In a report released on Thursday on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) addressed people with disabilities living in the Gaza Strip whose life is “extraordinarily difficult.”
“Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods, at times exacerbated by restrictive policies by Palestinian authorities, curb access to assistive devices, health care, and electricity essential to many people with disabilities,” the statement said.
It added, “Chronic power outages in particular jeopardize the rights of many people with disabilities who need light to communicate using sign language, or need equipment powered by electricity to move, including elevators and electric mobility scooters.”
The statement also pointed out that due to the Israeli restrictions, people with disabilities in Gaza lose their freedom of movement, and often access to the devices, electricity, and technology they need to communicate or leave their homes.
“Israel’s closure of Gaza, exacerbated by Egyptian restrictions on its border with Gaza, limits access to health care, clean water, and electricity, as well as educational, economic, and other opportunities.”
“Israeli policies, including attacks on Gaza’s sole power plant, restrictions on the entry of parts to repair the plant, and limits on the amount of electricity it sells for Gaza; as well as squabbles between Palestinian authorities over payment for the plant’s fuel, leave Gaza residents on most days with between five and 15 hours of electricity.”
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, about 48,000 people in Gaza, or about 2.4 percent of the population, have a disability, more than one-fifth of whom are children. The United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) estimates that the actual figure is much higher.