UN Committee to review the rights of persons with disabilities in Iraq – MRG’s submission
For the first time, the situation of persons with disabilities in Iraq will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its 22nd session, in September 2019. The Committee will assess Iraq’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, that the country has ratified in 2013.
Ahead of this review, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) has submitted an alternative report focussing on the challenges faced by persons with disabilities belonging to minority groups in Iraq, including Turkmen, Christians, Yezidis, Sabean-Mandaeans and Kaka’i.
The full report can be accessed here.
Recommendations to the Government of Iraq & the Kurdish Regional Government:
1. Institute simplified and realistic procedures for obtaining personal documentation for minorities with disabilities to ensure their access to social welfare, medical services and education.
2. Consider the needs of PWDs as part of the design of shelter facilities, humanitarian assistance programs and post-conflict reconstruction.
3. Intensify efforts and resources to meet the humanitarian needs of IDPs and returnees, including access to shelter, food and non-food aid, education and health care. This should include specific provision for persons with disabilities.
4. Increase provision of inclusive education that caters for the specific needs of PWDs within mainstream schools. This should include training teachers in inclusive education practice at all levels of education. Ensure that minority language schools offer these same provisions for PWDs. Dedicate resources to making school and higher education buildings physically accessible to PWDs with restricted mobility.
5. Increase the number of healthcare centres for PWDs and dedicated resources to ensuring that PWDs can access free or affordable healthcare.
6. Work to ensure the implementation of legislation and Ministerial Decisions on employment of PWDs in the private and public sectors. Ensure that PWD representation is not only symbolic within low ranking positions but across all levels of organizations, institutions and companies.
7. Simplify the procedures for registration for social funds for PWDs and increase fund amounts to reflect living and healthcare costs. Amend policies to ensure that women and girls with disabilities have equal access to social funds.
8. Increase and implement public awareness campaigns to counter stigma surrounding disabilities. Engage with PWD representative organizations as well as minority civil society organizations in the planning and implementation of these campaigns.
9. Implementation of all of these recommendations should be carried out in close consultation with and the meaningful participation of PWDs, including children with disabilities, and of their representative organizations, as well as minority civil society organizations promoting the rights of minority PWDs.
To the Kurdish Regional Government:
1. Reinstate registration for PWDs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and develop initiatives to target the psychological and physical healthcare needs of minority PWDs affected by conflict and displacement.