Israeli Energy and Water Resources Minister Karine Elharrar, who uses a wheelchair due to her muscle wasting, was reportedly denied access to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow because organizers would not allow her vehicle to enter the building.
Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar arrives for a group portrait with incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, outgoing President Reuvin Rivlin and her colleagues in the new government on June 14, 2021 in Jerusalem. (AP Photo / Maya Alleruzzo)
Elharrar waited outside the property for two hours. She was eventually offered a shuttle, which was not accessible to wheelchair users.
“I came to COP26 to meet with my colleagues around the world and promote a common fight in the climate crisis,” Elharrar wrote on Twitter. “It is sad that the UN, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, in 2021, does not provide accessibility to its events.”
The British Minister for the Environment, George Eustice, said the incident was the result of miscommunication, adding that the organizers “deeply regret that incident.”
“I know that at most of the other entrances there is wheelchair access. “It was because she came to an entrance where they did not have that support,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.
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Elharrar continued that the only way she could get in, “was to walk for nearly a mile or board a shuttle that was not wheelchair accessible.”
“The UN calls on everyone to act in accordance with the International Convention and to make places accessible, so that it is appropriate for its events to be accessible.” she told Ynetnews. “I sincerely hope that today’s lesson will be learned, so that tomorrow, promoting green energies, removing barriers and energy efficiency will be the only things I have to deal with.”
Elharrar successfully gained access to the summit on Tuesday along with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, It writes the Times of Israel.
When Bennet walked in, Bennet reportedly pointed to the ramp and assured her that “” tomorrow it will be exactly the same. ”
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