Challenges and Priorities for Persons with Disabilities in Iraq Outlined in New IOM Report
30 March 2021
Persons with disabilities have enormous potential to contribute to economies and societies
Baghdad — Persons with disabilities have enormous potential to contribute to economies and societies, and can bring determination, innovation, and energy, among other qualities, to their workplaces and communities. In Iraq however, people with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by armed conflict and economic hardship and continue to face significant barriers to their full and equal inclusion. Moreover, despite Iraq having one of the largest populations of persons with disabilities in the world, there has been little consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative groups by government and humanitarian and development agencies.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has prepared a new report, Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in Iraq: Barriers, challenges and priorities, to shed light on the perspectives of persons with disabili¬ties in Iraq. The report draws upon interviews conducted with 81 representatives of 53 Organiza¬tions of persons with disabilities across 18 governorates and identifies concrete actions that stakeholders such as the Government of Iraq, United Nations agencies, national and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must take to address the barriers experienced by persons with disabilities, including responses to the key challenges and priorities of their representative organisations.
“We are glad that persons with disabilities from different regions of Iraq contributed to this report, which clearly recognizes the international slogan 'Nothing about us without us’. We look forward to having the findings of this report considered by decision-makers, the government of Iraq, donors, international organization, civil society, lawmakers in order to empower and better include persons with disabilities.” Said Mwafaq Al-Khafaji – Head of Iraqi Alliance Of Disability (IADO).
“This report and the consultations that informed it aim to improve our understanding of the barriers experienced by persons with disabilities, including the key challenges and priorities of their rep¬resentative organizations, in order to inform our programming,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “It centres their unique perspectives, since there is no one better qualified to provide information on the barriers they experience than persons with disabilities themselves and the organizations that represent them.”
“We all have a role to play in promoting a rights-based approach in the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance. This will ensure that people with disabilities can participate in decision-making processes that affect them and they can benefit on an equal basis with others” said Australian Ambassador, Ms Paula Ganly. “Importantly, this report gives voice to people with disabilities and their representative organisations in Iraq and is an important step towards our commitment to the 2030 agenda to leave no-one behind.”
Globally, IOM is committed to reducing and addressing barriers facing people with disabilities. In December 2019, IOM Iraq launched the IOM Iraq Disability Inclusion Strategy 2019—2021, which proposed recommendations for mapping and collaborating with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities; working towards making IOM community cen-tres accessible; and developing contextualised guidance for staff to implement disability inclusive programming.
The report was funded by funded by the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) under the project “Supporting Social Cohesion through Reintegration, Revitalization and Stabilization Support in Iraq”.