Persons with disabilities are historically stigmatised and marginalised. This has limited their access to basic services, and participation in the mainstream of life on an equal basis with others. Disability is closely linked to poverty. Poor people are prone to acquiring permanent impairments due to inadequate access to good nutrition and health care; higher probability of being in risky/hazardous jobs and the likelihood of living in unhygienic or unsafe places. On the other hand, persons with disabilities face barriers to access employment, education, healthcare and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Disability is also a human rights issue because it is about inequality of opportunities. Therefore, disability inclusion is critical for human development and responding to humanitarian crisis and underscores the reason why disability is considered as a cross-cutting issue by UNRWA.
Palestine refugees with disabilities may be more vulnerable than other persons with disabilities because, in addition to widespread socio-economic exclusion and poverty, they are also more prone to neglect, abuse and violence, psychosocial distress, loss of assistive devices and decreased access to needed medications. The funding crisis that has hit UNRWA since 2018 has, in particular, led to a loss of services for persons with disabilities.