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“Higher Population Council” Stresses the Importance of Inclusion for Persons with Disability in Society and Development
“Higher Population Council” Stresses the Importance of Inclusion for Persons with Disability in Society and Development
Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Higher Population Council (HPC) emphasized the importance of integrating persons with disability in society and stressed the vitality of enjoying the full range of their rights. HPC stated that only by ensuring the enjoyment of all society members of dignity, human rights, reproductive health rights and provision of decent work opportunities could the demographic opportunity for development be achieved.

HPC stated in a press release on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on Tuesday, December 3rd 2019, that celebrating this occasion aims to understand the challenges facing persons with disability in order to ensure their enjoyment of the full extent of their rights. HPC added that the celebration also aims at enabling persons with disability to live independently, in addition to providing them with access to the best health care services without discrimination; promoting their self-confidence and capabilities through their inclusion in various societal activities and involvement in all aspects of life, especially development; removing the obstacles and barriers limiting their potential.   HPC stressed the need to train health staff and personnel to ensure the access of persons with disability to a health care system suitable for their needs, in addition to supporting their attainment of educational opportunities and delivering recommendations that ensure the availability of school environments accessible to everyone. Moreover, HPC highlighted the provision of support for women with disability and their attainment of maternal health related services; providing psychological and social support for persons with disabilities and their families; delivering adequate attention to the achievements and contributions of this group.

HPC indicated that it is the responsibility of all national and international institutions to enhance the services provided to persons with disability in Jordan and shifting these services from the state of needs to a rights-based perspective in compliance with the resolutions of international conferences and conventions to which Jordan has committed to. This will lead to significant progress in the community’s human, social and economic development, which, in turn, requires the development of national policies and strategies to suit these commitments.

HPC highlighted that the results of the 2015 General Population and Housing Census  indicated that the percentage of Jordanians with disabilities reached 11.2% of the Jordanian population aged five years of age and above. constitute 11.7% of Jordanian males and 10.6% of Jordanian females, noting that they are entitled to rights and needs as their non-disabled peers, and may need them persistently as they are at a higher risk of marginalization, abuse, sexual harassment, exploitation, or physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and other forms of gender-based violence.

At the national level, HPC noted that a national strategy for persons with disabilities (2007-2015) was developed in order to achieve the Royal Vision of fostering a society in which persons with disabilities enjoy a dignified and sustainable life, guarantying their equitable participation in the community. The establishment of this strategy resulted in adopting a rights-based approach through the issuance of the Act on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. (31) of 2007, in addition to establishing the Higher Council for the rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) under the provisions of Article (6) of the Act on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a national institution to support persons with disabilities, defend their interests, formulate policies, and plan and coordinate with all concerned parties. Moreover, the Amended Law of the Penal Code No. (27) of 2017 includes several new provisions that make disability an aggravating circumstance in crimes of physical and psychological abuse, crimes of sexual assault, fraud, neglect in care or abandonment, as these amendments promote the rights of persons with disability, expand the scope of legal protection and fight discrimination against persons with disability.

HPC also added that Jordan has ratified a number of international conventions and agreements supporting the rights of persons with disabilities, affirming its adherence to the implementation of the these conventions’ provisions, including the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo 1994, which recognizes the reproductive rights of all couples and individuals and their right to accessing the highest standards of reproductive care, in addition to recognizing the importance of eliminating discrimination against persons with disabilities with regard to reproductive rights and family formation. Furthermore, HPC added that Jordan has also adopted the Global Sustainable Development Goals 2030 with the pledge to leave no one behind, and that disability shall in no case cause of justify the inability of benefit from the full extent of development programs or enjoy human rights.

HPC stressed that despite the strong legislative base in Jordan, However, there is a lack of implementation and monitoring and a decline in the level of information and services provided in terms of quality and quantity of persons with disabilities in Jordan. Moreover, the HPC stressed the need to ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to their rights, in addition to have their need met and aspirations respected, emphasizing the need to enable persons with disability to live independently and participate fully in all life aspects, along with complying with the rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Furthermore, HPC noted that the limited opportunity for women with disabilities to join or form organizations that represent the full extent of their needs is one of the most prominent challenges facing women with disabilities in society, and that their issues are marginalized in discussions on the rights of persons with disabilities and cannot make decisions for themselves. Moreover, these women are unable to contribute to the discussions even when they include other women.

HPC indicated that the protection system for persons with disabilities is almost non-existent, and the cases of harassment in this category is more than non-disabled persons, especially in asylum situations, where persons with disabilities are less able to defend themselves, escape conflict, and access justice.

On a global level, statistics indicate that low-income countries have higher prevalence of disability than that of high-income countries, and people with disabilities are more vulnerable to unemployment and poverty in many countries worldwide. In addition, children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to be exposed to violence and lack of access to quality education, especially in developing countries. Furthermore, persons with disabilities often do not receive the necessary health care in many developing countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) clarified that 15% of the world's population have a kind of disability, meaning that more than one billion people suffer from disability.