Iraq has one of the largest populations of persons with disabilities in the world. Persons with disabilities in Iraq have been disproportionately impacted by the decades of war, armed conflict, terrorism, violence and economic hardship. In June 2019, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General launched the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS). The UNDIS is a policy with two accountability frameworks; an accountability framework for entities and an accountability scorecard for UN Country Teams. In December 2019, IOM Iraq launched the IOM Iraq Disability Inclusion Strategy 2019–2021. The strategy sought to ensure that persons with disabilities are equitably included and consulted so their requirements are identified and met in IOM Iraq activities, using a rights-based approach.
In 2020 and 2021, the IOM Iraq Disability Inclusion Strategy enabled IOM to highlight its commitment to the inclusion of migrants with disabilities, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees with disabilities, and host community members with disabilities in IOM programming. During that time, IOM established strong foundations in disability inclusion including mapping; collaborating and consulting with Organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs); working towards accessible construction; developing contextualized guidance for staff; and building an evidence base.3 IOM has made progress in reducing the barriers persons with disabilities experience in accessing IOM programming, but there is much more to do, and we recognized that every staff member at IOM Iraq has a role to play in this collective effort.