Statement of the United Nations Resident Coordinator on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
03 December 2023
3 December 2023
As we mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), the United Nations in Iraq emphasizes its unwavering commitment to supporting the government and Iraqi society address the needs, rights, and aspirations of persons with disabilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by Iraq in 2013, shows Iraq’s own commitment to realizing the full rights of persons with disabilities.
It is estimated that approximately 12% of Iraq's population experience some form of disability. This figure rises to 18% among children. People with disabilities have been especially challenged by decades of armed conflicts, violence, and economic shocks. Disability exclusion is commonly overlooked problem in many societies, and achieving disability inclusion demands acknowledgment of the efforts of individuals with disabilities to actively participate in the economic and social facets of society.
The Government of Iraq, United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations, and civil society, are all working to address the barriers faced by people with disabilities. Our shared pledge is to ensure that no one is left behind. Guided by the principles entrenched in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we are steadfast in dismantling stereotypes, and championing accessibility by supporting quality education, promoting dignified employment opportunities, reducing inequalities, and nurturing sustainable communities.
Some simple steps that will lead to better access to job opportunities and social services for people with disabilities include:
- Creating awareness by increasing awareness of the needs and potential of individuals with disabilities, including children and young adults. Enhanced visibility is a key step that leads to greater participation in society by persons with disabilities and providing disability-friendly services and amenities.
- Empowering the Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) by bolstering their capacity and engaging them in consultative processes.
- Fostering cross-ministerial coordination and collaboration in service delivery and data management. This not only ensures the provision of services for Persons with Disabilities but also strengthens job creation initiatives.
Seven of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer to disability inclusion as part of the strategy to achieve a better world by 2030. As we celebrate the strength, diversity, and contributions of persons with disabilities, the United Nations will remain committed to supporting the government and civil society organizations in Iraq to promote disability inclusion across all domains.