From February 10-15, 2012 representatives of disabled peoples organizations (DPOs) from the Maghreb region of Africa met in Marrakech, Morocco to participate in a training on monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities using DRPI’s monitoring tools and training materials. DRPI Co-Director, Marcia Rioux and DRPI Research Associate, Paula Pinto were lead facilitators. The training that was hosted by Le Collectif de la Promotion des Droits des Personnes Handicapées of Morocco and Handicap International. Participants included key DPO leaders from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania who plan to establish disability rights monitoring projects in their own countries. They learned how to collect information about the individual experiences of persons with disabilities through in-person interviews; how to assess whether government laws, policies and programs are meeting human rights standards and how to obtain an indication of societal attitudes toward disability by examining the portray of disability and persons with disabilities in the media.
The training was preceded by a one-day seminar under the theme: “Bill nº 62-09, the new Constitution and the provisions of the CRPD: Which harmonization?”, organized by the Collectif and the Centre National pour les Droits Humains (CNDH). Attended by 100 participants from various government departments, CNDH members and NGOs, the Seminar was convened to debate the compliance of public policies in Morocco in the field of human rights with the provisions of the CRPD. Marcia Rioux addressed the Seminar with a presentation on the crucial role of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in monitoring the Convention.
Immediately following the training, a disability rights monitoring project began in Morocco.
Training participants drafted and signed the Déclaration de Marrakech de la Coalition Maghrebine des Organisations Nationale de Personnes Handicapées in which they pledge to work to improve the rights of persons with disabilities in the Maghreb region. The Declaration acts as a foundation for the Maghreb initiative coalition and signals the start of a regional group that will work toward the promotion of disability rights.