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Gaza siege prevents disability campaigner from receiving award

Palestinians hold demonstrations at the Erez crossing against Israel's ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip 5 January 2016 [ Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians hold demonstrations at the Erez crossing against Israel's ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip 5 January 2016 [ Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The chairman of an NGO that provides vital assistance to people with disabilities in the besieged Gaza Strip has been prevented from travelling to Austria to receive an international award for the work he and his charity do.

Zeyad Al-Abed, chief of the Al-Amal Association for Rehabilitation of Disabled, based in Rafah, is unable to travel to the Austrian capital of Vienna to receive the international award for his NGO’s achievements, and largely due to the Israeli siege on Gaza.

According to Quds Press, the now 10-year-old Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip also imposes severe travel restrictions on the people of the territory, and this has prevented Al-Abed from travelling to further promote the activities of Al-Amal.

The NGO, which specialises in providing assistance to people with disabilities, was chosen by the Stars Foundation to be one of 23 international NGOs awarded an“Impact Award”, in recognition for the positive impact Al-Amal was having on the lives of Gaza’s disabled people.

Four months ago, the NGO was informed that it was chosen for the award and the chairman started arrangements to attend the awards ceremony in Vienna to receive the award on behalf of the NGO. However, the closure of the both the Israeli and Egyptian border crossings have meant that he cannot attend.

According to Quds Press, Al-Amal will instead ask a partner organisation in Austria to represent it in the celebration and to receive the award on its behalf.

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