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Parliament discusses how to improve services for persons with disabilities and special needs

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 27 April presided over a sitting at which MPs discussed the problems and needs of adults and children with disabilities and special needs, in the presence of KRG Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Kwestan Mohamad.

Deputy Speaker Hemin Hawrami and Secretary Muna Kahveci sat with the Speaker.

Parliament’s Committee on Social Affairs and Protection of Human Rights read out their report, which was prepared by MP Omar Gulpi, including statistics on persons with disabilities and special needs, provision of healthcare, training, education and housing, employment and cultural facilities, the public’s awareness of disability rights and needs, and the particular needs of children and young and single people.

The report also highlighted the need to make public sector projects accessible for persons with disabilities and to amend the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs.

MPs made many points and suggestions regarding improving services for persons with disabilities and special needs and helping to improve their welfare.

MPs also pointed to the need to implement the Reform Law, remove unjustified claimants from the list of persons receiving disabilities and special needs benefits, pay carers and helpers every 30 days, increase the number of carers in line with the number of persons needing assistance, and amend the law.

Minister Kwestan Mohamad explained the Ministry’s work and challenges since the start of the current 9th cabinet. She gave the statistics on the number of persons who are registered to receive payments from the Ministry.

“88,122 persons receive disabilities benefit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, of those 12,179 persons receive an additional payment or salary, and 75,943 persons receive no other payment”, she said.

The Minister added, "I hope that this law will be amended to better serve persons with special needs".

The Minister responded to MPs’ many comments and questions.

Speaker Faiq said, "We hope that we will receive the bill on amendments to Law Number 22 as soon as possible, so that we can incorporate those recommendations by MPs that are permitted by the procedures, and in turn with Parliament’s bill and your participation, we will do something to better serve persons with disabilities and special needs in Kurdistan."

The second item on the agenda was a discussion about protecting social peace and respecting religious and social values and fundamental freedoms. Some MPs asked for the sitting to closed to the public, per Article 9 (paragraph 2) of Parliament’s Internal Rules of Procedure which states that this is possible at the request of the Speaker or a quarter of MPs and on the vote of MPs. The request was put to vote and passed, and the item was discussed in closed session.

Speaker Faiq said that the next sitting would be held the next day, 28 April, at 11am.