International Day of Persons with Disabilities Breaches against Palestinians with Disabilities Continue
Date: 2 December 2021
Time: 09:00 GMT
Tomorrow, 03 December, marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly resolution (47/3) to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at the end of the United Nations Conference for Persons with Disabilities (1983-1992). This day was adopted to promote and respect the rights of persons with disabilities all over the world in accordance with the principles of human, aiming at entrenching equality between all human beings without discrimination for any reasons related to sex, race, color, disability, or any other type of discrimination.
This occasion coincides with the ongoing suffering of persons with disabilities in Palestine as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed this year 4 persons with disabilities, including 3 during the latest offensive on the Gaza Strip in May 2021, while another Palestinian with disability was killed at Qalandia Checkpoint, northeast of occupied Jerusalem. Moreover, 50 persons have become with disabilities due to the offensive, including 10 amputations and 35 cases of hemiplegia and paraplegia, while 10 houses owned by persons with disabilities were either totally or partially destroyed. In addition, 3000 persons with disabilities had to seek refuge at the UNRWA schools due to IOF’s continuous bombing on the Gaza Strip, noting that these schools are inaccessible and lack the basic services for those seeking refuge due to the offensive that lasted for 11 days.
The Israeli-imposed closure ongoing for 15 years on the Gaza Strip has deteriorated the economic and social conditions in the Gaza Strip as the poverty, unemployment and food insecurity rates increased among the Palestinian population, negatively affecting the conditions of persons with disabilities and their families, who have lacked rehabilitation and social care services and health and educational services.
Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying measures continued to impact persons with disabilities’ rights as they still face difficulties accessing the basic services adopted by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and guaranteed by the Palestinian Disability law No 4 for the year 1999.
Persons with disabilities still suffer from diminished quality of diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitation healthcare services as the Palestinian Law No. 4 of 1999, which was issued 21 years ago has not been entered into effect to this day.
The Palestinian internal division hinders implementing this law and deprives such a significant group of Palestinian society of their rights to basic services in the areas of health, rehabilitation,
training, and education. The law stresses the importance of paying more attention to services aiming at the early diagnosis of disabilities and reducing the percentage of disabilities as well as providing medical devices and instruments necessary for their assistance and treatment. The law also codifies that services that guarantee their equal and fair engagement in society should be provided in addition to the free healthcare services included in the governmental health insurance available for them and their families.
Despite Palestine’s accession to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), on 02 April 2014, persons with disabilities in Palestine are subjected to difficulties and challenges that impede their integration into the society; most prominent of which are discrimination and social stigma. Persons with disabilities are perceived as being powerless, unable to care for themselves or make their own decisions, which undermines the effectiveness of the rehabilitation programs designed for this important category in the society, especially that the number of persons with disabilities is increased over the past years due to Israeli violations in the Great March of Return protests and in the last aggression, which have inflicted hundreds of amputation and disability cases.
According to the data released in 2017 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 93,000 persons with disabilities in Palestine, i.e. 2.1% of the total population: 48% in the West Bank and 52% in Gaza Strip. The mobility disability accounted for the highest proportion of disabilities; 47,109 persons with mobility disabilities constituted 51% of the total persons with disabilities. Also, 20% of persons with disabilities in Palestine are children under 18 years old. The percentage of male children was higher than that of females in the same age group, reaching 21% and 18% respectively. The percentage was more prevalent in Gaza Strip (22%) than in the West Bank (17%).
Based upon the above-mentioned statistics, the need to update the statistical information of persons with disabilities in Palestine has become urgent to prepare plans that guarantee services for them. Moreover, it is hoped that statistics results will create positive changes that will develop policies and laws relating to mental health, jobs, and transportation, based on the real numbers of disabled persons in Palestine.
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights believes that all relevant parties should exert more efforts that guarantee the promotion of economic, social, cultural, political, and civil rights of persons with disabilities. Accordingly,
- Calls upon the international and humanitarian organizations to exert pressure on Israeli government to respect conventions and put an immediate end to all human rights violations perpetrated against persons with disabilities in Palestine, including killing and injury, and to stop all forms of targeting of rehabilitation and educational institutions designed for them.
- Demands Palestine to fulfill its obligations after its accession to the Convention on Persons with Disabilities, including harmonizing legislation, eliminating discrimination between different groups and correcting existing policies and procedures.
- Calls on the Palestinian Authority to apply the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the regular provision of various services to persons with disabilities to provide a decent life for them and their families.
- Calls upon international humanitarian organizations to provide technical and financial assistance to persons with disabilities and institutions providing various rehabilitation services to them, especially considering the deteriorating economic conditions in the Gaza Strip.
 Data Collected jointly by human rights organizations in Palestine, documentation of Israeli violations in the 2021 offensive.
 Statistics within a factsheet titled as “Violations against Persons with Disabilities due to the Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip” published by the National Society for Rehabilitation and Palestine Medical Relief Society on the NGO Network Website, 24 May 2021