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The promotion, protection and respect of rights of persons with disabilities in Iraq

Baghdad, 16 April 2021 – Ensuring equal access and full inclusion of persons with disabilities into Iraqi society was the focus of discussion at a Disability Inclusion Conference organized by Al Meezan Centre for the Rule of Law, with the support and participation of UNAMI HRO and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Thirty-eight participants, including representatives from civil society, the National Institute of Deaf and Blind Persons, and the Advisor to the President on Persons with Disabilities, Ms Amany Aljzaary, met virtually to discuss measures to strengthen the protection and full inclusion of all persons with disabilities in Iraq. Participants shared their experiences of promoting inclusion, discussed the applicable legal and policy framework, and identified challenges and solutions to ensuring inclusion and access for persons with disabilities. Mr Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also briefed participants on his Office’s mandate, its thematic priorities and opportunities for collaboration with civil society and NGOs.

The discussion highlighted the importance of an inclusive rights-based approach to disability, ensuring that persons with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of political, social, economic, educational, and cultural life. Participants agreed that it is essential for government institutions to proactively involve civil society organizations in the formulation of laws and policies, in order to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities are fully addressed, including during policy implementation. At the conclusion of the event, participants committed to engage with government bodies across Iraq to improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities, and to support the development of a human rights-based national disability inclusion strategy.

The event took place virtually in accordance with COVID-19 health protection measures.

Author: UNAMI Human Rights Office