Karine Elharrar, Israel's Energy Minister, Couldn't Attend COP26 Events in Her Wheelchair

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World|Israel’s vigor curate could not entree Monday talks successful her wheelchair.


Karine Elharrar, the Israeli curate  of energy, earlier  a gathering  with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain connected  Tuesday. Mr. Johnson apologized for the deficiency  of wheelchair access. 
Credit...Pool photograph by Alberto Pezzali

Daniel Victor

  • Nov. 2, 2021, 12:43 p.m. ET

British officials, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and COP26 organizers person apologized to Israel’s vigor curate aft she was incapable to be Monday’s events due to the fact that she could not entree the venue successful her wheelchair.

Karine Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy, arrived astatine 1 of the entrances to the event’s compound but her conveyance was not allowed to enter, and the remaining region was excessively acold for her to spell successful her wheelchair, she told Israeli media. She waited for 2 hours and was yet offered a shuttle to the site, but the shuttle was not wheelchair accessible, she said.

“I came to COP26 to conscionable my counterparts successful the satellite and beforehand our associated conflict against the clime crisis,” Ms. Elharrar wrote connected Twitter. “It’s bittersweet that the United Nations, which promotes accessibility for radical with disabilities, successful 2021 doesn’t interest astir accessibility astatine its ain events.”

Others successful wheelchairs person successfully gained entree to the league facilities, which see elevators, ramps and accessible bathrooms, and Ms. Elharrar was successful attendance connected Tuesday.

George Eustice, Britain’s situation secretary, said successful an interrogation connected BBC Radio 4 that “most of the different entrances” had wheelchair access, but the peculiar entranceway Ms. Elharrar arrived astatine connected Monday was not prepared for her.

“It was due to the fact that she came to an entranceway wherever they didn’t person that provision,” helium said. “But we evidently profoundly regret that that was the case, and enactment should person been taken to benignant that out.”

COP26 organizers wrote connected Twitter that Ms. Elharrar’s acquisition was “a genuine mistake and we person apologized for that.” The lawsuit “must beryllium inclusive and accessible to each and the venue is designed to facilitate that,” the organizers wrote.

Mr. Johnson personally apologized to Ms. Elharrar astatine a gathering connected Tuesday, according to the Times of Israel.

“I stitchery determination was immoderate disorder with the arrangements yesterday,” Mr. Johnson told her, according to the newspaper. “I americium very, precise atrocious astir that.”

Other apologies came from Neil Wigan, the British ambassador to Israel, and James Cleverly, the overseas bureau curate for the Middle East and North Africa.

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