COP26: A disabled Israeli minister was unable to access it on Monday

The United Nations international conference began on Monday, November 1 in Glasgow, Scotland. That day, the Israeli energy minister, in a wheelchair, could not access due to her disability.

Karine Elharrar is Israel’s Minister of Energy and suffers from muscular dystrophy. Due to his condition, he uses a wheelchair, which prevented him from accessing the COP26 site on Monday. A fact that caused a scandal, questioning the accessibility of the international conference.

Two hours of waiting before finally having to return to your hotel.

On Monday, November 1, the Minister appeared in his vehicle at the entrance to the COP26 site. The organizers never wanted to adapt their guidelines to Karine Elharrar’s handicap, offering her two possibilities: walking more than a kilometer to get to the conference, or boarding the proposed shuttles, which do not have a system to accommodate wheelchairs. After more than two hours of waiting outside the compound, during which the Israeli prime minister’s office tried to negotiate his visit, he finally resigned himself to returning to his hotel in Edinburgh.

The Israeli minister reacted on social media: “ It is sad to see that the UN, which promotes equal access for people with disabilities, cannot, in 2021, guarantee accessibility to this event. ».

The problem solved in 24 hours, with apologies

While Naftali Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, threatened not to appear at the conference on Tuesday if his colleague could not do the same, Boris Johnson was quick to apologize: ” I think yesterday there was some confusion in the arrangements. I’m really, really sorry about this “However, the spokesman for the Israeli embassy in the United Kingdom replied that everyone was aware several weeks before the summit. For their part, the organizers of COP26 expressed themselves in a tweet:” this was a real mistake and we apologize for it. ».

On Tuesday, November 2, Karine Elharrar was able to attend COP26. He was able to meet with the British Prime Minister, who reiterated his apologies and discussed the production of green energy and the use of technology to limit the use of hydrocarbons with the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa. Naftali Bennett thanked her British counterpart for their ” quick response to this unfortunate incident “He continued saying”that this is an opportunity for all of us to understand the importance of accessibility for all“.

Britain has yet to learn about accessibility issues

At the same time as these events in Glasgow, TfL announced some good news at the beginning of the week: 51% of all its stations (Metro, Overground, DLR and Rail) are accessible to those who cannot use the stairs. A fact to clarify since in terms of metro stations, only 33% of them have access ” no steps »(Without steps). The problems encountered by the Israeli minister at COP26, therefore, highlight the systemic deficiencies in relation to accessibility for people with reduced mobility.

Regina Anderson

"Extreme gamer. Food geek. Internet buff. Alcohol expert. Passionate music specialist. Beeraholic. Incurable coffee fan."

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