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Committee on the Rights of Persons with disabilities considers the Report of Oman

Committee on the Rights of Persons
  with Disabilities

21 February 2018


The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Oman on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Presenting the report, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Said Bin Saif Al-Kalbani, Minister of Social Development of Oman, said that the Ministry of Social Development, which was entrusted with the implementation of the Convention, had attached great importance to the elaboration of the initial report, ensuring that it represented the views of governmental and non-governmental bodies.  The Ministry of Social Development had worked on the preparation of the Social Action Strategy (2016-2025), which included an integrated focus on the rights of persons with disabilities, whereas in 2014 the Ministry of Health had established an overview of the health system in the country until 2050, ensuring the health rights of persons with disabilities in all aspects.  At the legislative level, the Government had worked to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities were enshrined in many laws, such as the law guaranteeing the right to vote and stand for election to the Shura Council without discrimination on the grounds of disability, and the new Penal Code which stipulated an explicit penalty for the rape of girls with disabilities, and protected children with disabilities from “honour crimes.”  Oman had also worked to expand rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities across all provinces.  As for challenges in the implementation of the Convention, the Minister pointed out to the early detection and diagnosis of disability, the lack of personnel working in the field of disability, data collection, and financial resources.

The Human Rights Commission of Oman noted that despite undeniable progress in Oman, it was crucial to improve the current status of persons with disabilities and to ensure their access to education, employment and awareness of the available facilities.  Unfortunately, cultural and traditional understandings of disability still caused challenges.  Accordingly, the Human Rights Commission recommended a more intensive promotion of education and awareness raising programmes.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts commended Oman for having adopted the Care and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Act of 2008, and for having established the Directorate General for Persons with Disabilities, and the National Committee for the Care of Persons with Disabilities.  Nonetheless, they noted that discrimination based on disability was not defined or prohibited, and that disability was approached from a medical point of view.  Discriminatory practices and derogatory language still persisted, they observed.  Experts also highlighted persistent violence against women and girls with disabilities, widespread female genital mutilation and “honour” crimes, infanticide of children with disabilities, the low school attendance rate and high illiteracy rate among girls with disabilities, reasonable accommodation, accessibility of information, mainstreaming of the provisions of the Convention, and welfare services for persons with disabilities.  Other issues raised included the participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making, the design of policies and their monitoring, complaint mechanisms, training on disability for public servants, judicial and medical professionals, access to justice, independent living schemes, legal capacity, the inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction plans and the Sustainable Development Goals, the right to work, inclusive education, the provision of health and welfare services, voting accessibility, and the status of sign language and Braille.

In his concluding remarks, Minister Al-Kalbani noted that Oman had experienced a qualitative leap in terms of support services provided to persons with disabilities, adding that it would continue to strive to provide the best possible services.

Abdulla Nasser Al Rahbi, Head of the Minister of Social Development’s office, expressed thanks for the technical questions posed by the Committee Experts, noting that some treaty bodies sometimes asked politicized questions, but not this Committee.  The journey to implement human rights was not an easy one, but the Government of Oman was willing to be at its forefront.

The National Human Rights Commission of Oman highlighted that the constant progress in the laws and services provided to persons with disabilities was reassuring.  The Commission aimed to detect any abuses of human rights and its doors were open 24 hours a day to monitor any complaints.  

Danlami Umaru Basharu, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Oman, thanked the delegation for the constructive and frank dialogue, expressing hope that it would be the beginning of a new positive transformation in the lives of persons with disabilities in Oman.  He noted that consultations with persons with disabilities should not be merely stated on paper, but should truly reflect their yearnings and aspirations.  It was clear that education was a key concern for Oman as many children with disabilities did not have access to education, especially in rural areas.

Theresia Degener, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and civil society from Oman for the comprehensive information provided, expressing hope that the Convention would be better implemented in the country.

The delegation of Oman included representatives of the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Manpower, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and of the Permanent Mission of Oman to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to consider the initial report of Sudan (CRPD/C/SDN/1).

Report

The initial report of Oman can be read here: CRPD/C/OMN/1.

