As the UN General Assembly adopts the Gaza resolution, calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce, the Disability Rights Fund joins their demand for a “continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of lifesaving supplies and services for civilians trapped” as Israel begins ground operations and intensifies its bombing campaign.
“We know that persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by violence, which worsens the barriers they face, including evacuating from attacks, accessing timely medical care and other basic human rights. Military escalations leave entire communities to profound risk of harm. We must protect the rights of persons with disabilities during conflict and advocate unequivocally for an immediate ceasefire and peace,” said Catalina Devandas, executive director of the Disability Rights Fund.
As we deeply mourn and grieve the loss of lives in this ongoing tragedy in Israel and occupied Palestinian Territory, we know that this cycle of violence is taking a grave toll on innocent civilians, leaving behind a trail of generational psychosocial trauma and suffering. We also believe that it is important to address the root causes of this conflict and that collective punishment is not the solution, which is leaving persons with disabilities, including women, children, and elders with disabilities, in an uminaginable situation in Gaza. It is critical to have a disability lens on conflict and prioritize the leadership and lived experiences of persons of disabilities in all their diversities.
Article 11 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) makes a call for States Parties to adhere to their “obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”
As an organization guided by the UNCRPD and rooted in human rights, we know it is our shared responsibility to build an inclusive and just world, where no one is left behind.