Giving disabled people a chance to lead a normal life

Tehran, Oct 3, IRNA –The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) started the second consultative meeting on ways to improve the quality of life of people with physical or mental disabilities on Monday.

This three-day meeting aims to develop the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s recommendations to help disabled people and to find practical ways to remove the barriers they face in society.

‘Addressing the social-participation barriers faced by disabled people is one of the duties of humanitarian organizations. Our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners use their potential and expertise, mobilize resources and share knowledge to alleviate the suffering of people with special needs,” said Mohammad Sh. Mohammadi Araghi, the IRCS under secretary general for international affairs and international humanitarian law. “The IRCS focuses its efforts on people with special needs who have been affected by disasters. Mitigating the risks they face in disasters is also one of our top priorities.’

“People with disabilities face a range of obstacles to living a normal life. They often have to deal with exclusion, stigma and marginalization,” said Olivier Martin, head of the ICRC’s mission in Iran. “We run various micro-economic programmes and courses to help them become more productive members of society. These include cash grants to start a small business, or training to gain new skills and find a job. But there is more to be done. That’s why we’ve developed a Movement-wide strategic framework on disability inclusion, which will set out the strategic direction for the Movement’s work in this area for the next four years.”

This is the second consultative meeting, with participants from 12 National Societies – Australia, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Norway, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine and Viet Nam – and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The first consultative meeting was held in Tehran in 2013. Its focus was on strengthening the Movement’s efforts to promote disability inclusion and adopting a resolution to that end. This second meeting seeks to build on that momentum: the resolution on promoting disability inclusion will be adopted by 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at a global meeting in December.

The ICRC carries out activities for disabled people directly or in association with governments and National Societies during armed conflicts and other emergencies. The ICRC also provides expertise, advice and support for National Society programmes that address the specific needs of disabled people.