Presentation of Report

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN SAID BIN SAIF AL-KALBANI, Minister of Social Development of Oman, reiterated his country’s firm and continuous commitment to support human rights issues in general, and the rights of persons with disabilities in particular.  The Ministry of Social Development, which was entrusted with the implementation of the Convention, had attached great importance to the elaboration of the initial report and it had worked to ensure that the report comprised the views of governmental and non-governmental bodies.  The elaboration of the report had coincided with structural changes introduced by the Ministry of Social Development in 2011 and 2012 aimed at reinforcing the rights of persons with disabilities by the establishment of a Directorate General for Persons with Disabilities.  That major change had required the re-arrangement of departments, specialized units and centres dedicated to the training and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, putting the supervision of the Al-Wafa voluntary social centres under the Ministry rather than the private sector.  Oman was one of the leading Arab countries that had contributed to the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and it was one of the first to ratify it in 2008.  Oman had proceeded from the welfare to the development and human rights-based approach to disability.

At the policy level, the eighth five-year plan (2011-2015) and the ninth five-year plan (2016-2020) had adopted major orientations on the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities in various sectors.  The Ministry of Social Development had worked on the preparation of the Social Action Strategy (2016-2025), which included an integrated focus on the rights of persons with disabilities.  In 2014 the Ministry of Health had established an overview of the health system in the country until 2050, ensuring the health rights of persons with disabilities in all aspects.  At the legislative level, the Government had worked to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities were enshrined in a number of laws, such as the law guaranteeing the right to vote and stand for election to the Shura Council without discrimination on the grounds of disability, and the new Penal Code which stipulated an explicit penalty for the rape of girls with disabilities, and protected children with disabilities from “honour crimes.”  At the level of rehabilitation programmes, Oman had worked to expand rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in all provinces.

With respect to equal opportunities, and affirmative action in education, employment and economic participation, Oman had allocated full scholarships in higher education and had established mechanisms to support persons with disabilities in the economic field.  It had also introduced vocational training centres, and worked on increasing the number of senior positions for persons with disabilities.  At the level of accessibility, Oman had approved the preparation of the Geometrical Specifications for the Integrated Environment for Persons with Disabilities, carried out necessary training, and organized a conference on access to information and communication technology for persons with disabilities in December 2017.  The Minister noted that the most fundamental challenges for Oman were early detection and diagnosis of disability, the lack of personnel working in the field of disability, data collection, and financial resources.

Human Rights Commission of Oman commended the efforts of the Government to establish a national committee which focused on the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  It also commended the Government for having provided a platform for consultation for all concerned stakeholders for the drafting of a bill that focused on the rights of persons with disabilities.  Furthermore, the Government had formulated an action plan in which it articulated efforts to further promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities.  Despite undeniable progress in Oman, it was crucial to improve the current status of persons with disabilities and to ensure their access to education, employment and awareness of the available facilities.  Unfortunately, cultural and traditional understandings of disability still caused challenges.  Accordingly, the Human Rights Commission recommended a more intensive promotion of education and awareness raising programmes.

Questions by Committee Experts

DANLAMI UMARU BASHARU, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Oman, welcomed the submission of the report by the Human Rights Commission of Oman, and the submissions of civil society.  He commended the Government for having put in place laws and practical mechanisms and programmes to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including the adoption of the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled Persons Act of 2008, and the establishment of the Directorate General for Persons with Disabilities, and the National Committee for the Care of Persons with Disabilities.

Nevertheless, Mr. Basharu noted that discrimination based on disability was not defined or prohibited, and that disability was approached from a medical point of view. Discriminatory practices against persons with disabilities and derogatory language still existed.  Sign language was yet to be recognized.

Violence against women and girls with disabilities persisted, and there was no specific law to deal with that violence, to lodge complaints, obtain reparation, ensure protection from perpetrators, and access palliative care.  The participation of women with disabilities in political and public life was very low, and they were absent from various programmes, policies and laws related to their advancement, Mr. Basharu noted.  Female genital mutilation was widespread and “honour” crimes still abounded.

Many girls with disabilities had no possibility of attending school because of the ignorance of parents and their fear that they might be abused.  It was, therefore, necessary to raise awareness about the Convention and the rights of persons with disabilities to counter negative perceptions of disability.  There was a large percentage of illiteracy among persons with disabilities in Oman, with almost 75 per cent of them illiterate.  Unfortunately, women represented the bulk of that number.  

Experts asked about the measures to prevent infanticide of children with disabilities by their mothers. They inquired about legal provisions on reasonable accommodation.

What measures had been adopted to ensure accessibility to information and communication, in particular for persons with intellectual disabilities, and sign language interpretation?

