New Palestinian coalition launched to help integrate disabled into labor market

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-20 06:28:37|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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RAMALLAH, March 19 (Xinhua) -- A new coalition of governmental and civil society organizations was launched on Monday in the West Bank city of Ramallah to help integrate the disabled into the labor market.

The coalition, which comprises eight non-governmental organizations and the Palestinian Ministry of Labor, said it aims to enhance the legal framework concerning disabled people, change the negative stereotypes and create more job opportunities for them.

Safia Al-Ali, the chairperson of Stars of Hope Association devoted to empowering disabled women, said at a joint press conference with other co-founders that the idea was born of the urgent need to incorporate the disabled into the national economy as well as communal development.

"The coalition will seek maximum cooperation to meet the public interest by having disabled individuals enjoy their right to adequate work," Al-Ali said.

Figures show 87 percent of disabled Palestinians, who represent 7.6 percent of the total population, are unemployed despite basic laws demanding their integration into public and private sectors.

Observers say this reflects a deep misunderstanding of the capabilities of the disabled, which has impeded the sustainability of national development.

Rami Mehdawi, the government representative who was elected as the coalition coordinator, told Xinhua that the government is obliged to promote adoption of relevant legislations and accountability rules.

"The main challenges we will be facing is the bad economic reality because the unemployment rate is already high, but we will tell the Palestinian private sector that they have a developmental duty to employ people with special needs," he said.

The unemployment rate among young Palestinians stood at 17.3 percent in the West Bank and 41 percent in the Gaza Strip by the end of 2015, official data show.