SHAFAQNA– The UN Security Council must translate its commitment to ensure the protection of people with disabilities in armed conflict into tangible actions on the ground, Amnesty International said.
Raja Abdullah Almasabi, chairwoman of the Arab Human Rights Foundation, a Yemeni NGO which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, addressed the Security Council in a briefing on Yemen.
Yemen is suffering from a five-year war that has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities. Although no reliable data is available, the number of persons with disabilities has possibly doubled since the start of the war. This number will continue to rise every day as bombs continue to fall in Yemen, blog.hi.org told.
“Raja Abdullah Almasabi eloquently described the harsh reality so many people with disabilities in Yemen face every day. Having been impacted disproportionately during years of armed conflict, their rights are all too often overlooked in the aid response to a situation the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said Rawya Rageh, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.
Rageh further said that last year, the UN Security Council made a commitment to protect people with disabilities in conflict. The time has come to make that commitment more than just words on paper General and others.
Raja Abdullah Almasabi addressed many of these challenges and drew attention to the “catastrophic health crisis” now gripping Yemen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are no specific, targeted actions to reach [people with disabilities], even though we know they are at a higher risk if infected by the virus,” she said.
“The spread of COVID-19 has added a further layer of misery to Yemen’s already complex and dire humanitarian crisis,” said Rawya Rageh. Many people with disabilities cannot practice physical distancing from people they depend on for support.
Moreover, Amnesty International has documented in detail how this crisis and years of conflict have had a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities – including those displaced by fighting.
On 20 June 2019, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a landmark resolution on protecting people with disabilities in armed conflict and ensuring their equal access to humanitarian assistance.
In recent years the UN has stepped up efforts and states have renewed commitments towards ensuring that humanitarian response is more inclusive of people with disabilities – an estimated 15% of the world’s population, or more than one billion people. But there has been little tangible change on the ground.
Raja Abdullah Almasabi called on Security Council members to stop supporting parties to the conflict. She urged them to do everything in their power to end the war, and to ensure that people with disabilities have a voice in peace negotiations.