Qatar 2022 organisers take part in global accessibility discussion with UNHRC

  • 7 months   ago
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) recently took part in the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s Sustainability Director, participated in a panel discussion that primarily focused on the rights of people with disabilities to have equitable access to all sports activities, facilities, and events.
 The President of the UNHRC H E Nazhat Shameem Khan chaired the session that went on for two hours. The session witnessed a series of video messages that discussed enabling persons with disabilities to participate in recreation, leisure, and sports on an equal basis. The Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN supported the SC’s participation in the event.
With less than two years to go until the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and the Arab world, Al Meer discussed many measures put in place to ensure the tournament offers what she expressed as “a safe, dignified and independent” experience for fans with disabilities and limited mobility.
“We are hard at work preparing for the event to be as accessible as possible. Our goal is for the event to be accessible for all people,” said Al Meer before mentioning the various touch points of a person’s journey, identified as part of the tournament’s accessibility plans.
Al Meer further elaborated that FIFA will allocate committed accessible seating for fans with disabilities or limited mobility at all stadiums. Once fans have purchased tickets, Al Meer mentioned how Qatar Airways has several accessibility services to support all travellers. She also pinpointed that the tournament organisers are in touch with the airline to ensure that passenger services are fully optimised during Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup to ensure a truly accessible experience for all the fans and players travelling from abroad.
Al Meer also made note of the availability of accessible accommodation saying that, “A range of accessible accommodation options are available, including accessible rooms at major international hotel chains, cabins on board moored cruise liners or apartment hotels.”
She further added that, “Once they’ve landed, fans will experience barrier-free access, accessible check-in counters, accessible washrooms, and specialised services, as well as a dedicated lounge. This is something that our stakeholders have been working hard to deliver – and will continue to refine.”
Al Meer ensured the audience that fans with disabilities would enjoy the compact nature of the tournament by making use of the Doha Metro, which boasts a fully accessible network across its 37 stations. 
Fans with disabilities, particularly wheelchair users, can also make use of a growing fleet of accessible taxis, made available around the clock by Mowasalat, the country’s national taxi service provider.
Regarding the accessibility features of the venues set to host matches during the tournament, Al Meer said: “The heart of the tournament – the stadiums – have all the necessary facilities for everyone to have a great experience. This includes getting to and from the stadium, watching the match from a comfortable seat, buying beverages, and something to eat. They also include assistance through specially trained staff and volunteers.”
The SC established an Accessibility Forum in 2016 to facilitate input and user testing from the disabled community in Qatar. “This forum is made up of 80 people from 25 different organisations and aims to ensure a seamless fan experience for people with disabilities during the tournament, through testing, evaluating, and consulting on plans before they are implemented to ensure the best outcomes,” said Al Meer.
As a result of ongoing consultations through the Accessibility Forum, Al Meer stated facts to improvements made through the provision of accessibility training to all-tournament volunteers, the upgrade of accessibility features at entertainment venues across the country, and the installation of sensory rooms in stadiums to provide a managed space for children with Autism.
Al Meer concluded by saying that, “The pace of development across Qatar is truly remarkable, and our National Vision guides it for 2030, which sets out a blueprint for where we aim to be in just under ten years. This includes making sure that people with disabilities are fully integrated and active participants across all aspects of society.”