Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (22 April 1996)
The officially recognized disability policy in Iraq is expressed in law (Social Welfare Law 26 of 1980), in guidelines adopted by the Government, in guidelines adopted by the national disability council, in policy adopted by political parties and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on: anti-discrimination law, prevention, rehabilitation, accessibility measures, individual support.
Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has conveyed the message of full participation by the way of audio-visual media, national conferences and seminars, communication with Arab and International Organizations.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by special legislation. The judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities include: due process (legal remedy through courts), recourse procedure by a special agency dealing with anti-discrimination issues. Administrative and other non-judicial bodies include: an Ombudsman, a Governmental body (administrative), independent expert bodies, a special arbitration/conciliation body, non-Governmental institutes for the disabled, societies and federations.
The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, participation in decisions affecting them.
Amendments to the Law no 26 of 1980, regulations and instructions have been enacted since the adoption of the Rules.
There are laws and regulations to ensure accessibility of the build environment requiring that public places, the outdoor environment and housing are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by a national authority, the local Government, and the organizers/providers of services. The following measures have been promoted to facilitate accessibility: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing lifts and accessible toilets, installing special lighting and using contrast colours for visually impaired. Special transport is available for: medical treatment, education, work, recreational purpose. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: economic/budgetary factors, lack of planning and design-capacity, lack of knowledge, research and information, lack of user participation. There is no disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people is used as the first language in education of deaf people. There are no Government measures for encouraging media to make the services available. However, Government measures exist to making other forms of public information services available. No services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is no national umbrella organization. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. The Government provides financial and organizational/logistic support to the organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in Government, legislature, judiciary, political parties. They do not participate at all in NGOs. The organizations have the role to: provide services and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The National Scientific Committee for Special Education is the co-ordinating committee, reporting to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Health, Employment and Social Affairs, Education, Culture, Planning, and the private sector. The Government expects the committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks, such as formulating new programmes in order to promote social welfare services. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects according to the Government: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes in the disability field, improved legislation, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, improved promotion of public awareness.
The adoption of the Standard Rules has led to a rethinking of the approach to disability policy.
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