The YMCA Jerusalem- Rehabilitation Program
A Press Release
On the Occasion
The International Day of People with Disabilities
To all Palestinian people with disability, and their supporters,
To all formal institutions in the state of Palestine,
To the NGOs, generally, and institutions operating in the field of disability, specifically,
To all international organizations committed to supporting the development process and the human rights system in Palestine,
We, at the East Jerusalem YMCA - Rehabilitation Program, represented in its administration, staff and volunteers, share with you our aspiration of an independent and free Palestinian State with the city of Jerusalem its capital. A state in which democracy, justice and equal opportunities prevail for all its citizens and a state free of any gender, disability, religion, political affiliation, ideological or ethnic- based discrimination among its diverse segments of society. A state where the interests, needs and rights of all its citizens are being nationally prioritized, and where these interests and rights are administered and realized through efficient and qualified institutions and staff operating by the principle of best practices, ethics and values.
The International Day of people with disabilities today, marks a ten-year period following joining the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which represents the optimal reference for the righteous approach organizing the rights and interest of people with disabilities. Unfortunately, this day also comes under such circumstances where the majority of people with disabilities in Palestine are still deprived from the minimum requirements of ensuring a dignified life; They are being alienated from many policies, legislations, programs and public services, which definitely leads to the exacerbation of their alienation as well as limiting their access to basic rights and needs in addition to limiting their participation in the various spheres of life on equality basis as other citizens.
On this occasion, we call upon you and ourselves alike, to approach the public through complementary and combined efforts in order to bridge gaps preventing the full enjoyment of rights by persons with disabilities on an equality basis as their peers. Therefore, the current stage requires more professional and strict policies and procedures that are more harmonized with the genuine developmental approach in order to address these obstacles and achieve maximum response with full responsibility, credibility and transparency. This is deemed crucial especially in the light of the lack of trust between people with disabilities, at the grassroots level, and the institutions and organizations operating in the field of disability, in the various sectors. It is also considered vital in light of the current state of negligence and weak political will relevant to having the rights of people with disabilities realized and their needs met as required.
Finally, based on our modest experience in operating in this field, we believe that the following issues needs to be further addresses at this stage:
- Seeking the amendment of the Palestinian Disability Law, no. 4 for the year 1999, to ensure adherence to the International Conventional on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006 which was signed by the State of Palestine two years ago.
- Seeking the amendment of the public health insurance to include medical services needed by people with disabilities based on their disability type, such as rehabilitation services, medical equipment and expensive medications.
- Supporting movements lobbying for claiming the rights and interests of people with disabilities and revisiting mechanisms utilized for this purpose taking into consideration the advancement and development of such mechanisms to enable establishment of public support based on righteous philosophy, mutual trust and the principles of voluntary action.
- Utilizing more effective mechanisms to achieve useful deployment of media in order to raise community awareness and exert pressure on governmental bodies to maintain commitment to their roles and responsibilities towards people with disabilities.
- Introducing systems and mechanisms to increase financial resources allocated for meeting the requirements and needs of unemployed people with disabilities. This includes the adoption of the employment funds system stipulated in Article 12 of the executive regulation no. 40 of 2004 of the Disability Law no. 4 of 1999, stating: “companies or institution which do not employ people with disabilities shall, by law, and by Clause c, paragraph 4, Article 10 of the Disability Law no. 4 of 1999 on the rights of persons with disabilities allocate an amount for wage of a person with disability, and no less than the minimum wage amount specified, and deposit it in a special fund for people with disabilities, established by a decision from the minister of social affairs, for the disbursement of financial aids for the unemployed people with disabilities”.
- Opposing the practices of the military occupation against the Palestinians, generally, and people with disabilities, specifically, namely those held in Israeli prisons as well as those experiencing ill-treatment whether in their houses, on the streets or at checkpoints, given that similar unjust practices are incompatible with the basic rights and most importantly, the right to live and the right to a dignified living.
Together towards building a homeland suitable for all its citizens