‘Nothing about us without us’: Afghan disability rights activists share opportunities and challenges

This symposium provided a platform for discussion about upholding the rights of persons with disabilities in Afghanistan.

The third Afghanistan Legal Research Network symposium of 2023, hosted by the Max Planck Foundation, discussed the challenges faced by people with disabilities currently in Afghanistan and highlighted the intersectional challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities and by those in rural areas. Recommendations to advocate for these rights to be upheld were considered.

Benafsha Yaqoobi, former Commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, gave a keynote address outlining the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Afghanistan under the new regime. Panellists, including persons with a disability and people working within Afghanistan, spoke about specific challenges and recommendations to address these challenges.  These panelists and their topics were:

  • Najiba Rahmani, ‘The specific intersecting challenges women and girls with disabilities face in today’s Afghanistan’
  • Sadiq Mohibi, ‘The role of persons with disabilities in the legislative process’
  • Mahpekai Sediqi, ‘Physical rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the current humanitarian crisis’
  • Mehdi Salami, ‘Assistive technology for persons with disabilities’

Participants subsequently engaged the speakers in discussion, exploring further their submissions and the socio-political context in which disability rights must be advanced. Particular emphasis was placed on the need for disabled persons’ voices to be heard in any efforts to improve their position in Afghanistan.

The symposium was part of a series of symposia organised within the project ‘Civil Society and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan’ funded by the German Foreign Office.