ANNUAL INTERACTIVE DEBATE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
It seems that in many countries construction of man-made spaces is still based on the assumption of an “average standardised person”. Consequently, the environment built for the average person is not equally accessible for everybody. In some countries, the problem of accessibility can be considered a direct result of such discriminatory approaches and yet the persons with disabilities are seen as exceptions. They are invisible and their voices are not meant to be heard. There are many examples of how these exclusions and conditions of invisibility can present a barrier to the promotion of their rights to full citizenship, independent living, equal opportunities and full participation. For instance, although the Islamic Republic of Iran has joined the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it hasn’t done enough to improve the situation of disabled Iranians who are suffering from a severe lack of equality. There is also a chronic lack of public education about persons with disabilities in Iran. The following examples clarify this statement. The misrepresentation of People with Disabilities presents itself, even in the data which is produced by different branches of the government. For example while the 2011 survey states that around 1.36% of the population are living with disabilities, in 2014, a manager of the welfare organisation stated that the number was 11%. According to a 2008 survey, of 3 million persons with disabilities who were eligible to work, only 600,000 have been able to secure employment. Buildings are so inaccessible that to leave home has become a difficult task; so much so, in effect, that many persons with disabilities are trapped in their homes, therefore unable to play any role in the community life. Access to public transport, bus or metro, is so limited that attempting to use them is exhausting, and even cultural places and cinemas have few special seats for disabled people. Honorable panelists what are your recommendations to such states on their path to implement article 19 of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and in this regard to remove all obstacles in the built environment, educational system and in society and make it possible for people with disabilities to live independently and play a full role in the community life.