On 3 December 2014 and under the theme "Persons with Disabilities in Emergencies: Building Resilience, Protecting Lives," ESCWA, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) commemorated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the UN House, Beirut.
"Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises," Nadim Khouri, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCWA, stated in his opening remarks. "In going forward… we need to continue to promote an inclusive and rights-based approach to development and humanitarian activities." Other high-level speakers during the event included Heli Uusikyla, Acting Director UNRWA Affairs Lebanon, Luciano Calestini, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon, and Lynne Miller, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Lebanon.
Participants also heard experiences and lessons learned from actors working on the ground to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. "I lost a limb but I gained many other things… I may use prosthesis, but my reality extends far beyond this" said a refugee who incurred a disability as a result of the armed conflict in Syria and continues to provide support to other refugees.
For more information, see: http://www.escwa.un.org/information/pressescwaprint.asp?id_code=696