On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNRWA pledges to promote inclusion and leadership. Credit: UNRWA
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reaffirmed its commitment to promoting the rights of Palestine refugees with disabilities through its programs and services.
“Persons with disabilities are historically marginalized, and even more so during humanitarian emergencies,” said Acting Commissioner-General Christian Saunders. “This must change and the needs of persons with disabilities should be an integral part of any effective development and humanitarian response.”
“As a humanitarian agency, UNRWA has a unique role to play in providing services to Palestine refugees with disabilities and stands ready to ensure their full and effective inclusion into all its programs”, stated Saunders. “As we work with beneficiaries directly, we have the ability to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are promoted through all our services and through our protection work.”
UNRWA said the fact that the General Assembly renewed the Agency’s mandate routinely encourages the Agency to address the needs, rights and protection of persons with disabilities in its operations, including through the provision of necessary support in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
UNRWA added that disability inclusion has been an integral part of the work it does to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, vowing that the Agency will also take steps to implement the first-ever United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS), launched by the Secretary-General in June 2019.
“These, and other relevant frameworks, enhance the participation and leadership of Palestine refugees with disabilities in all areas of life and community, according to this year’s international day theme of ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’”, UNRWA’s statement further read.
“Much still remains to be done and we stand ready to work together with all relevant actors to ensure that everyone is included, empowered and contributes to his/her community”, added UNRWA’s Acting Commissioner-General.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.