Statement by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on Occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

03 December 2017

At its heart, UNRWA’s mission is to preserve the dignity and rights of Palestine refugees, amidst the difficult conditions they so often face.  We remain utterly committed to our responsibilities, and when considering the extreme insecurity and conflict that refugees are now exposed to, our work is as critical as ever.

For refugees in need of our assistance and protection, we must do all we can to meet their needs.  Among them are refugees with disabilities, an important community representing 15% of those we serve, and one that gives strength and resilience to the broader community of Palestine refugees.

UNRWA and all its partners are working hard to ensure refugees with disabilities can exercise the rights we all share, including freedom from discrimination, and can pursue opportunities that are crucial to their development and the development of the broader Palestine refugee community.

As a direct provider of services, UNRWA’s accountability runs deep for refugees with disabilities. With access to services a core need for members of the community, we are making important headway in our education, health and social assistance programmes, including through specialized education materials, and rehabilitative services.  We are integrating these approaches in all our fields.

We honestly recognize that a lot more needs to be done.  From fuller accessibility to all our facilities, to vocational training that takes into account the special skills of persons with disabilities, UNRWA must further improve its response.

We take this opportunity to pay tribute to UNRWA colleagues who have worked to translate our commitments to disability inclusion into concrete initiatives and action. These efforts, and the ones we will continue to make, help us fulfil the promise of “leaving no one behind”.

On 3 December, the international day of persons with disabilities, we call on all of us, including every member of the Palestine refugee community, to do their part to engage more with the community of disabled refugees, and make good on the responsibilities we have to meet their needs more effectively.  We are determined to see UNRWAto continue taking disability inclusion forward.  Above all, so lives of dignity can be preserved for all. 

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
Join the #DignityIsPriceless campaign to stand up #ForPalestineRefugees