In yet another proud global recognition of its reputation as a humane and people-friendly Emirate, Sharjah was formally crowned the ‘Accessible City for the Physically Disabled’ by the World Federation of the Disabled during the World Cities Day at the United Nations in New York. The title was conferred on Sharjah at a special ceremony at the UN on Oct.31.
Headquarters in New York. Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Thiqah Club for the Handicapped, and a member of Sharjah Executive Council, received the citation on behalf of Sharjah.
The recognition has been hailed as a historic achievement and bold step towards empowerment of physically disabled people in the Emirate under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. The recognition is a reflection of the efforts and initiatives of Sharjah’s leadership in supporting and caring for people with disabilities and an outcome of the initiatives to support and empower this important group of society, integrating them and granting them their full rights as equal stakeholders in the Emirate’s progress.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi Welcoming the international recognition, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council said that it is but natural that Sharjah has been recognised as an ‘Accessible City for the Physically Disabled" by the World Federation of the Disabled. He pointed to the relentless efforts of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah to protect the rights of all groups of society launching a number of initiatives to create integrated infrastructure and environment supportive of all human needs.
He attributed the success and recognition of Sharjah at the global level to the hard work and sincere efforts by the Emirate’s leadership over the past 38 years. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi emphasised that ‘Sharjah, the Emirate of Humanity’ has dedicated itself to work to achieve the humane vision and directives of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for the progress and wellbeing of all sections of society.
The global title is yet another feather in the Emirate’s cap as it has already been recognised as the Age-Friendly City (2017) by the World Health Organization (WHO) and ‘Child Friendly City’ by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) earlier this year. These titles yet again reinforce Sharjah’s reputation and image as a humane and people-friendly Emirate that really cares.
HE Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development
HE Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development, described the international title as a sure step towards more achievements to come for the Emirate and its humanitarian record. She added: "This title deserves attention and is very important, because it clearly points to other achievements to come. This is also an incentive for other cities and institutions of the Emirate to get more international recognition in their service to all sections and stakeholders of society. We at the Ministry of Community Development value every step added to the progress and achievements of our beloved country in line with the vision of 2021 and the achievement of sustainable development agendas 2030. Our ambition is to strive towards more such achievements that benefit and directly affect the life of society. "
She praised the efforts of the Emirate in caring for people with disabilities. She especially hailed the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, which is the pioneer in serving this important segment in the UAE, for its service to the community since 1979. It benefits hundreds of community members who are in dire need of care, rehabilitation, support and motivation. "The achievement of the Emirate of Sharjah is an achievement for the UAE and of course for the Arabs in general. As we celebrate this honour today, we renew our commitment to make more constructive efforts in the service of our society, especially children,” she added.
Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Thiqah Club for the Handicapped
Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Thiqah Club For the Handicapped, said that the recognition of Sharjah as the ‘Accessible City for the Physically Disabled’ is a great honour for the Emirate and the UAE and is a result of the continuous efforts and initiatives by the Emirate to take care of this vulnerable section of society and all their needs and rehabilitation.
Dr Bin Khadim pointed to the special services and facilities offered for people with disabilities by educational institutions in the Emirate, including public and private schools and the University of Sharjah, offering the best educational, functional and social environments for people with disabilities. The Emirate also offers a number of rehabilitation courses for the physically disabled. He referred to the laws that ensure non-discrimination against persons with disabilities, whether at work or in social or economic setting.
Metin Senturk, President of the World Disability Union
Metin Senturk, President of the World Disability Union, said: “When my team went to Sharjah, they returned to me with their observations. All the comments I received were inspiring. In today’s meeting, I saw how thoroughly work has been conducted in Sharjah to make it an accessible city. And today, on the World Cities Day as designated by the UN, Sharjah should have been announced as a model city. I hope these exemplary efforts made in Sharjah will be replicated in other countries where our member organisations are registered. There’s a saying that I always repeat: “The world should not be designed for one type of person but for all humans,” and this ideal has been realised by Sharjah. I hope to travel to Sharjah ASAP to tour around and see these efforts on the ground.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of Sharjah’s crowning as an Accessible City for the Physically Disabled at the UN Headquarters, Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadim, Executive Council Member and Chairman of Al Thiqah Club for Handicapped, and Metin Senturk, President of World Disability Union, inaugurated the official website of Sharjah Accessible City for the Physically Disabled https://accessiblesharjah.org/.