Disabled Yemenis suffering most in Saudi-led war: Amnesty
Amnesty International has raised the alarm about the dire situation of millions of people with disabilities in Yemen, saying they are hit the hardest by a years-long Saudi-led military campaign against the impoverished state.
In a report, entitled “Excluded: Living with disabilities in Yemen’s armed conflict” and published on Tuesday, the London-based rights group called on international donors to address the suffering of at least 4.5 million disabled Yemenis amid the bloody Saudi-led war.
The report was published on Tuesday as the world marks the International Day of Disabled Persons.
“Yemen’s war has been characterized by unlawful bombings, displacement and a dearth of basic services, leaving many struggling to survive. The humanitarian response is overstretched, but people with disabilities — who are already among those most at risk in armed conflict — should not face even greater challenges in accessing essential aid,” said Rawya Rageh, senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.
“International donors, the United Nations, and humanitarian organizations working with the Yemeni authorities must do more to overcome the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from meeting even their most basic needs,” she added.
The report is based on a six-month research, including visits to three southern Yemeni provinces and interviews with nearly 100 people.
Many of those interviewed said they undertook exhausting displacement journeys without wheelchairs, crutches or other assistive devices, adding that such equipment is in very short supply.
Some of the disabled Yemenis also told Amnesty International that they had been left behind as their families fled.
Meanwhile, families said they had sold belongings or delayed rent to prioritize costs associated with supporting a loved one with a disability.
According to the report, there is only one prosthetic center in southern Yemen, which has to send some types of prosthetics abroad for repairs.
Rasha Mohamed, Yemen Researcher at Amnesty International, urged donors to provide the disabled Yemenis with more and better-suited assistive devices.
“People with disabilities worldwide rightly demand that no decisions be made ‘about us, without us’ – and Yemen is no exception. International donors must step up to fully fund humanitarian pledges and do a better job of ensuring that people with disabilities in Yemen are not left behind,” she said.