A report on human rights status of people with disabilities in Afghanistan Year 1399 (2020)


The Report Summary

A report on human rights status of people with disabilities in Afghanistan

Year 1399 (2020)

The statistical data for this study (156 cases), were obtained from Asia Foundation's survey1, the Commission's database, while the rest were gained through field studies, in which, 1504 people with disabilities participated from 22 provinces of Afghanistan. Among participants in the field study, there were 1,192 (79.3%) men and 310 (20.6 %) women; while regarding 2 (0.1 %) of the participants in the field study, gender status was not specified.

Based on the findings of this study, 13.9% of the total population of the country (4,475,800) have been identified as people with disabilities. In 1384 (2005), this figure reached 2.7% of the total population of the country; thus, in 14 years, the number of people with disabilities has increased by 11.2%.

Disability types:

Based on the findings of this study 1,042 (69.3%) of the 1,504 respondents have had physical disabilities such as limbs deficiency, 294 (19.5%), physical sensory disabilities, 42 (2.8%), biological and metabolic disability, such as diseases or diabetic complications, blood pressure, epilepsy and autism, mentally and psychologically impaired68 (4.5%), and 58 (3.9%) people have had additional disabilities, i.e. two or more types of disabilities.

Among the interviewees with physical and sensory disabilities, there have been 178 (60.5%) with visual disabilities, 106 (36.1%) with hearing disabilities and another 10 (3.4%) people with speech disabilities.

Disability Causes:

War and roadside mines have been identified as the causes of disability for 627 (41.7 %) of the interviewees. In addition, 18 people (1.2 %) were told to have disabilities, as a result of arbitrary use of drugs, 29 (1.9 %) due to traffic incidents, 72 (4.8 %) caused by non-observance of safety measures at their living place, and 22 (1. 5) affected by non-observance of safety measures at workplace, 60 people (4.0 %) as a result of not receiving vaccination, 32 people (2.1 %) caused by a shortage in maternal healthcare during pregnancy. The disability causes for the remaining 644 (42.8 %) of the rest of the interviewees have not been specified.

Respect for Human Dignity, Security and Personal Freedom

People with disabilities are among the most vulnerable layers of the society, and they need special support from their families, the community, and, most importantly, the government and responsible institutions. According to the findings of this study, 573 (38.1 %) of those participated in the study reported that they had experienced violence at home and in the community because of their disability, and that they have been insulted, mocked, and harassed.

Among those who were abused and subjected to insults, humiliation, and harassment, 14 (2.4%) were victims of physical violence in the home and community, and 391 (68.2%) were deprived from support by the family members, people and government, 127 people (22.2%) were humiliated and insulted, 18 people (3.1%) were barred from entering public places and public gatherings, and 23 people (4. %) were banned from traveling and socializing with friends and relatives.

Participation in Elections

According to the research results, 1,328 (88.3 %) of the interviewees were those who were eligible to vote and participate in the elections in terms of age, of which 1,088 (81.9 %) voted in the elections; however, 240 (18.1 %) did not exercise their right to vote.

Of the same number of interviewees who were qualified to run in the election as a candidate, 73 (5.5%) nominated themselves in the last Wolesi Jirga (Common Representatives Assembly) and Provincial Councils Elections.

People who did not participate in the election mentioned the following reasons for not voting:

  • Opposition from family members, 33 people (13.8%);
  • Lack of independence in voting, 53 people (22.1%);
  • Having no nationality certificate (Tazkera), 132 people (55%);
  • Lack of facilities for PWD such as: transportation, ramps at the polling station, 10 people (4.2%);

Other reasons given by the remaining 12 % of respondents were security threats on Election Day, distance to the polling station, and having no personal intention.

Having Nationality Certificate (Tazkera):

According to the findings of this study, 1,437 (95.5%) out of 1,504 respondents reported that they had Nationality Tazkeras; while , another 67 (4.5%) stated that they had been unable to receive a Nationality Tazkira, due to indifference and undervaluation by family members.

