Effect of the Turkish state invasion on people with special needs

A statement to the world public opinion and the United Nations

Since the beginning of the crisis, the Syrian people in general and in North and Eastern Syria in particular have been subjected to all forms of violence and crimes committed by terrorist groups and factions supported by the Turkish state. This aggression has caused a big tragedy against unarmed civilians. Especially people with special needs have been most at risk during these times of conflicts and humanitarian crises as this group is one of the most marginalized and vulnerable part of the population.

As a result of this blatant aggression, insecurity and instability in the region led to the displacement of nearly 300,000 people. Civilians, including large numbers of people with special needs, were harmed as a result of indiscriminate shelling of artillery, aircraft and heavy and internationally banned weapons along the border strip. This has increased the numbers of people with special needs or disabilities who now need a urgently health care and support.

For 10 month we have been conducting a field survey of all regions of North and East Syria concerning the situation of people with special needs or learning disabilities. In Qamishlo we have reached a number of 2000 handicapped people, while we reached a number of 5786 diasbled people or people with special needs in the city of al-Hasakah aged between one year to 85 years. Still the survey is continuing in the Kobane region, and in the other regions of northeastern Syria.

We have prepared a project to support this group of people with the aim to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society. But the military invasion have affected severely our project as well as society. The fears and results of killings and destruction have a big impact on our children, especially those with disabilities. All NGOs, humanitarian and human rights organizations should fulfill their duties towards persons with disabilities in connection with the tragic situation of this war, which essentially affected them and made them suffer more than others. Especially the lack of basic food and medicine, treatment facilities, requirements of life, and lack of protection are worsening the situation of people with special needs or disabilites.

  1. Article 11 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states for situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies that all necessary measures should be taken ‘to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.‘

Until now no steps have been taken by any of the signatories to ensure this right of disabled persons in North and East Syria. Furthermore international humanitarian NGOs withdrew from our region and suspended their work at a time when they were most needed.

We appeal to all humanitarian and human rights organizations that are working in the field of people with special needs and the United Nations to carry out their humanitarian duty.

We appeal to send peacekeeping missions to effectively monitor and report on violations and rights abuses committed against persons with special needs. If these measures are not taken the full impact of the conflict on persons with special needs will remain unclear.

Further we call on all responsible states and international institutions to take responsibility and act to stop this aggression against our region.

Social Committee of the Women’s Movement Kongra Star

Qamishlo, 28 October 2019

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