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Jordan: UN expert lauds efforts on disability rights and encourages international support – OHCHR

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Press releases Special Procedures
15 September 2022
Press releases
Press releases
Geneva/Amman (15 September 2022) – The UN expert on the rights of persons with disabilities today welcomed Jordan’s commitment and political will to include people with disabilities in all aspects of society, following a 10-day official visit to the country.
“Jordan stands out as a leader on disability rights in the region and was one of the first States to come to the table at the start of the process that resulted in the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Jordan was also among the first to ratify it”, said Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, in a statement at the end of his visit.
“This commitment is reflected in the sophisticated body of law that protects the full range of rights of persons with disabilities, including the 2017 national disability legislation,” he said.
The UN expert specifically welcomed the explicit prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability in legislation and the incorporation of the duty to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities.
The expert said that while strong legislation on disability was necessary and important, it must be accompanied by systematic efforts to combat stigma.
“I heard from persons with disabilities on how stigma and bias keep them at home, out of school and employment and isolated from their communities,” Quinn said.
He invited the Government to consider developing a nationwide media campaign to sensitise and educate the general population on disability and the human rights-based approach to the issue. “The campaign would encourage and empower families with individuals with disabilities to not see disability as a hindrance but simply as a form of human diversity”.
The expert urged Jordan to establish an independent monitoring mechanism to promote and monitor its implementation of the Disabilities Convention, pursuant to Article 33(2). “Such a mechanism would efficiently complement the extraordinary work being undertaken by the Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities and help bridge the implementation gap in disability rights currently prevailing in Jordan,” the expert said.
The expert also noted significant disparities in accessibility and access to education, health, administration of justice, and social protection depending on where a person with disabilities lives in Jordan.
“A recurring theme during my visit was the difficulty that persons with physical disabilities and older persons persistently face in accessing transport that is accessible and affordable. I saw first-hand the impact this is having on access to school, medicine, health care and employment”.
On the important issue of inclusive education, Quinn was heartened by moves to improve accessibility for students with disabilities in schools and universities. “Work to better equip higher education in teaching Jordanian sign language is underway. Efforts to sweep away exclusionary policies in relation to accessing the course of one’s own choosing are excellent signs of progress,” the expert said.
He stressed that further efforts were now needed to make the physical environment, the transport system, schools, and private buildings that were open to the public accessible to the full range of people with disabilities.
Quinn recognised the immense strain placed on Jordan by the number of refugees the country was hosting, as humanitarian aid was starting to wane. “Jordan has time and again opened its doors to those forced to flee, many of whom have mental, psycho-social and physical disabilities,” the expert said. “Leaving no one behind has to mean extending the benefits of inclusion to refugees with disabilities. That is a joint responsibility with the international community,” he said.
“As donor fatigue sets in, and aid organisations move to the next conflict, refugees with disabilities increasingly struggle to have access to the most basic of necessities,” he noted. The expert called on donors and the international community to show solidarity with Jordan.
Quinn will present a detailed report of his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2023.
Gerard Quinn (Ireland) is the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, appointed by the Human Rights Council in October 2020. Mr Quinn holds two research chairs at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Human Rights in the University of Lund (Sweden) and Leeds University (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). He was the lead focal point for the global network of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) during the negotiations leading to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was head of delegation for Rehabilitation International during the UN Working Group (2004). He previously held a chair at the National University of Ireland where he founded and directed the Centre on Disability Law and Policy.
Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
In Geneva: Alia El Khatib at
In Amman: Khetam Malkawi at
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