The Cairo Declaration


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We, people with disabilities and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) representing 66 countries from around the world, have participated in the international conference titled United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – “No one left behind” organized by the Arab Organization of Persons with Disabilities (AOPD) in partnership with Disabled People’s International (DPI).

We extend our appreciation for the welcome and support received from the Egyptian Government who generously hosted this international conference.

A special thank you to the Arab Organization of Person with Disabilities (AOPD) for organizing this conference. DPI welcomed regional organizations representing persons of disabilities from all over the world, including RIADIS Latin America, ADF in Africa and PDF in Asia pacific region, which contributed to the success of the conference.

This conference, in part, is a celebration of DPI’s 35th anniversary and the opportunity to host DPI’s 9th World Assembly. But most importantly the world is commemorating 10 years of the adoption of the first Human Right Treaty of the 21st Century, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which has been ratified by 162 States, which represent 84% of the United Nations (UN) members. 

However, we express our concern that ten years after the CRPD, some governments in the world have not ratified the Convention. Furthermore in a majority of countries, the charity and medical paradigms are still the dominant philosophies adopted to engage with disabilities issues. Persons with disabilities in these countries are not treated as equal citizens, and we recognize that society must restructure itself, culturally and physically to meet the demands.

After the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda in 2015, we, people with disabilities, from all over the world, gathered here, in Cairo, Egypt, in high appreciation that the world is finally considering disability as a Human Rights issue, and is including persons with disabilities in the 2030 sustainable development agendas, actions and processes.

The 2030 sustainable development agenda includes disability in 7 of the 169 agreed upon targets. This has been the result of the efforts of the global disability community, however, we strongly believe that disability related issues must be included in most of the targets, in particular those related to the alleviation of poverty. 

Recognizing that 15% of the world’s population is fitting the description of disability as outlined in te CRPD, we also recognize that many more human beings will fall under the CRPD definition of disability in their lifetime; this means that disability is an ordinary condition of life and that policies that benefit the target group of the CRPD benefits nearly all seven (7) billion people that habitat the world sometime in their life. 

Today we all focus our efforts on ensuring that the indicators of the 2030 sustainable development agenda include the concerns of people with disabilities. In particular we feel that questions related to health care, inclusive education, employment, independent living, social protection schemes, and accessibility should highly consider persons with disabilities.

We recognize that science, technology and innovative development cycles are ever shorter and are influencing the success of the 2030 agenda; disabled people and others acknowledge that problems related to science, technology and innovation development are not limited to disabled people not having access to related products and developments, but also can exhibit other problems such as changing perceptions of expectations of people that can also hurt disabled people.

Acknowledging further that many of the governance discussions are happening in an anticipatory way, meaning at the conceptual stage of science, technology and innovation developments; we believe that a way must be found that allows disabled people to be part of science, technology and innovation governance discourses at all stages, in a meaningful and continuous way so that disabled people can react to and advise on emerging issues.

The world in general, and in particular the Arab world, is facing a major humanitarian crisis resulting from war and conflict. It is the position of the conferees that violence and wars will only bring more disaster, destruction and human misery. It is our belief that we, as human beings have the means and tools to communicate with each other, and to put our common goals for a peaceful and just world, in front of our particular interests and egoism, and to use many available peaceful conflict resolution tools to deal with differences and confrontation.

With all the conventions and treaties signed and adopted thus far concerning the Human Rights of the citizens of the World, the international response to different humanitarian crisis including the current situations faced by the Arab Region are far from meeting the minimum required measures and criteria that meet the basic human rights for all humanity. Ten years after the CRPD, different humanitarian interventions still need to have a better understanding of the needs of refugees with disabilities and to remember all those victims with disabilities who cannot travel and escape.

Based on the above, Disabled People's International (DPI), the Arab Organizations of Persons With Disability (AOPD), RIADIS, Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), and African Disability Forum (ADF), representing people with disabilities worldwide, call upon all human rights activists and organizations to join together in solidarity with people with disabilities including refugees, women and children, and aboriginal persons who live in constant violation of their basic human rights. DPI, AOPD, RIADIS ADF, and PDF call upon all members, supporters and partners to join hands and fight discrimination, marginalization, and abuse, in every aspect.

We, persons with disability from all over the World who have met in Cairo, call for the empowerment of all marginalized people; we call for participation in all political offices to ensure that our voice is heard; we call upon those who oppose the practice of hate, discrimination and oppression; and to adopt the language of humanity that unites human beings. We recognize that sustainability requires greater equality.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, clearly states that “all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity”.  Let us all work together for a world that knows how to respect the dignity for all humanity regardless of any differences. Let us all join hands to fight poverty, pollution, mismanagement of resources and lack of justice. Let us work for a world that respects everyone as free conscious human beings.

We call on the disability movements and human rights organizations to unite and place our common interests for equality and non-discrimination at the forefront of their agenda. We call upon all United Nation agencies to apply inclusion in their programs, and to consider persons with disabilities as major participants in the development of their programs with a strategy based on our philosophy and practice "nothing for us without us".

We call for the empowerment of people with disabilities and for their full participation in the social and political life of their countries and their local communities.

© DPI 2016