We are pleased to announce that on April 14, 2016, AlManarah was officially granted consultative status with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
ECOSOC is the first venue by which non-governmental organizations took a role in formal UN deliberations. Consultative status provides NGOs with access to ECOSOC, its many subsidiary bodies, to various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, and special events organized by the President of the General Assembly.
AlManarah began in 2005 as a grassroots project organization, rooted in the Arab society in Israel and based on a theory of change that disability rights will only be achieved when persons with disabilities are empowered to organize and advocate for themselves. This remains a central component of AlManarah's work, however over the last 5 years AlManarah has developed a substantial advocacy component as well- recognizing the importance of local and national decision makers in setting development priorities, and the importance of international bodies in influencing internal Israeli policies. Having consultative status will drastically improve AlManarah's ability to continue developing this vital component of the organization.
In addition to capitalizing on the resources and connections granted by ECOSOC consultative status, AlManarah will take an active role in raising the agenda of the disadvantaged communities especially persons with disabilities locally and internationally. We intend to contribute to the work of ECOSOC by participating in the annual session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Israel, which ratified the convention in 2012, will submit its State Party's Report to the treaty body this year and AlManarah will now be able to produce a shadow report on the disparities in CRPD implementation between the Jewish and the Arab populations. AlManarah will be able to present this report to civil society, governmental, and international stakeholders, and now the treaty body.
Abbass Abbass, the founder and Director of the organization says this is a historical moment for AlManarah to be part of the world community. “It is a result of two and a half years of intensive efforts of AlManarah through its EU sponsored advocacy projects including presenting of the position paper to the UN titled ‘The Doubly Discriminated,’ which describes the tough reality of people with disabilities in the Arab society in Israel.”