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14 December 2021; Baghdad, Iraq - Today, UNFPA with the Australian Embassy and the Iraqi Alliance of Disability (IADO) celebrated and recognised the rights of persons with disabilities in Iraq.

Persons with disabilities in Iraq have immeasurable potential and can largely contribute to the economy and society bringing compassion, innovation and resilience to their communities. At the same time, they are the ones who have been most impacted by the various crises that hit Iraq and continue to face significant barriers to be fully included and share equal rights.

The public event highlighted the achievements and the challenges faced by persons with disabilities on a daily basis through theatrical and musical performances by men and women and children with disabilities. 

Speakers including Mr Adel Al-Rakabi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr Mwafaq Al-Khafaji, Head of IADO, Mr Hussein Arab, Member of Parliament, Ms Paula Ganly, Australian Ambassador to Iraq, and Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative,   highlighted the importance of endorsing and legislating laws that promote the rights of people with disabilities and their access to services, ensuring their effective participation in society. Messages insisted on joining efforts to end stigma and discrimination against all persons with disabilities and ensure their full inclusion.

On behalf of UNFPA, Dr Rita Columbia expressed a commitment to support persons with disabilities, especially women and young people, to receive essential services such as reproductive health, prevention of gender-based violence, and life-skills education.  She thanked IADO, local authorities and donor countries - Australia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden - for partnerships and strengthening disability inclusion in policy and programmes.  

UNFPA works closely with the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, civil society and the international community to promote the rights of women and young people with disabilities to enjoy equal opportunities, live a life free of gender-based violence and enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The event ended with selecting disability ambassadors for 2022 and a handicrafts and painting exhibition by people with disabilities.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Ms Salwa Moussa, Communications Specialist, 00964 7809171035