Fighting for rights of the disabled in post-COVID era

December 3, 2021 - 17:20

TEHRAN – On December 3, the International Day of Persons with disabilities is marked considering the challenges, barriers, and opportunities in the context of a global pandemic. The 2021 theme is fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disability was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.

Over 1.3 million people suffering from disabilities live in Iran. The theme for IDPD this year is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

Since March 2020, every person on earth has been impacted by drastic political, social, and economic changes as a result of domestic and international responses to COVID-19.

This year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities should be used to recognize that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalization, discrimination, vulnerability, and exploitation are everyday factors for many people, the increased risk of poor outcomes have been magnified with the reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs.

Over 1.3m persons with disabilities live in Iran

Pirouz Hanachi, the former mayor of Tehran, said in December 2019 that over 1.3 million people suffering from disabilities live in the country and the figure rises by 50,000 every year.

Majlis [the Iranian parliament] approved both general outlines and details of a bill on the rights of persons with disabilities in January 2018. Development of disability-friendly cities, free transportation, health insurance, free education, job creation, housing loans, and fewer working hours are some of the articles of the law.

Since the approval of the law, education for students with disabilities has been provided in Azad universities, subsidies for patients with spinal cord injury as well as disability care centers have been increased, in addition to residential units to families having members with disabilities.

Asghar Shirzadi, chairman of the board of the Iranian association of the disabled, said in December 2020 that it still seems that the related organizations are not very willing to implement the law, so that more attention is required.

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