Access to the Right to Education

Out of the 1,504 people who completed the questionnaire in this study, 425 (28.3%) were attending educational institutions. Last year, that number was 125 (12.8 %) out of 979 people who completed the questionnaire. As a result, access to the right to education for people with disabilities increased by 15.5 % in 1399 (2020).

In 1399 (2020), 213 people (50.1%) attended public schools, 7 people (1.6%) went to private schools, 73 people (17.2%) went to special schools for people with hearing and/or vision impairments, 13 people (3.1%) went to religious schools, 32 (7.5%) went to vocational schools, and 78 people (18.4%) went to universities. The remaining 9 (2.1%) did not specify their educational level or type of educational center, despite confirming their interest in education.

Reasons for not Having Access to Education

Findings showed that 1,079 (71.7%) of the respondents confirmed that they did not have access to education. They gave several reasons for not having access to education:

  • Long distance - 60 people (5.6%);
  • Rejected by the school officials because of their disability - 8 people (0.7%)
  • Lack of facilities needed by people with disabilities - 160 people (14.8%);
  • Economic problems - 87 people (8.1%);
  • Family prevention - 78 (7.2%);
  • Lack of necessary transportation facilities for people with disabilities- 35 people (3.2%);
  • Other reasons such as: lack of interest in studying and old age - 651 (60.3%).

Level of Access to the Right to Health

Based on the findings of this study, in 1399 (2020), out of 1,504 respondents, 1,224 (81.4%) confirmed that they had access to health services; however, another 272 (18.1%) said they did not have access to health services. The remaining 8 (0.5%) did not answer this question.

Level of Satisfaction with Health Services

Those who had access to health care reported varying degrees of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. 176 people (14.4%) expressed their complete satisfaction, 667 people (54.5%) showed relative satisfaction, 152 people (12.4%) didn’t express any specific opinion in this regard, and 171 people (14.4%) stated their relative dissatisfaction, 52 people (4.2%) expressed their complete dissatisfaction with the way health services are provided by health centers. The remaining 6 (0.5%) people did not answer this question.

Reasons for Healthcare Dissatisfaction

11 people (4.9%) reported discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities by health center employees, 121 people (54.3%) said  long distance to the health center, 43 people (19.3%) said lack of equipment and facilities for people with disabilities and 44 (19.7%) complained about the high cost of treatment in health centers. The remaining 4 (1.8 %) gave no clear explanation for their dissatisfaction with the healthcare services.

Level of Access to the Right to Work

According to the findings of this study, out of 1,504 respondents, 176 (11.7%) were under the age of 18 and therefore might not be in need of job; while others, 1,328 people (88.3%), were at the legal employment age range. Of these, 427 (32.2%) were employed or had businesses and 901 (67.8%) were unemployed or with no job or businesses.

In 1398 (2019), out of 979 people interviewed, 209 (21.3 %.) people were employed. In 1399 (2020), the number of employees with disabilities increased by 1.9% compared to the previous year.

Based on the same information, out of 427 people who worked, 308 (72.1%) were self-employed, 58 (13.6%) were government employees, 39 (9.1%) were employees of non-governmental organizations. Another 22 (5.2%) of the employees did not answer about their type of job.

Reasons for Not Having Access to the Right to Work

196 (21.8%) respondents mentioned discrimination against persons with disabilities in the employment process, 118 (13.1%) said non-observance of the law, 28 (3.1%) said disagreement of family members with their work, 201 (22.3%) people stated their physical weakness and 80 (8.9%) others said lack of education relevant to employment as reasons for their deprivation of the right to work and employment. The remaining 278 (30.9%) who were unemployed did not mention a specific reason for their unemployment and did not answer this question.

Enjoying Disability Subvention:

 Based on this information, out of 1,504 respondents, 824 (54.8%) use the financial benefits provided for in Article 8 of the Law on the Rights and Privileges of Persons with Disabilities; But another 677 (45%) said they were deprived of the privilege. The remaining 3 (0.2%) did not give a specific answer to this question.

