UN Supports Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Iraq

On 22-23 December, as part of its celebrations to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, together with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Iraqi Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and the NGO, the Iraqi Alliance for Disabilities Organization (IADO), organized a conference to discuss recommendations on how to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Iraq.


Iraq signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in January 2012, an encouraging step forward for the approximately 2.75 million Iraqis living with disabilities. As 2012 draws to a close, the next step for the Iraqi Government is implementation of the Convention. Participants of the conference came from a variety of backgrounds, from many areas of Iraq, to discuss how this international instrument can be best employed to benefit all Iraqis with special needs.


A series of presentations gave an insight into how it is to live as a disabled person in Iraq. Many of the conference participants shared stories of hardship, and limited access to basic and medical services. They also shared stories of success and achievement against the odds. Providing disabled persons with a forum to voice their stories is an important part of ensuring that their rights are respected.


With Governorate Council elections on the horizon, making the voices of citizens living with disabilities count on voting day, is also crucial, a fact underlined by the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Iraq in Development and Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Jacqueline Badcock. This issue is one of many that will be reflected in the final package of recommendations to come out of the conference.


Ms. Badcock told the audience that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities does not create more rights, or special rights, for people with disabilities – but establishes an agenda for action, for translating human rights concepts into realities.


To come up with this agenda for action, the participants broke up into groups to brainstorm ideas for implementing the Convention, in relation to both physical and intellectual disabilities.


At the close of the conference, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq, Mr. Francesco Motta, asked participants to raise their hands to endorse the recommendations tabled, and they were supported unanimously. The recommendations are now undergoing review by all partners in the conference. Once they are approved, they will be submitted to the Council of Representatives as concrete recommendations for action.

Last modified on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 14:13

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