Finland is to allocate EUR 4 million to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for use in rehabilitating people with disabilities, including seriously injured civilians, supporting livelihoods and improving attitudes towards people with disabilities in Syria. This is a follow-on from Finland’s earlier support for the same purpose.
People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable as they often face not only physical barriers but also prejudices. Furthermore, legislation and public services do not take sufficient account of the rights of people with disabilities. A more comprehensive approach is needed for improving their position.
“People with a disability and seriously injured civilians bear the heaviest burden in the Syria war. Hundreds of thousands have lost their health, become paralysed, or undergone amputation. At the same time, many have been deprived of employment prospects and, consequently, their dignity. Finland wants to help the most vulnerable victims of war and to support their inclusion in society,” says Tarja Fernández, Ambassador of Finland in Beirut.
The UN estimates that as many as 2.8 million people suffer from some kind of disability in Syria. The number of amputees alone is estimated at more than 400,000.
The UNDP runs five centres in different parts of Syria that focus on the rehabilitation and livelihoods of people with disabilities. Four of these centres receive funding from Finland. In close cooperation with local and regional authorities, the UNDP also aims to contribute to the provision of public services for people with disabilities and to influence public attitudes.