Causes of Being Deprived of Disability Subvention:

According to the findings of this study, 497 people (73.4%) said they were deprived of disability subvention because they were not a person with war-affected disability, 25 people (3.7%) said due to the bureaucracy in the process of registration of people with disability in the offices, 52 people (7.7%) said due to discrimination and corruption in the disability registration process and another 52 people (7.7%) said they did not receive disability subvention because they were unaware of the process. The remaining 51 (7.5%) did not answer this question.

Receiving Small Bank Loans

This data shows that out of 1,504 people included in the survey, 334 (22.2%) confirmed that they had enjoyed small bank loan programs; but 557 (37%) said they could not gain small loans due to difficult loan conditions, and 298 (19.8%) said they could not use small loans for lack of lending institutions in their place of residence. Finally, the remaining 315 people (20.9%) did not provide a clear answer.

AIHRC’s Executive Summary:

AIHRC advocates for the human rights of persons with disabilities through mechanisms, such as, monitoring, investigation, follow-up, advocacy, legal advice and awareness programs.

A: Monitoring the Human Rights status of Persons with Disabilities

This year, the AIHRC, during its monitoring of the  human rights of persons with disabilities in the capital and provinces of Afghanistan, was able to interview with 1,504 people with disabilities through filling out questionnaires. Another 156 people with disabilities went to the Commission's regional and provincial offices and filed complaints; whose human rights status was monitored.

B: Registration and Follow-up of Human Rights Violations

 In the fiscal year 1399 (2020), 156 cases were registered in the Commission, 24 of which included human rights violations of persons with disabilities. In 18 of the 24 cases, people were denied the right to obtain the disability subvention, their right to work was violated in five cases, and their right to education was violated in one. The AIHRC followed up the cases and referred them to the judiciary to seek justice for those who were wronged.

C: Advocacy to Ensure Justice

During the fiscal year 1399 (2020), AIHRC held more than 50 advocacy sessions across the country with members of the Advocacy Committee of the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (ACPD), governmental and non-governmental organizations, including private higher education institutions. As a result of these meetings, the Commission, while sharing ideas and problems posed by persons with disabilities or their representatives from organizations related to disabilities, received commitments from different governmental or non-governmental organizations, in order to improve the situation of these layers of the society.

D: Raising Public Awareness of the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Providing Legal Advice

During the fiscal year 1399 (2020), AIHRC carried out some significant tasks, aiming at developing public awareness of the human rights status of people with disabilities and providing legal advice for these people; such as: providing a handbook on dignity-based terminology regarding persons with disability, celebration of the international week of persons with hearing impairments, for the first time in Afghanistan, awareness-raising campaigns and celebration of the international days of White Cane and Persons With Disabilities in Kabul and provinces, providing 1,777 minutes of audio or video programs to develop public awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities, providing a video clip, accessible for persons with hearing disabilities regarding healthcare during corona pandemic period, etc.


Based on the findings of this study and analyzing the situation of people with disabilities in the current year and comparing it with the previous year, we see that in some areas there have been relative improvements, while in others people with disabilities continue to face serious challenges. In order to improve the overall situation of people with disabilities, including their health, social, economic, cultural, and political situation, and to support them live a dignified life in the society, the following recommendations are presented to the relevant authorities of the country:

  1. Identifying the place of persons with disabilities in peace process, as a major group of victims of war and conflicts, as well as cessation of hostilities and establishing cease-fire, aiming at providing security for citizens and preventing from increase in number of disability cases in Afghanistan;
  2. Developing, equipping and expanding public education environments, compatible with inclusive education, in order to include students with different types of disabilities in education trend, making accessible the information materials for persons with sensory (vision and hearing) disabilities and building capacities of education for these people in higher education centers, With facilities mentioned in Art. 19 of the National Law on the Rights and privileges of Persons with Disabilities;
  3. Revising the employment statute of persons with disabilities in civilian services administrations, aiming at building strong executive guarantees in order to implement Art. 22 of the Law and providing contexts to employ people with disabilities in civilian service offices;
  4. Developing social support programs for persons with disabilities in the fields of health, education and economy, without discrimination based upon disability causes.


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