The Head and Members of the Administrative Committee/ Gaza,
Subject: Adapting public and private spaces for persons with special needs
MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession extend their warmest greetings, noting that we have received a written complaint on 24/08/2017 from a citizen called Mahmoud Saleem Awwad Abu-Namoos, residing in Gaza. The complaint states that the complainant and a number of his colleagues headed to the Ministry of Labour to apply for job vacancies that were announced for people with special needs.
The complaint added that as the complainant and a number of the applicants were present at the ministry for the purpose of filling-in and submitting the application forms to the competent employee there, they were shocked at the breakdown of communication between them and the employees who receive the applications at the ministry as they are not aware of sign language (the language of conversation for this section of the citizens), in addition to the fact that it was impossible for them to move around the building of the ministry, which lacks the appropriate means of movement for people with disabilities, particularly those who are physically, visually or aurally challenged.
As an independent no-governmental watchdog organization, MUSAWA believes that the contents of the complaint, if true, address a grave violation of the most fundamental rights which people with special needs are entitled-to by the Basic Law, which explicitly states that “all Palestinians are equal before the law and the judiciary. They shall not be discriminated against based on their race, sex, color, religion, political views or disability”.
MUSAWA also sees that the complaint entails a violation and deviation from the provisions of the Palestinian Disability Law, under which all official and private authorities are bound to adapt public and private spaces so as to attend to the needs of people with disabilities, considering that this is a right they are entitled-to by the Constitution. Under the said law, all of the aforementioned authorities must provide all of the necessary means of communication and movement, so as to ensure that the public space is accessible for those who are visually, aurally or physically challenged. Furthermore, the Palestinian Disability Law called upon the authorities to take all measures, including incorporating sign language into the governmental and non-governmental facilities, to ensure that persons with special needs, as citizens and on an equal footing, are protected from all forms of physical and/or psychological violence.
Accordingly, we ask that you would handle this memo with seriousness, and that the necessary actions and decisions be made to guarantee people with special needs their rights, which they are entitled-to by the Constitution and therefore falls within the scope of your duties, as appropriate.
With all due respect,
Issued on 30/08/2017
Chairman of MUSAWA’s Board of Directors
Adv. Yasser Jabr
- A copy of the complaint.