At the Global Disability Summit

Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II

At the Global Disability Summit

16 February 2022
(Via teleconference)


In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure to join you at this important summit. And I would like to thank the governments of Norway and Ghana for working with the International Disability Alliance to shed light on this crucial issue during these difficult times.

This virtual summit is another stark reminder of the inescapable impact of the pandemic we continue to face. But if COVID has taught us anything over the past two years, it is that there is no real opportunity for the recovery of any of us without including all of us.

So as our world hopes to begin the long process of healing, and as we seek robust post-COVID recovery, we must recognise that we cannot achieve true progress without fostering inclusive development that safeguards the rights of persons with disabilities.

My country Jordan has always believed in this. And we are taking every opportunity to enhance inclusion. We recognise that we still have a long way to go. But gradual, steady progress has been made.

As part of efforts to strengthen the safeguards for citizens’ rights, Jordan legislated an ambitious new Law in 2017 on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first anti-discrimination law in the region.

And this year, our Parliament endorsed constitutional amendments which included stipulating that laws must protect the rights of persons with disabilities and enhance their participation and integration in all aspects of life.

Jordan has also launched a national strategy for inclusive education, and a national plan for accessibility.

We are moving forward. But, as is the case elsewhere, COVID has slowed us down, and it is threatening some of the gains we made.

Progress in combating the unemployment of persons with disabilities has suffered a hit. And as economic growth falters, the resources earmarked for inclusive development at the national level have become harder to attain.

This is why Jordan and other countries in the region and beyond look to our international partners to help ensure that attention to the rights of persons with disabilities remains integral to political, economic, and social development efforts, through disability-sensitive support.

Inclusion is in everyone’s interest. It makes every community better and stronger.

The political engagement of persons with disabilities is by no means less important than their economic engagement. They are part of societies everywhere, and that must be reflected in education, health care, business, sports, tourism—in all facets of life. None can be dismissed as a luxury.

My friends,

Our future lies in inclusion. We cannot move forward if we leave anyone behind. Let the lessons of the pandemic help us become better versions of ourselves. More inclusive, more empathetic, and more united in our commitment to empower persons with disabilities everywhere, as right-holders and duty-bearers.

I hope that this summit will take us further along this path, together.

Thank you.