Maat Issues a New Report Monitoring the Situation of People with Disabilities in Yemen
Okeil: More than 4 million people with disabilities face great difficulties and challenges in light of the Yemeni conflict
Issa: All parties to the conflict must assume their responsibilities towards people with disabilities in Yemen
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a new report entitled "Huge Challenges... How Do People with Disabilities Live Under the Yemeni Armed Conflict". The report pointed out that next September the unabated conflict in Yemen will enter its seventh year in a row. According to the report, nearly 112,000 people have died as a direct result of hostilities since the Houthi militia's coup against the internationally recognized government in Yemen, including nearly 12,000 civilians. Civilians in Yemen, including persons with disabilities, have been facing unspeakable challenges in light of the armed conflict between the warring Yemeni parties since September 2014.
The majority of civilians in Yemen have reportedly suffered from various human rights violations. Yet, persons with disabilities are the worst group affected by the ongoing conflict; they face many obstacles in obtaining their rights on an equal basis with others, such as receiving urgent health care services, owing to their inability to afford health care costs and the difficulty of traveling a long distance to reach them, obtaining quality education, getting appropriate housing and job opportunities, in addition to facing several economic difficulties that emerged in wake of the division of the Yemeni territories in the midst of the ongoing conflict between the warring parties. These difficulties are mainly attributed to the lack of job opportunities provided to people with disabilities, as well as the delay and interruption of social support provided to them. Undermining the already worn out state institutions, or their transfer to other areas, has limited the majority of persons with disabilities’ access to the support provided by the relevant governmental bodies.
For his part, Ayman Okeil, president of Maat, said that people with disabilities in Yemen, whose number is estimated at more than 4 million people, face greater difficulties in escaping violence compared to other civilians. Their suffering is even exacerbated in displacement camps in which they stay; as they hardly obtain basic services necessary for their survival, safety and protection, such as their inability to access health facilities on an equal basis with others, in addition to their inability to receive assistive devices and mobility aids such as tricycles, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, hearing aids and prosthesis.
In the same context, Ahmed Issa, a researcher at Maat, called on all Yemeni and international parties involved in the Yemeni crisis to assume full responsibility for protecting persons with disabilities, ensuring their safety and preventing violence and attacks committed against them, as well as the need to ensure their access to basic services provided to them in the context of the armed conflict, including education, health care services, transportation, and information and communication technology.