How was accessibility of temporary shelters for children ensured?  How many persons had attended training on accessibility and how often was that training repeated?  

Experts further inquired about the mainstreaming of the provisions of the Convention across legislation, and about the number of persons with disabilities in Oman.  The officially cited figure was 3.2 per cent, whereas it was believed that it was actually 10 per cent.  How was full social integration ensured for girls and boys with intellectual disabilities?

Was there a law that punished discrimination in general?  When would discrimination based on disability be included?

When would the Government start awareness-raising efforts to counter the rejection of disability?

The prevention of disability fell outside the scope of the Convention, Experts noted.  Was there a mechanism of registration of associations of women and girls with disabilities?  Was there a permanent forum in which the Government could consult them?  What was the mechanism to deal with complaints from persons with disabilities?

There was a lack of reference to the intersectional discrimination of women and girls with disabilities.  Were they economically empowered?  What had the State party done to ensure access to early intervention services for children with disabilities?

While welfare services for persons with disabilities were welcomed, they lacked measures to combat the negative impact of discrimination.  To what extent had the Government taken measures to systematically involve the active participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making, and the design of policies and their monitoring?

What awareness-raising campaigns on the Convention had taken place in Oman?  Were persons with disabilities involved in those initiatives?

To what extent did public servants listen to children with disabilities regarding their needs?  How did the State party prevent paternalistic approaches to disability?  What assistive technologies were available to the deaf and hard of hearing persons?

Had any steps been taken to transpose disability issues from the medical model to the human rights-based approach?  Were there specific sanctions imposed on those who failed to respect accessibility standards?

Were there any programmes on accessibility to information and communication technologies?  Was accessibility and universal design part of the mandatory curriculum for architects?

DANLAMI UMARU BASHARU, Committee Exert and Rapporteur for Oman, asked about the measures adopted to combat multiple discrimination of women and girls with disabilities, and harmful practices.

What complaint mechanisms existed for people with disabilities who felt that their rights had been violated?  How were persons with disabilities organized in Oman?

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, inquired whether the prevention of disability and impairment was in line with the Convention.    
 
Replies by the Delegation

The delegation stated that the Government was obliged to protect children from all crimes, including sexual harassment, trafficking in organs, prostitution, pornography, slavery, drugs and alcohol.  As for infanticide, the Penal Code incriminated a woman who killed her child, regardless of whether it was a child with disabilities or not.  Any child that fell victim to any sort of violence and abuse was rehabilitated.  Hotlines were introduced to report any form of abuse or violence experienced by children with disabilities.

Oman had seen great qualitative and quantitative progress in the health services provided to persons with disabilities.  A national programme had been established in 1987 related to prenatal care to detect disability in children early.  The health of pregnant women was monitored through the national programme and pre-marriage screening.  Marriage between relatives was a common occurrence in Oman and as such, a fertile ground for genetic disorders.  Oman had addressed mental disabilities in a manner that was not restricted to childhood only, but also encompassed adolescence and later stages in life.

On reasonable accommodation and accessibility standards, the delegation noted that international standards had been applied in all major airports.  Architectural codes were applied and training was provided to engineers.  The authorities tried to overcome problems related to accessibility.  Almost all websites of ministries had launched an audio system to facilitate the browsing of pages.

Sign language was an officially recognized language in Oman; it was used in courts, municipal council meetings, and during elections.  Many television programmes were interpreted in sign language.  There was also a specialized institute providing training in sign language.    

The Ministry of Education was establishing schools in rural areas, and it advertised the enrolment in school.  Schools were adjusted to the prevalent type of disability.  Assistants were appointed to accompany girls with disabilities on buses transporting them to school.  Schools were equipped with advanced electronic devices to ensure accessibility of information for students with disabilities.  However, teachers were not trained in sign language.  Their training was under way in cooperation with UNICEF.

Awareness-raising campaigns about the needs of persons with disabilities were organized in schools, with the participation of persons with disabilities.  The Government and private enterprises had to have a quota for persons with disabilities to ensure their active participation in public life.  Organizations of persons with disabilities were involved in the drafting of laws and decision-making processes.

As for the question about the measures to incorporate the provisions of the Convention into national legislation, the delegation stressed that the Convention was part and parcel of national law.  The Ministry of Legal Affairs was the body competent to review draft laws.  All the provisions of the Convention were directly applicable by courts.

