• Kirkuk

  • Monday, June 10, 2024 at 12:03 PM
    Last Update : Monday, June 10, 2024 at 12:03 PM

Disabled Iraqis Urge More Government Services

(AWP) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the Iraqi government’s “failure” to protect the right of disabled people to employment, although their rights were included in its national laws. This oversight has resulted in unemployment for thousands of disabled people.

HRW pointed out in a statement that the Iraqi government and that of the Kurdistan region have laws stipulating that 5% of public sector jobs must go to disabled people.

Hussein Aziz, a man who lost his right arm and is working as a driver, said that the government did not offer him a job, although he has a university degree.

“I visited all of the departments in the city, including the ministries of health and education, to get hired as a government employee, but my efforts did not work out. They are not even planning for this in the future. I have to pay a sum of money to be hired, but we disabled people do not have that kind of sum,” he pointed out.

“The only solution available to me was to have my own business. I have a car. I drive people to the border with Iran. I have also worked as an interpreter for tourists, or sick people traveling to Iran,” added Aziz.

Ali Abdel-Jalil, a blind man who owns a sanitary wares store he inherited from his father, said the state does not offer services to disabled people, unlike many countries in the world.

“There is a huge difference between us and Europe. Even in Iran, although it is a poor country, they still help the disabled. Free medical services are offered to the disabled in Iran, and they get transported from their houses to entertainment places. All services are offered to them for free, but here they offer nothing,” he said.

Shadia Ahmed Kamal, Director of Kirkuk Social Care, demanded more government hiring for the disabled, adding that some have university degrees, and the state could benefit from them.

“We demand that the Iraqi government increase the hiring rate of disabled employees, especially since some have university degrees, and the country could make good use of them,” she said.

Kamal pointed out that the social care departments offer what they can to the disabled.

“We offer them – men or women – salaries from the disability and social care departments. As the Ministry of Labor, we offer them services through grants or salaries. We have a vocational training department to offer loans for those who want to set up their own projects. Several disabled people have benefited from this,” she explained.