23 September 2013
Statement by H.E. Mr. Seyyed Abbas Araghchi Deputy Foreign Minister
For Legal and International Affairs Of The Islamic Republic of Iran
At The High-level Meeting of the General Assembly
on the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed
development goals for persons with disabilities
(Round Table one)
New York, 23 September 2013
In the Name of the Most High
Dear persons with disabilities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I’d like to join other delegations to condemn the terrorist attack in Kenya and express the condolences of the Iranian Government and people, to the people and government of Kenya.
The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to the rights of persons with disabilities. Iran hosts nearly the biggest population of victims of chemical weapons in the world who are suffering from different kinds of disabilities. They are only part of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians with disabilities who are victims of the imposed war by Saddam’s regime against Iran in 80s.
At the national level, the comprehensive act for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities which has been approved by the parliament of the Islamic republic of Iran covers wide range of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country from accessibility to empowerment and participation. Our government has sent many executive directives to different ministries and institutions in the implementation of the comprehensive act.
We believe that most inspiring figures of persons with disabilities should be inter-culturally introduced so that they can energize and strengthen the process of empowerment by injecting the spirit of cooperation in disability inclusive development of countries and nations.
Let me tell you an old tale of an Iranian youth with disability whose life story is inspiring. Many years ago in a port town by the Persian Gulf, a young boy who had gone blind by an epidemic of smallpox had never surrendered to his disability. He was accepted as a crew member of a ship where he learned how to navigate the ship just by tasting the water of the sea in different sea routs. The climax of the story is when the ship is trapped in a huge whirlpool in the sea and he saves the ship by his the genius ideas. Thereafter, he became a hero in his town and was assigned as the captain of the ship, a captain with blindness.
The story book titled “Sekandar’s Whirlpool” is used as literacy and literature enrichment in the library of schools in Iran which is very much inspiring to the young generations in general.
Sport is another important opportunity by seizing which, not only persons with disabilities can be emboldened and empowered to play their important role in the development of the world, but also the iconic figures and heroes with disabilities can be used as ambassadors of disability inclusive development and peace in the world.
The Islamic Republic of Iran had ranked 22nd in Paralympic 2008 with 5 Gold medalists and could rank 11th at the Paralympic 2012 with 10 Gold medalists which shows 100 percent of improvement. During the Paralympic 2012 Mrs. Zahra Nemati, the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal at Paralympic level, was named the individual winner in Sport Accord’s Spirit of Sport awards. This award is given annually to those whose sporting achievement or work has led to positive social change.
You may find a snap shot of her achievements in a pamphlet on the table at the entrance. We hope to see her soon in one of the UN relevant meetings in New York.
Many of such iconic successful persons with disabilities can be found in different countries whose capacities, public fascination and influence can be used by the UN at the international, regional and national levels to promote disability inclusive development policy and strengthen its implementation.
Thank you very much,