to death when not detected and treated early.”
Prince Sultan said that the care KSCDR and the Human Rights Commission give to this segment is part of the programs and initiatives sponsored by King Salman since he adopted the cause and presented many programs and projects that economically, socially and intellectually enable persons with disability. This is also based on the importance of scientific research specialized in disability research, and it confirms the King’s vision that disability and its social and economic repercussions constitute one of the most important challenges facing contemporary societies.
He emphasized that King Salman also was the first to support the establishing of the association of the founders of KSCDR and joined it as a member, prompting 110 founding members, including individuals, companies, banks, charities, banks and families to join as well.
Prince Sultan said that it is important that Saudi Arabia becomes the global leader in the rights of persons with disabilities as the cause receives great support from King Salman, who, for more than 35 years, has been advocating for this segment of society.
Al-Aiban expressed his appreciation for Prince Sultan’s efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.
He explained that the signing of the MoU is part of the Human Rights Commission’s integrative partnerships to cooperate in various fields related to knowledge enrichment on disability and persons with disabilities, as well as their issues and rights. Its aim is to raise community awareness on the matter, exchange experiences and advice and prepare joint studies and research disability-related areas.
Al-Aiban praised the participation of KSCDR during the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council to review the Kingdom’s report to the Convention — the report that was praised by all members of the committee, who also pointed out that the international community should benefit from the Kingdom’s best practices.
He added: “This center must have international arms and outreach to expand beyond Saudi Arabia and reach regional and international levels in a faster manner, especially with societies unfortunately suffering from wars and crises that result in many disabilities.”