UN / SYRIA DISABILITIES

24-Apr-2019 00:03:37
A top United Nations humanitarian official today said that “among those people who suffered the most” in the Syrian conflict “are those with disabilities,” during a Security Council session that included a briefing by Nujeen Mustafa, a wheelchair-bound Syrian refugee and advocate for refugee youth. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / SYRIA DISABILITIES
TRT: 03:37
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 24 APRIL 2019, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – RECENT, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior United Nations headquarters

24 APRIL 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Med shot, Syrian Ambassador
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“The Syrian people have suffered a litany of horrors. Among those people who suffered the most – and are still suffering today – are those with disabilities. Those disabled before the start of the crisis often face heightened challenges. And many more become disabled as civilians have been heavily impacted through years of conflict, including those injured due to explosive remnants of war.”
5. Med shot, delegates
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Persons with disabilities are often excluded and highly vulnerable. Many lack access to health care and education, and experience difficulties in meeting their basic needs. They also face specific protection and psycho-social challenges, including heightened risk of violence and abuse. We must do our utmost to support and protect persons with disabilities, and to ensure that their specific and diverse needs are addressed, ensuring accessibility to activities and services, training of staff and collecting disaggregated data.”
7. Med shot, delegates
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Nujeen Mustafa, Disabled Syrian Refugee:
“It took the bombing of a funeral in June 2015, where some of my relatives died, to convince our family that we needed to flee and leave our home and everything we knew behind. In Syria, I didn't have a wheelchair, so I had to be carried out of the country by my siblings, but many people with disabilities cannot depend on their families to help them reach safety. Often, because their family members have been killed or had already left.”
9. Med shot, delegates
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Nujeen Mustafa, Disabled Syrian Refugee:
“This is not just my story - it is the experience of thousands of Syrians with disabilities who struggle to survive because of the limited basic services still functioning in the country, lack of accessibility, and the constant threat of violence, especially against women and girls. And if you got a disability as a result of the conflict-which according to UNICEF accounts for 1.5 million people still living in Syria - you now face stigma and exclusion within your community.”
11. Wide shot, Council
12. Wide shot, Mustafa approaches microphone
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Nujeen Mustafa, Disabled Syrian Refugee:
“I had to roll on a very difficult terrain that was not at all suitable for a wheelchair. I had to sleep in the wilderness with no blankets, I spent days eating just Nutella and sugar – which is not fun as it sounds – and yes, so, I almost drowned in a dinghy, but we survived. I brought the wheelchair with me, which was the main point. I am happy, at the end I was just happy that I made it.”
14. Wide shot, German Ambassador rolls Mustafa’s wheelchair away from microphone
STORYLINE
A top United Nations humanitarian official today (24 Apr) said that “among those people who suffered the most” in the Syrian conflict “are those with disabilities,” during a Security Council session that included a briefing by Nujeen Mustafa, a wheelchair-bound Syrian refugee and advocate for refugee youth.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, told the Council that “those disabled before the start of the crisis often face heightened challenges. And many more become disabled as civilians have been heavily impacted through years of conflict, including those injured due to explosive remnants of war.”

Mueller said, “persons with disabilities are often excluded and highly vulnerable. Many lack access to health care and education, and experience difficulties in meeting their basic needs. They also face specific protection and psycho-social challenges, including heightened risk of violence and abuse.”

She said, “we must do our utmost to support and protect persons with disabilities, and to ensure that their specific and diverse needs are addressed, ensuring accessibility to activities and services, training of staff and collecting disaggregated data.”

In her address to the Council, Mustafa said, “It took the bombing of a funeral in June 2015, where some of my relatives died, to convince our family that we needed to flee and leave our home and everything we knew behind.”

Even fleeing the country, she had to be carried out of the country by her siblings, as she had no wheelchair at the time.
She said, “many people with disabilities cannot depend on their families to help them reach safety. Often, because their family members have been killed or had already left.”

Mustafa said, “this is not just my story - it is the experience of thousands of Syrians with disabilities who struggle to survive because of the limited basic services still functioning in the country, lack of accessibility, and the constant threat of violence, especially against women and girls.”

Talking to reporters outside the Council, Mustafa described her ordeal while leaving the country.

She said, “I had to roll on a very difficult terrain that was not at all suitable for a wheelchair. I had to sleep in the wilderness with no blankets, I spent days eating just Nutella and sugar – which is not fun as it sounds – and yes, so, I almost drowned in a dinghy, but we survived. I brought the wheelchair with me, which was the main point. I am happy, at the end I was just happy that I made it.”

According to UNICEF, 1.5 million people still living in Syria suffer from disabilities as a result of the conflict.
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