Disabled Minister Says COP26 Lacks Wheelchair Access

Israel’s energy minister, Karine Elharrar, has said she was unable to attend the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow on Monday 1 November because transportation was not wheelchair accessible.

The Independent reports that UK environment secretary George Eustice has apologised to Elharrar, but suggested that the fault was with the Israeli government’s failure to communicate ‘particular’ access requirements.

Elharrar told Israel’s Channel 12 News that she was unable to reach the conference grounds because the only options available to get there from the gathering area were to walk or use a shuttle that was not suitable for wheelchairs.

She wrote on Twitter: “I came to COP26 to meet my counterparts in the world and advance our joint struggle against the climate crisis.

“It’s sad that the United Nations, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, in 2021 doesn’t worry about accessibility at its own events.”

She said she hoped a solution would be found by Tuesday but added that it is ‘impossible’ to worry about the future and the climate when people are unable to take care of ‘human beings, accessibility, and disabilities’.

Neil Wigan, the British ambassador to Israel, apologised for the mishap, saying on Twitter: “I apologise deeply and sincerely to the minister. We want a COP Summit that is welcoming and inclusive to everyone.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reported inviting Ms Elharrar to join a meeting with himself and Israeli PM Naftali Bennett on Tuesday 2 November.

The 12-day summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), which includes a 3,000-seat auditorium, 14,300-capacity arena and five exhibition and meeting spaces.


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