Representatives of the disabled and those working in the rehabilitation sector in the Gaza Strip wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday asking him to assume his legal and responsibility towards the people of Gaza, to provide them with protection, and take serious action to end the Israeli occupation and blockade.
Hundreds of disabled individuals in the Gaza Strip and representatives of NGOs working in the rehabilitation sector delivered the letter to the UN’s office in the Strip after a march organised on International Day of Disabled Persons.
Those participating in the march called on the international community, especially the UN, to pressure and force the Israeli occupation to immediately stop its violations and attacks against the Palestinians, including those with disabilities.
They also asked all concerned parties to commit to their obligations towards those with disabilities, to activate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Palestinian Disability Law.
Amjad Shawa, director of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network (PNGO) in the Gaza Strip, explained that it was decided that this day would be commemorated in light of the escalating suffering of our people as a result of the Israeli blockade, the internal division, and the international community’s failure to uphold their responsibilities towards the Palestinians.
He added that the occupation still imposes a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip and that those with disabilities are paying a very high price as a result of this. This blockade has also caused a slowing down in the reconstruction of the damage caused by the Israeli attack in summer 2014, he said. Shawa also called for the end of divisions and the unity of the Palestinians.
Shawa urged the international community and human rights organisations to intervene and take immediate action to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza, guarantee the freedom of movement for all people, goods and basic necessities for those with disabilities.
Naeem Kabaja, PNGO’s rehabilitation department coordinator, said this day is marked every year in order to improve the community’s understanding of the rights of people with disabilities. This facilitates their integration into their communities on a political, social, economic and cultural level, he explained.
Images by MEMO photographer, Mohammad Asad