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Not just once a year!

Dec 04,2017 - Last updated at Dec 04,2017

Jordan, together with the rest of the international community, marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. This annual celebration was conducted this year under the theme "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all". 

Jordan is a regional pioneer when it comes to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities as it has adopted a model legislation on this issue and created the machinery for supporting them. 

The legislation in question not only put the focus on the rights of persons with disabilities, but also stiffened the penalties against the violators of these rights. The Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities highlighted on this occasion a set of rights including access to healthcare and employment. 

One would have thought that other basic rights could have been also stressed such as the rights to education, housing, food and water, and above all combating all forms of discrimination against them. The needs of people with disabilities go beyond the material dimension. Equally important are their emotional and psychological needs. 

The National Centre for Human Rights in Jordan seized upon this occasion to emphasise the right of persons with disabilities to employment by pointing out that the existing labour law requires institutions and companies which employ 25-50 persons to hire at least one person with disability. If such institutions employ more than 50 persons, they must allocate no less than 4 per cent of opportunities to people with disabilities.  

UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay may have summed up the rights of persons with disabilities best by reminding the international community that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its broader sense promises to "leave no one behind" in order for development in its broadest dimensions  to be sustainable by being all inclusive. 

In Jordan the commemoration of this important day must not be a one day event. The plight and suffering of persons with disabilities is almost a daily ordeal. The country must remember them every day and not just once a year! 

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