A BACKLASH from Bahrain has forced organisers of a regional seminar to remove a document that listed the country among war-torn Arab states with a rising number of disabilities from armed conflicts.
The Arab Labour Organisation (ALO) has removed the presentation in which the claim was made by Arab Organisation for People with Disability general manager Jehda Abu Khaleel.
She listed Bahrain alongside Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in a paper at the event in Beirut earlier this month.
The ALO decision follows objections from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), as well as the Bahrain Free Labour Unions Federation (Al Hurr).
“The presentation was misleading, inappropriate and not based on facts and was intentionally targeting Bahrain,” BCCI chairman Sameer Nass told the GDN.
“We are glad that the ALO officials, upon our demand, not only removed Bahrain’s name from the list of countries mentioned, but also removed the entire paper from the records of the seminar.
“We appreciate their understanding and urge all regional and international organisations and experts to contact Bahraini officials for any feedback on the country.
“Basing their understanding on unconfirmed and unofficial sources will harm the country and its progress.”
BCCI board member Sonya Janahi, who was present at the event when the claims were made, earlier told the GDN she was denied a chance to refute the remarks.
“The paper was far from reality and it can damage the country’s reputation,” added Mr Nass.
“Bahrain aspires to become a friendly country for persons with disabilities by 2030, through a series of ambitious actions by the ministries and related bodies.
“The proportion of persons with disabilities in Bahrain is a small percentage, it does not exceed two per cent of the total population.
“The Labour and Social Development Ministry pays great attention to the care of persons with disabilities.”
He added this was bolstered by support of the private sector, as well as other non-government bodies.
“The private sector, civil society and private institutions are all engaged in providing various kinds of care for persons with disabilities from social, health and cultural care to rehabilitation and training for their integration into society,” he said.