The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Heba Hagras has reiterated the urgent need for unconditional and unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip.
She stressed the importance of ensuring that aid reaches all civilians, especially those with disabilities, who may require assistive tools in addition to essential services such as food, medicine, water and sanitation, electricity, and healthcare.
"This region has increasing disability rates among the population because of exposure to repeated armed conflicts in addition to the current bombardment of the Gaza strip, and all relief teams and international bodies must take this into account," said Hagrass.She continued: "People with disabilities must not be "left behind" because their families and relief teams are unable to give them the necessary support."
In the same context, she raised the alarm that the way military operations are being conducted has catastrophic consequences for all civilians, including people with disabilities, violates the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -Article 11-, and goes against Security Council Resolution No. 2475 (2019) on protecting persons with disabilities during armed conflicts.
"Nothing is more urgent than an immediate ceasefire and end to hostilities by all parties, to ensure the protection and safety of civilians, including people with disabilities," Hagrass noted.
The Special Rapporteur also affirmed the need to ensure the unconditional release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained individuals, especially persons with disabilities.