ERBIL : Disillusioned disabled strikers see diminishing hope

By Salih Waladbagi | The Kurdish Globe | Erbil – 1.2.2013 – Unhappy disabled persons urge the KRG to implement their fundamental rights.

After ending their month-long strike, disenchanted disabled persons claim that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has thus far failed to positively fulfil the pledges given to them.

Barzan Karim, who is a member of the Kurdistan Disabled Group, warned the KRG to respond to their imperative demands in a positive manner without further delay. The strikers outlined their essential rights in a request to the government in the hope of putting at least their basic rights into action soon. With the aim of widening their appeal audience, the discontented strikers also gave the UN a letter of disaffection.

“The KRG should act in response to our pending requests by the beginning of February 2013. Indeed, we are yet to officially hear back from the government,” said Karim. On November 20th 2012, several disabled persons took to the street in front of a parliamentary office in Sulaimaniya. They demanded an increase to their salary of 100,000 IQD from the KRG which they receive for disabled employment, and that is deemed insufficient to cater for their daily needs.

The strikers also asked for an increase to the salary of the unemployed disabled from 150,000 to 600,000 IQD as well as some other requests.  He also added that the group is currently in the process of setting up a united disabled organization across Kurdistan Region. Karim further added that the group has up to now formed a committee referred to as the “Committee of Discovering Job Opportunity”. The most important responsibility of the committee is to find new job opportunities for the unemployed disabled persons either in the public or private sector. Ari Mohammed, speaking on behalf of the disabled strikers, said that the ending of the strike came after the KRG pledged to meet their essential rights. The KRG has so far, he says, vowed to make improvements in Kurdistan Disabled Law in the future.  After 32 days of continuous strike in front of Sulaimaniya’s Parliament Office, the disabled persons decided to cease their strike on 21st December 2012.