To help the Iraqi government develop programmes that support the needs of migrants with disabilities, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the country has launched its first countrywide disability inclusion strategy.
The two-year strategy will also guide the IOM Mission in supporting the government of Iraq with data collection and policy design that are inclusive of persons with disabilities.
“This document is an essential supplement to IOM Iraq’s strategic priorities”, said Chief of Mission Gerard Waite, adding, “it will guide us as we improve our programming approach to support the government in addressing the needs of Iraqis, including migrants and internally displaced persons with disabilities.”
The presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) between 2014 and 2017 led to increased levels of violence and economic destabilization in the country. Persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by conflict, violence and economic hardship in Iraq; it is also understood that the rate of disability is expected to rise in a country during and after conflict.
The government of Iraq, the UN, international NGOs, and civil society actors are making efforts towards addressing the multiple and intersecting barriers faced by persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, at a national level, these efforts have been hampered by a lack of resources and insufficient institutional capacity, rather than a rights-based model of disability inclusion and mainstreaming.
The 2019-2021 Disability Inclusion Strategy will work to better include the needs of persons with disabilities across internal policies, projects and programming, and leverage attention and funding to support quality disability inclusion across its work.
The strategy draws from the accountability framework of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) launched in June 2019 — and prioritizes input from IOM Iraq staff and Iraqi persons with disabilities. The UNDIS is a five-year policy, action plan and accountability framework designed to increase accessibility and mainstreaming across the UN.