Is the “Rights Model of Disability” Valid in Post-conflict Lebanon? A Participatory Pilot Survey in Beirut

Main Article Content

Nawaf Kabbara
Kozue Kay Nagata


Lebanon, development, rights


This paper views the process and outcome of constructing a “rights model of disability,” which is culturally specific to a war-torn, middle-income Arab country, Lebanon. The analysis was made from the perspective of human security and postconflict recovery and rehabilitation in a war-torn Arab country. The objective of this participatory research is to triangulate and co-validate the proposed rights model of disability through analysis of the collective views of Lebanese disabled people who took part in the participatory and interactive focus group, which took place in Beirut in August, 2007, after the civil conflict of Lebanon and partial destruction of Beirut and other towns/villages. The disabled participants were asked to express their individual views about several contentious issues, such as the social model vs. medical model debate, the diversity existing among different categories of disabled persons, the issue of tension and/or coalition among single-impairment and cross-impairment groups, the effectiveness of the current disability policy in Lebanon and the particularity in war-torn transitional Lebanon. The rights-based approach to disability inclusive development (cooperation) advocated by the co-authors are field-tested and co-validated and proved to be among the most appropriate approaches, through the personal disability experiences of Lebanese people.

Abstract 528 | PDF Downloads 154 Word Downloads 115 Text Downloads 110


Branfield, F. (1999). The disability measurement: A movement of disabled people: A response to Paul S. Duckett. Disability & Society 14(3), 399-403.

Christian Aid (2006). Lebanon’s new disabled, report of (2006, October 18). Electronic Lebanon. Available at

Greater London Action on Disability (GLAD) (2000, February). Reclaiming Social Model of Disability Conference, London, UK.

Hurst, R. (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Disability Tribune, September.

Kabbara, N. (2006). Disability Situation in Lebanon and the Arab World. Paper included in the annex 5 of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) sponsored study on disability approach in the Arab Islamic Country.

Kabbara, N. (2007, March). Monitoring Implementation of the Arab Decade of Disabled Persons 2004-2013 in the ESCWA Region. Paper submitted to the United Nations ESCWA, for the Committee on Social Development, 6th session, Amman, Jordan.

Karam, E (1998). The Grapes of Wrath, Institute for Development Research and Applied Care (IDRAC) Mental Health Research Programme 1996-1998.

Lebanon (2000), Law on Disabled Persons (220/2000) dated 25/9/2000, available in Arabic language only. Informal English version is available from Kabbara upon request.

United Nations. (2006), General Assembly Resolution A/RES/61/106, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and its Optional Protocol. United Nations. Retrieved January, 2008, from

United Nations (2007), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and its Optional Protocol, the List of Status of Signatories. United Nations. Retrieved January, 2008, from