Press Releases

Press Release: Man with disability killed in southern Gaza; effective gun control and protection of rights needed

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20 June 2021 |Reference 61/2021

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights deplores the continued loss of life resulting from an alarmingly high rate of gun-related violence—a sign portending further instability in the Gaza Strip. In the latest incident, a man with disability was shot and killed, in circumstances still unclear. The current circumstances demand the strengthening of the rule of law, urgent support to the rights of people with disabilities, and implementation of serious measures to urgently limit the proliferation of small arms.


As part of its mandate to ensure access to rights in Gaza and hold the local authorities accountable, Al Mezan collects data and researches incidents of internal violence in the Gaza Strip. According to the Center’s documentation, on the evening of Saturday, 19 June 2021, an armed man fatally shot Bilal Rabah Al-Beitar, 40, in the head, chest, and lower limbs, while the two were near an UNRWA clinic in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. The victim’s body was transferred to Al Nasser Hospital, also in Khan Younis. Later in the night, police spokesperson Colonel Ayman Al-Batniji issued a press statement confirming that the suspect had been arrested and that due process was taking its course. The suspect’s gun was seized as evidence.


Al Mezan’s field workers spoke to the police, who confirmed the incident and noted that the ongoing investigation revealed that the victim had a cognitive disability, and further clarified that the motive was still unknown. Al Mezan recalls that the local authorities in Gaza are responsible, under the Palestinian Authority’s accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, for ensuring that appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures are in place to protect persons with disabilities from violence, both within and outside the home.


Al Mezan regrets the tragic loss of life as well as the increased internal gun-related violence, and reiterates the call for the relevant Palestinian authorities to urgently curtail the proliferation of small arms. The authorities must also uphold the rule of law and strengthen the respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. There must be a comprehensive investigation into the incident and authorities must hold the perpetrator accountable through a sound legal process that respects legal guarantees and due process rights.