On discrimination and violence against women and girls with disabilities, the authorities had tried to raise awareness about that issue.  The new Criminal Code stipulated a punishment of three to five years for any assault on victims under the age of 15 and with disabilities.  Victims were provided with care and rehabilitation services.  The Anti-Trafficking Law criminalized the exploitation of women for prostitution or sexual abuse, and all forms of trafficking in women.

Oman had adopted a human rights-based perspective of disability.  That approach focused on empowering the families of persons with disabilities on the basis of scientific knowledge.  The definition of disability had been adopted before the ratification of the Convention.  Legislators tried to move closer to the definition contained in the Convention.  The authorities were preparing to conduct a census in 2020 and would use the latest methodologies to identify the number of persons with disabilities.    

Questions by Committee Experts

DANLAMI UMARU BASHARU, Committee Exert and Rapporteur for Oman, asked about training provided to judicial personnel to meet the different needs of persons with disabilities.

Had legally binding decisions been adopted to ensure access to justice for persons with disabilities?

Did deaf persons receive sign language services in court proceedings and when detained by the police?  Was assistance provided to persons with mental disabilities?  Were they involved in decisions that affected their well-being?

What were the measures to ensure living independently schemes?  Was independent living promoted in Oman?  Did persons with disabilities have the right to receive personalized assistance?  

The Disability Act of 2008 did not make any reference to legal capacity and, as a result, those rights were not reserved.  There was no departure from guardianship and supported decision-making, Experts observed.  What was being done to rectify that situation?  Was there any recourse to legal assistance for persons with disabilities?

Were persons with disabilities fit to stand for trial?  What kind of support did they receive for a fair trial?  What plans did the State party have to ensure equal recognition before law for persons with psycho-social disabilities?

How many persons with disabilities lived in institutions?  What measures were in place to deinstitutionalize them?  What legislative and administrative measures had been adopted to ensure that no person was forcefully institutionalized on the basis of disability?  

How did the State party circulate information about disaster risk preparedness to persons with disabilities?  Were there any measures that ensured protection and support for persons with disabilities in emergencies?

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, inquired about measures to combat sexual and domestic violence against women and girls with disabilities.

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation stated that all the laws guaranteed all rights to persons with disabilities.  They could resort to courts if they were subjected to discrimination, violence, abuse or exploitation.  There were no “honour” crimes in Oman.  The Penal Code no longer referred to such crimes.  The legal capacity of persons with disabilities was contained in national laws and there were guarantees for equality before the law for all persons.  The Civil Procedure Law emphasized that right and stipulated that the age of majority and marriage was 18.  There were no laws that limited legal capacity for persons with disabilities in any area of life.  There was no contradiction between the Civil Procedure Law and the Constitution when it came to guardianship.

All citizens enjoyed equal access to justice, while persons with disabilities were assisted in their access to justice, and they were exempted from certain costs.  Interpreters were available in mother tongues other than Arabic.  Tribunals had to take statements of persons with disabilities through the services of interpreters.  Special assistance was provided throughout the judicial procedure.  The Ministry for Social Development along with the United Nations Children’s Fund had organized workshops to raise awareness among those working in the judicial sector on relevant legislative developments.

As for health services provided to persons with disabilities, one of the important recent achievements in Oman was the inclusion of mental health services in primary healthcare in 2008.  That was part and parcel of the expansion of mental health care services and making them more accessible to the public.  Those services covered not only adults, but children as well.  In the past, Oman’s health system covered only one per cent of children with mental health issues.  Services were moved to schools to identify those children and adolescents with mental health issues at an early stage.  There was a good cooperation among Government services in order to provide services to all age groups.

Oman had been keen to provide early detection, prevention and rehabilitation of disability.  That was the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Development, which had centres tasked to receive children with disabilities at an early age.  The Ministry’s philosophy was based on early detection in order to design training programmes for affected persons.

In terms of independent living, Oman provided monthly pensions to more than 13,000 cases.  Some 36,000 persons with disabilities received disability cards to benefit from services, such as medical cost exemptions, driving license cost exemptions, help in finding housing and furniture, favourable loans, reduction for airplane tickets and assistive devices, high-speed Internet, parking spots, and one-stop shop facilities in several Government agencies.  The architecture of hospital facilities was designed to be friendly to persons with disabilities.

