Somalia holds crucial meeting to discuss welfare of persons living with disabilities

6 Dec 2017

Somalia holds crucial meeting to discuss welfare of persons living with disabilities

Mogadishu - A meeting to discuss challenges faced by persons living with disabilities and needing support to improve their welfare was held today in Mogadishu.

The meeting, organized by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), brought together representatives from the United Nations, politicians, people with disabilities and members of civil society.

Speaking at the meeting, Maryan Adan Amiin, Director of the Social Affairs Office of  Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, urged Somalis to unite in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

Ms. Amiin noted a need to formulate rules and regulations that protect the rights of disabled persons in Somalia.

“They need clear legislation so that they can get their rights, (for example), what assistance can they be provided with including social housing and other allowances, especially those who are not able to work. Those who can work should also get employment opportunities,” said Maryam.

Abdullahi Hassan, UNSOM Human Rights Cluster Disability Team Focal Point, welcomed the panel discussion as a step in the right direction, urging both government and the general public to be mindful of the welfare of persons with disabilities.

Mr. Abdullahi said there was a need for the Somali government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, whose text was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006.

“We therefore appeal to the government ministries and agencies that are concerned with the issues of persons with disabilities to spearhead the signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and establish community-based rehabilitation,” he added.

Kirsten Young,  Chief of the UNSOM Human Rights and Protection Group, echoed Mr. Abdullahi’s sentiments, saying the convention was negotiated by persons with disabilities representing governments and civil society.

Stressing that disability is not equivalent to inability, Ms. Young talked about two disabled men who effectively managed a nongovernmental organization that hired her services to help negotiate international treaties safeguarding the plight of people living with disabilities.

UNSOM continues to work closely with the Independent Expert on the Human Rights Situation in Somalia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council in sustaining efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights in Somalia.