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A historically marginalized and overlooked segment of the general population worldwide, persons withdisabilities have long struggled with discrimination, inequality and even maltreatment. They have oftenbeen treated as societal outcasts and their disabilities treated as medical conditions that need to be"fixed" in order for the individual to join the rest of society. Throughout the last three decades, thisapproach has been steadily changing towards an inclusive model whereas persons with disabilities arerecognized as a protected group of citizens who are due the same complete human rights as thegeneral population. This change has become particularly evident with the United Nation's approval ofthe International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006. However, thestrides made by the approval of the CRPD are merely philosophical unless the rights recognized bythe Convention can be defended by a court of law. This is where the importance of the ratification of theCRPD by member and observer states comes into focus. By ratifying the treaty in 2008, Qatarcommitted itself to a number of social and legal obligations. However, implementation of the CRPD inQatar is dependent on a number of factors including political willingness, the abilities of the CRPD'sUnited Nations Follow-Up Committee, and the capacity to raise awareness among the public in Qatar.This paper looks into the traditional approaches taken towards persons with disabilities, the impact ofthe CRPD and the challenges faced by Qatar as it looks to implement the CRPD.
Disabilities, Qatar, United Nations, human rights, non-discrimination