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Important Notice: As of 1 November 2023, Ms. Heba Hagrass (Egypt) has been appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the current Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities.
A diverse group of individuals is seated around a large conference table in a formal meeting room. Each person has a microphone and some have nameplates indicating their affiliations, such as "IDA," "Arab States League," and "State of Palestine." The atmosphere suggests a high-level discussion or diplomatic meeting, with various languages being accommodated, as indicated by the labeled glass partition in the background.

Heba Hagrass demanded an immediate cessation of the war in Gaza


During a speech at the United Nations, Heba Hagrass demanded an immediate cessation of the war in Gaza, as Israeli military operations have turned the lives of disabled individuals there into a living hell. The tragedy of Hashem Ghazal, the spiritual father of the deaf in Gaza, and his family, all of whom are deaf, experiencing displacement, famine, and ultimately being bombed in their home, is a model of the suffering faced by disabled individuals in the region. She called for the urgent and unconditional facilitation of humanitarian aid, including the needs of disabled individuals.

Dr. Heba Hagrass, serving as the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities at the United Nations, called for the immediate halt of military operations in all occupied territories and Gaza, as these have turned the lives of disabled individuals into a living hell. She made these remarks during her participation in a high-level event organized by the Arab League on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations in New York.

Hagrass highlighted the dire situation faced by disabled individuals in Gaza due to the prolonged military operations, citing the example of the Ghazal family who were all deaf and tragically killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home. She emphasized the urgent need for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza without restrictions, especially for disabled individuals who have been disproportionately affected by the conflict.

Expressing her appreciation for the relief efforts made by organizations and agencies since the start of the events, Hagrass stressed the need for more sensitivity to the needs of disabled individuals, who are among the most vulnerable and affected by the conflict. She called for the swift delivery of humanitarian aid, including food, clean drinking water, medications, assistive devices, and tools to meet the needs of disabled individuals.

She underscored that disabled individuals bear the highest cost of war, and the continuation of military operations poses grave dangers to their rights as civilians and disabled persons, in violation of international human rights conventions. Hagrass called for compliance with the interim measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, including the cessation of military operations in Rafah and ensuring the protection and safety of all civilians, including disabled individuals, as well as the release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained individuals, especially those with disabilities, without conditions.