The Ministry of Social Development had started a pilot training for sign language interpreters.  A large number of persons had benefited from that programme.  The next step, in cooperation with Oman’s Association for Persons with Hearing Disabilities, was to issue legislation that organized the preparation of sign language interpreters for receiving their licenses.  The Ministry of Social Development had coordinated work on the accreditation of sign language interpreters, and their inclusion in judicial processes.

There were IT companies in Oman that provided visual communication to persons with disabilities.

The Ministry of Social Development was a member of the National Committee for Civil Defense, which was in charge of providing suitable shelters for persons with disabilities in case of disasters.  Sign language interpreters were involved in all the steps of preparation for disasters.

Day services were provided to persons with disabilities and there was no permanent institutionalization.  Specialized services and intensive rehabilitation was provided to persons with disabilities in those institutions, after which concerned persons returned home.  Oman did not have shelters for persons with disabilities.

In terms of illiteracy, 14.1 per cent of the total population was illiterate in Oman, out of which 56 per cent were persons with disabilities.  Most among them were women, which reflected the social preference to educate men rather than women.  The country had made an effort to promote the use of Braille and to translate important documents on the rights of persons with disabilities in Braille.  

Turning to domestic violence, the delegation stressed that violence in all its forms was addressed through the judicial system.  The Ministry of Social Development had developed practices in case of violence, such as a hotline service.  There were also protection committees in all the governorates of the Sultanate, as well as reconciliation committees.  Victims were removed from their families and placed in an institution until an appropriate solution was found.  

Questions by Committee Experts

A Committee Expert commended the progress achieved by Oman to promote the right of persons with disabilities to work.  Could persons with disabilities be treated on an equal footing with others on the basis of competence?  

Experts also inquired about concrete references to inclusive education.  Comprehensive figures on children with disabilities in inclusive education were requested?  Could children with disabilities access inclusive education in each community?  Were textbooks in Braille provided to students?

What was the number of persons with disabilities who had graduated from universities in the past five years?  How was inclusive education understood in Oman?  What concrete measures did Oman plan to decrease the illiteracy rate among women with disabilities?

What was the number of persons with disabilities serving in Parliament?  What efforts had been made to develop the artistic potential of persons with disabilities?  What efforts had been made to develop disaggregated data on disability?

How did the Government include disability issues in the plans to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?  What was the number of persons with disabilities who had used the self-employment funds?  

What was the legal status of Braille?  How were public broadcasters obliged to provide accessible formats of communication?  How many hours of sign language broadcasting were there?  Had Oman ratified the Marrakesh Treaty?

Was information about healthcare available in accessible formats of communication?  Was there any training for medical professionals on the rights of persons with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities?  Was voting available in accessible formats and Braille?

What support was available to couples with disabilities to enable them to live independently, particularly when they did not have a sustainable income?  Was Oman engaged in sports, cultural and tourism activities for persons with disabilities?

How did Government departments monitor the implementation of the Convention?  Were persons with disabilities involved in such monitoring through their organizations?

DANLAMI UMARU BASHARU, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Oman, asked about measures to address the low level of employment of persons with disabilities, in particular of women with disabilities, and the compensation for domestic workers in the kafala system.  What measures were in place to address the shortcomings with respect to the absence of secrecy of voting?

How were members of the National Human Rights Commission appointed and what kinds of powers did it have?  What were the areas where Oman needed to step up its efforts?  

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation clarified that Oman had achieved remarkable success in providing services to persons with visual impairment, as evidenced by the World Health Organization certificate in 2012.  It had developed a programme to identify visual impairments in schools, and it had created services to detect cataract among the elderly.  State health services were operating under a presumption that the number of prosthetics users would grow.   Accordingly, the Government was working with civil society to create training for medical specialists and technicians, as well as families of persons with disabilities. Couples with disabilities could benefit from social assistance and housing support.

In terms of employment of persons with disabilities, there were positions announced in the public services exclusively for persons with disabilities.  Other positions were advertised solely on the basis of competence.  The Ministry of Labour was studying the barriers to the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector, and it had developed programmes to help them carry out tasks in the private sectors.  Managers of businesses had to set aside a certain quota for persons with disabilities and assist them in finding employment compatible with their situation.  Persons with disabilities had quotas in vocational training centres.  Improvements had also been made with respect to the register of persons with disabilities looking for work.

