Posted 04.11.2021

DDA legislation came into effect in 1995, so why after 26 years are we still learning?

On Monday Israel’s Minister of energy and water resources Karine Elharrar could not attend the Cop26 summit due to lack of wheelchair accessibility. This is shocking, particularly for the United Nations which promotes accessibility for disabled people, but perhaps not surprising to disabled people who come up against barriers daily.

Despite several weeks of communication about the details of the Minister’s requirements, Karine Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy, was denied entry to the summit because as a wheelchair user she was unable to access the Glasgow venue. Ms Elharrar criticised the refusal to accommodate her as “outrageous”. Ms Elharrar could not get onto the grounds of the conference because the only options were to either walk or take a shuttle that was not suitable for a wheelchair. She waited outside the venue for two hours, and was eventually forced to return to her hotel in Edinburgh 50 miles away.

Cop26 organisers apologised as did Boris Johnson saying he was sorry for the “confusion”. Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked his British counterpart for his “quick intervention on this unfortunate incident” and called it a “learning opportunity for all of us in the importance of accessibility for all”, a statement backed by Johnson. 

Whilst Ms Elharrar's experience on Tuesday was quite different, her experience on Monday should not have happened at all!  The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) came into effect in 1995, so why after 26 years are we still learning?

Photo: Reuters/The Guardian - Boris Johnson (right) is introduced to Israel's energy minister, Karine Elharrar (left), in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Read the full article in The Guardian