This year’s theme for the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012 is“ Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all”.
It is to recognize indispensable and inalienable rights for all and to enable persons with disabilities to enjoy their rights without discrimination.
Human rights conventions and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(CRPD) of 2006 recognized the rights of persons with disabilities and dealt with these rights within an obligatory and legal procedure.
Under this Convention, persons with disabilities have the right to equality of opportunity, develop their living circumstances, and ensure the creation of circumstances that enable them to depend on themselves.
This occasion comes this year as the suffering of disabled Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has continued due to human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the Palestinian civilian population, including disabled persons in particular.
The number of persons with disabilities increased unprecedentedly due to the ongoing Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians.
Recently, the IOF carried out an aggression on the Gaza Strip codenamed “Pillars of Cloud” where it IOF killed 168 Palestinians including 36 children and 14 women.
The IOF injured 1,046, including 301 children and 105 women.
The Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the suffering of Palestinian disabled persons and made it even harder for rehabilitation organizations to deal with huge numbers of disabilities.
The Israeli siege has prevented the entry of medical and rehabilitation equipment needed for disabled persons.
It also continues to prevent disabled persons from travelling to receive medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip.
On the other side, the non-implementation of the Palestinian Disability Law No 4 of 1999 has contributed to the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian disabled persons.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the ongoing deterioration of the situations of disabled persons in Gaza Strip due to the Israeli practices and the non-implementation of the Palestinian law.
Therefore, Al Mezan: Calls on the International community to exert pressure on Israel to end its occupation for the Palestinian territory, provide international protection for Palestinian civilians in the oPt, and to seriously work towards lifting the Israeli siege; Calls on the Palestinian government to take necessary procedures to ensure the implementation of the Palestinian Disability Law; Calls for working together in order to remove all barriers that prevent disabled persons from fully enjoying their rights; and Calls for working towards social integration of disabled persons into working organizations.