20091128 Disability Conflict and Emergencies Lancet
20091128 Disability Conflict and Emergencies
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) outlines the obligation of States to protect and ensure the safety of people with disabilities in situations of risk, including armed conflict. In practice, disability is rarely considered in humanitarian programmes, even when a growing body of evidence
shows that people with disabilities in such situations are at particular risk.
Although some guidelines and manuals support the specific inclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies, most programmes focus on disability as a cross cutting issue, or on protecting people with
disabilities as a vulnerable group, rather than on the specifics of inclusion and overcoming barriers. There
is little evidence that these guidelines are used to any effect with people with disabilities, in part because of a
lack of standards and indicators to monitor inclusion; but also because of the lack of awareness and training
at field level. Local disabled people’s organisations are rarely included in planning and coordination meetings,
particularly in crises. Thus the opportunity is missed to improve coordination and inclusion of people with
disabilities in humanitarian aid.