As for data collection, university associations and the Government had conducted studies on all aspects of life of persons with disabilities to better understand their needs.  Research carried out in the country was not uniform; rather, it aimed to take the authorities in an innovative direction.  The Ministry of Social Development had a strategy to set up a national register of persons with disabilities, which would also include services provided to them.  The register allowed the authorities to know how those services were delivered and distributed.

As for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, the Government was taking stock of what would be required to ratify the treaty, and it was making efforts to develop the use of its provisions in Oman.

The Education Council had issued a document for the drawing up of educational policies. Inclusive education was understood as full or partial integration of students in regular schools and school activities.  The integration began in 2005-2006.  The Gulf University was the only university that accepted deaf students.  Braille textbooks were published at a specialized centre.  Those textbooks were reviewed on an annual basis.

As for the measures to combat illiteracy, Oman had ratified the Arab Compact to achieve full literacy by 2024. Training was provided on a yearly basis and at the beginning of the school year to all teachers on disabilities.  However, the training period could be too short.  There was a joint project between the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Ministry of Education on integrated education aimed at training teachers in regular schools on how to deal with children with disabilities.

The Election Law to the Shura Council did not discriminate against persons with disabilities.  Their right to stand for election was guaranteed.  As for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the national plan on the Sustainable Development Goals, they were de facto included in all Government strategies.

The Constitution of Oman stipulated that any international treaty ratified by the country was automatically incorporated in national law.  Accordingly, there was no need for special laws to recognize sign language and Braille.  Sign language learning was open to all, and it had become very popular.  The main news bulletin on the national television, which lasted for an hour, was also broadcast in sign language.

As for the secrecy of vote, support was provided to persons with disabilities to vote and no one interfered in their freedom to select a candidate.  The Ministry of the Interior was working to make voting polls more accessible.

In terms of sports, cultural and leisure activities for persons with disabilities, the Government had hosted many sporting events for persons with disabilities, and it was making efforts to promote their participation in various sports, despite some challenges in relation to the availability of facilities.  There were many talented persons with disabilities in the area of arts and music, and they were supported.      

Turning to the employment projects for persons with disabilities, the delegation said that some programmes were developed by the private sector to allow persons with disabilities to undertake internships.  Others were joint Government programmes aimed at teaching basic skills to students.  The Constitution explicitly stipulated that no one could be subjected to ill-treatment.  Any complaint by domestic workers was addressed by the Ministry of Labour in line with the Labour Act.

Turning to the question about the recruitment mechanism for the National Human Rights Commission, the delegation stressed that human rights issues were of significant importance in Oman.  The transposition of international human rights instruments was carried out through the National Human Rights Commission, under the auspices of the Government.  The Commission consisted of 14 members, including the chair and the vice-chair.  The latter two were recruited on the basis of a royal decree.  Members represented various groups of society, including civil society and Government agencies.

Concluding Remarks
 
SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN SAID BIN SAIF AL-KALBANI, Minister of Social Development of Oman, noted that the country had experienced a qualitative leap in terms of support services provided to persons with disabilities, adding that it would continue to strive to provide the best possible services.

ABDULLA NASSER Al RAHBI, Head of the Minister of Social Development’s office, expressed thanks for the technical questions posed by the Committee Experts.  Some treaty bodies sometimes asked politicized questions, but that was not the case with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The journey to implement human rights was not an easy one, but the Government of Oman was willing to be at its forefront.

National Human Rights Commission of Oman stated that the dialogue had been objective.  The constant progress in the laws and services provided to persons with disabilities was reassuring.  The Commission aimed to detect any abuses of human rights and its doors were open 24 hours a day to monitor any complaints.  The Commission could directly intervene in cases involving women and children with disabilities.  Since its establishment in 2008, the Commission had treated 17 complaints.  

DANLAMI UMARU BASHARU, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Oman, thanked the delegation for the constructive and frank dialogue, expressing hope that it would be the beginning of a new positive transformation in the lives of persons with disabilities in Oman.  He noted that consultations with persons with disabilities should not be merely stated on paper, but should truly reflect their yearnings and aspirations.  It was clear that education was a key concern for Oman as many children with disabilities did not have access to education, especially in rural areas.  Oman should invest significant budget resources in promoting inclusive education, full access to employment, health services and social protection for persons with disabilities.

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and civil society from Oman for the comprehensive information provided, expressing hope that the Convention would be better implemented in the country.
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