Yemen's disabled left suffering: Amnesty
Amnesty said people with disabilities experience compounded difficulties fleeing violence
Left neglected and suffering, millions of Yemenis with disabilities are taking the brunt of the country's 5-year conflict, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
In a report marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the London-based rights group said 4.5 million people with disabilities in Yemen have not only endured years of armed conflict but are also among those most excluded.
"Yemen’s war has been characterized by unlawful bombings, displacement and a dearth of basic services, leaving many struggling to survive," said Rawya Rageh, Senior Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International.
"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,” she said.
“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,” Rageh said.
Amnesty said people with disabilities experience compounded difficulties fleeing violence. Many told the rights group they undertook exhausting displacement journeys without wheelchairs, crutches or other assistive devices.
"The journey was torturous… I was transferred from bus to bus – in total four buses… My neighbor carried me,” said Migdad Ali Abdullah, an 18-year-old with limited mobility and difficulties in communicating, describing the 18-hour trip he took in early 2018 alongside his family from Hudaydah to a displaced persons camp in Lahj.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including numerous civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, while another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara