On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the UN calls for increased recognition of persons with disabilities
Mogadishu – On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, calls for increased recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Persons with disabilities of all age groups have been identified as a particularly marginalized and at-risk group within the Somali society. The number of people with disabilities in Somalia is likely to be higher than the global estimate of 15 per cent of the population due to the long period of conflict, humanitarian emergencies and limited access to health care,” said Special Representative Swan.
The theme for this year's commemoration is “leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” The theme is relevant in Somalia as it underlines the need for full participation of persons with disabilities in the ongoing electoral process and in efforts to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges to the existing vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities. This necessitates increased and concerted efforts by Somalia to address both the immediate and long-term needs of persons with disabilities, including ensuring their participation in all spheres of society and in leadership,” added Special Representative Swan.
Somalia enacted the National Disability Agency Bill in December 2018, ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in August 2019, and launched the National Disability Agency in July 2021.
“I encourage the Federal Government of Somalia to increase support for the National Disability Agency, a key body to promote disability rights,” said the UN Special Representative to Somalia and added, “the UN in Somalia remains committed to supporting Somalia in the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and looks forward to the finalization of the National Disability Rights Bill, to be put into law in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”