January 15, 2024. (Than Lwin Times)
The Myanmar Coordination Committee for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities (MCERP) points to how the impacts of armed conflicts since the coup, has multiplied the burden faced by disabled individuals in their quest for livelihood and survival.
Over the course of almost three years since the Junta orchestrated the coup, the country has witnessed the expansion of clashes between the regime’s army and resistance forces. With the escalation of conflicts, the Military Council has increasingly employed airstrikes.
Disabled individuals who lack mobility ,have much greater difficulty to escape from aerial bombardment in time to escape from bombs and shells. Many are shot dead simply because they are unable to run away and find sanctuary elsewhere.
Moreover, war-induced problems, including restricted access to healthcare assistance, limited employment opportunities, and the economic downturn of families, contribute to people with disabilities more frequently succumbing to malnutrition and related health issues.
U Zaw Lin Tun, president of MCERP, pointed out that the heightened casualties among disabled individuals primarily results from their inability to escape combat zones in a timely manner.
“As an example , individuals using wheelchairs find bomb shelters and bomb pits inconvenient to access. When aircraft roar in the sky, they have only a few seconds to evade, making it nearly impossible for those with mobility challenges to escape in time. Such hardships are exacerbated for those with impaired hearing who may not even hear the sound of the plane. It is indeed an extremely harsh task for people with disabilities to respond and avoid sudden dangers promptly; often they are just left to their fate”, he told Than Lwin Times.
Humanitarian workers assisting disabled individuals trapped and injured in the conflict zones, emphasize that their access to effective healthcare and treatments has diminished, lowering their chances of survival compared to before.
Based on the interim census conducted in 2019, 12.8 percent of the country’s population is reported as disabled. In the aftermath of the coup, they are enduring severe human rights violations and grappling with the cruel repercussions of the war.
News—Than Lwin Times