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Wheelchair-using Israeli Energy Minister excluded from climate summit

Energy Minister Karine Elharrar is in Glasgow, but hasn’t been able to enter the venue of the UN climate summit because it is inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

For two hours, organizers refused to let her enter the large compound in the vehicle in which she arrived, and they eventually offered a shuttle that would transport her to the summit area.

The problem is that the shuttle vehicle isn’t wheelchair-accessible. So Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy, remained stuck outside of the climate summit for the whole day.

She has returned to her hotel in Edinburgh after organizers refused to let her enter in any other way.

Energy Minister Karine Elharrar slams the “scandalous” behavior of the organizers of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, after she was unable to enter the compound for an entire day, due to wheelchair inaccessibility issues.

“This is scandalous conduct and it shouldn’t have happened,” Elharrar tells the Ynet news site. “I came with certain goals and I couldn’t achieve them today.”

“The UN calls on everyone to adhere to the international treaty,” Elharrar says, presumable referring to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“So it is appropriate for there to be accessibility at its events.”

Elharrar’s Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, the foreign minister, says: “It is impossible to take care of the future, the climate, and sustainability if we don’t first take care of people, accessibility, and people with disabilities.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken with Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and told her it is “unacceptable” that she was left out of the COP26 climate summit for an entire day due to wheelchair inaccessibility, the premier’s office says.

Bennett has decided that tomorrow, Elharrar’s vehicle will arrive at the summit area as part of the prime minister’s official convoy and thus will be allowed in.

UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan tweets that he is “disturbed” by Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar being excluded from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, over wheelchair inaccessibility.

“I apologize deeply and sincerely to the minister. We want a COP Summit that is welcoming and inclusive to everyone,” Wigan says.

Source: TOI